Hey, long time no bloggy blog. Sorry about that. Life, man.
I have been going back and forth on this blog post for about six months. I actually created the title draft that long ago and it’s been staring at me since. I am glad I held off because I have had some insightful conversations and thoughts since then.
I have anxiety. I am not ashamed of it, in fact, I make light of it. I truly believe the more I talk about it and make it normal to others, the more I hope others open up to me or themselves about anxiety. I am not depressed. I am not crazy. I am not an overthinking wackjob who sits in a corner and crochets. No, I am just a WEIRDO in a corner crocheting, thankyouverymuch, who has had general anxiety since…13? 12? That’s as early as I remember having a quiet panic attack or thought I was depressed. I’m now 31 and have finally felt like I’ve accepted it and got it under control.
I take medication. I am not ashamed of it, in fact, I also make light of it. The other day I joked during a conversation where we were discussing politics (hellooooo anxious topic!) and “Yeah…a year ago this would have made me want to bang my head against a wall but now I have Zoloft!” Too soon? Nah. I don’t shy away from the fact that I take medication. I do, however, get frustrated when people try to tell me I don’t need it. Oh really? You took a trip into my brain via the Magic School Bus and used your neuroscience degree to analyze what you found? Hmm, didn’t think so. Thanks for playing!
My response is ALWAYS this:
I have significantly less anxiety since I started it. So for me, it works. You wouldn’t say this to someone taking medication for high blood pressure, would you? Again, didn’t think so.
Sure, there about 4,439,284 articles* on anxiety out there and how to deal with it or how to deal with those you love who have it. This is not really one of those articles. It’s more like an article that says “Accept it or mind your own business” or “Here’s what I do to deal with it.” It’s all about me! I love myself! Got it? Got it. Before we go on, here’s a photo I found when searching for people pondering about life. It works.
Anyway, one of the greatest things I did for myself was accept the anxiety and went with it. I take medication. I learned some new crafting hobbies. I am apologetically selfish at times, even as a mom (gasp! A mom taking time for herself!? The HORROR!) and I stopped apologizing for my anxiety.
Crazy family party in a room stuffed with people? Peace out. Sorry not sorry.
Concert in a park where my mind would probably come up with 16 different ways something could go wrong? I just don’t go. Plus, I don’t really like people anyway so if that means I get to stay home by myself and watch Netflix…I can’t say I get FOMO. Sorry not sorry.
I crochet like crazy (if you know me at all, you know that’s all I pretty much do but just throw in some Golden Girls) not just because I enjoy it, but because it helps me space out and just keep my mind from going 100 miles an hour. Sewing, crocheting, making candles? All that crafty stuff that makes me a weird old lady actually keeps my sanity.
I’ve learned ways to avoid situations or people that I know cause me anxiety. It actually has been surprisingly easy. Again, can’t say that I’m sorry.
I just…stopped saying sorry for it. I don’t feel like I am missing out on things. I do the things I want to do or have already checked it off my bucket list. Don’t force my anxiety or force me to justify myself. If and when I decide to do something outside my little anxious box, I’ll do it. In my own time.
Look, this isn’t a promotion for pharmaceuticals or Zoloft specifically. It’s not a quick fix taking a medication. In fact, it took me 17 years to say to my doctor “Dude, I need to do something more than what I’m doing, because it’s not working.” (My doctor is a woman, so maybe it should be “dudette.”) But 17 years of trying other ways (therapy, journaling, the list goes on…) wasn’t working. It took a combination of all the above to get my brain to say “Hey, cool! I don’t feel like hyperventilating every 3 days! Far out!” For some reason I feel like I sell my brain thoughts short…I promise I’m not a 14 year old living in 1992. But just like my brain, I’m getting off topic.
In short, I still get anxiety. But thanks to these things, I’ve become much more enjoyable to myself and I’m not my own worst enemy anymore. So, I guess what I’m saying is: I’m not ashamed of my anxiety. And I’m pretty proud of myself for getting it under control. Yeah! Feelings!
*Not an accurate number but feel free to check my sources here.