Anxiety puts us in a position to view the world in a different way, and that can be a good thing if we allow it to be. Our eyes can be wide open and we can be so perceptive and empathetic. There's also an element of wisdom to it because of how self-aware we have to be.
I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was 15 and that helped me change my outlook on life and I'm thankful for that.
1. I have to put myself first.
I know I'm not alone in this battle, but no one's life depends on my happiness but mine. I have to be conscious of that. My success is reliant on me and my mood. No one has to care about how I'm feeling. Some people will and that's great, but for me, it's required.
2. I want to be needed, but I need to be wanted.
This might be more of a personal/ Libra thing, but a lot of it is driven by anxiety. It feels so good to be needed and it's nice because someone will always need someone for something. I'm constantly offering my help because I'm such a people pleaser. But there is a really fine line between being needed and being used, and it's difficult to see when it's been crossed. That's why I really need to be wanted more than I want to be needed. Part of dealing with anxiety is being able to be there for someone else, but not get taken advantage of.
3. Communication is key!
When we have anxiety, we have to be deeply honest with ourselves and the people we care about. Sometimes, it's brutal and not easy, but if we bottle everything up it eats away at us. Anxiety doesn't care, so we have to care about ourselves enough to be truthful and hope others will too.
4. Confrontation is a huge part of that!
Confrontation is part of communication and there's nothing I hate more than that. It's the brutal part of honesty that burns and sucks and it's arguably the most crucial. It's make or break with anxiety and it takes so much out of me to go the length it takes for me to deal with things in a healthy way.
I've always had this rule for myself that if something is important enough to me to work out to get past, then I'll be confrontational about it. But if I feel that I can let it go and just cut ties with whatever or whoever is bothering me, then I'd do that. I know that isn't the best way, so I'm working on it, but it was the only way I could get past things that ate away at me.
5. I can't please everyone.
We hear this all the time and for most people, they can accept it and move on, but anxiety adds this extra layer of disappointment to it that makes it harder. I'll risk my sanity or whatever else it takes so that I'm the only one who's left unpleased. I step around feelings until I get mad or upset enough to blow up, making it that much worse. And it all stems from this idea that someone has to get the shitty end of the deal — which is true.
So, we're left with this choice to either please whoever we can or let everyone down. I've picked the latter and I can see that sometimes it works just as well. It's this mentality where, "if you can't please everyone, why try to please anyone?"
6. Music doesn't solve everything, but it helps a lot.
Music is cool because you can listen to it and feel as though you're actually the one who's being heard. I could list for hours all the songs that make me feel something when there's a sense of nothingness taking over me. Hearing the stories of people whose lives are so different yet still so similar to mine leaves me in awe. The way it is all-encompassing yet so diverse is inspiring. Anxiety makes me feel like the world is so small sometimes, but music helps me see there is no end and everything is bigger than me and my issues.
7. I have to know so much about myself to be able to take care of me.
My body gives me cues when I've had enough. It tells me when to cancel plans or when something is a bad idea. It is so smart and every part of my body seems to work together against whatever in my mind causes this anxiety. I bite my lip when I'm tense, my legs and hands shake when I feel uneasy, more of my hair will come out in the shower. I know these are the moments when my body needs to regenerate. It isn't pretty and I hate it, but I am so thankful that I see it. I can tell when I need a face mask and a nap, or when I need to be active, or when I just need to cry.
8. Wanting to be alone can be a good or bad thing!
Too much alone time can mean anxiety is in the driver's seat and I have to take it back and go out into the world to recharge. But I also need the me time sometimes to figure things out and decide what I need. There's a happy medium and it can be hard to pinpoint, but it's there. I can't cancel all my plans and lose all excitement, but I can't overuse energy I don't have.
9. Coffee isn't what's keeping me awake.
I have no idea how many times I've tried to claim coffee is what's keeping me awake at night. It's a weird thing to be in denial about, but I constantly lie to myself about why I'm sleep deprived. I'll blame the coffee I had in the middle of the afternoon for why I haven't fallen asleep before 5 a.m. in days. I've had to come to terms with the fact that my inner thoughts are cutting into what I need. It's a greater problem that goes back to picking up on cues.
10. A long shower can have all the answers!
I'm not going to act like it's healthy to drown all problems in a long, hot shower. Medical attention is necessary when getting things sorted out, but when there isn't enough time for that and nothing else is working, my quick therapy is sometimes just leaving it all in the water. It's allowed me to only focus on the root of an issue and come out with a real solution. I have felt like no therapist is ever going to fully understand what I need.
11. Everyone isn't going to get it.
My first time in therapy I remember the counselor telling me that whenever I feel overwhelmed, I should flick the hair tie on my wrist. She noticed I always had one on me and it would be a quick fix to my anxiety. I have never felt more misunderstood than I did in that moment.
She was the "expert" and I was new to these problems I was having, so I trusted her. But I realized there is no "quick fix" to anxiety. I'm still not an expert almost five years later, but I haven't flicked a hair tie since a week after the therapist told me to and I don't think that's why the anxiety is still present. She just didn't understand what I needed after speaking with me once. I realized that week that not everyone is going to get it.
12. Some days anxiety will fully take me over, but I'll bounce back!
Depression is a close friend to anxiety and they have a grand plan to take over when they get together. I know what rock bottom looks like and what it feels like, but I've never been there for too long. It all comes back together and I've lived to tell about it, which I'm immensely proud of.
13. My anxiety isn't all I am!
This is the cliche thing I say all the time, but the reminder helps, so I just keep doing it. Shit happens and we get set off. We also laugh and smile and feel like we're on the top of the world. We're allowed to go through and get through whatever comes at us at whatever pace it takes.