In the past few years I have implemented many things into my lifestyle to help assuage my general anxiety with regard to work and my lifestyle. I have tried to eat healthier, exercise, ride my dirtbike, spend time with my family, and work less. For the most part, this has really helped. I have not had any truly crippling anxiety to speak of for maybe three years or better. I do take daily medication to quell the obsessive thoughts and behaviors which often accompany my anxiety, but it is not a fix-all. Unfortunately this last week, I have begun to spiral a little bit.
I am feeling less motivated to exercise, get out of bed, and work. I understand that this is simply a lull, and nothing has gotten out of control, but I really need to focus on maintaining my routines and not allowing myself to wallow/stew in the shit. Easier said than done.
I believe that my recent bout with an intensified level of anxiety was spurred by my latest vacation, the issues on my recent project, the kids starting school, and fairly routine life changes that seem to be more impactful due to my emotional and mental state. I have felt uneasy, stressed, tired, irritable, nervous, and worrisome. Most of these feelings are unjust or triggered by things outside of my control, but that is neither here nor there when I begin to feel this way. It is extremely convenient to tell others or yourself that you simply must worry about what is within your control, but to someone who is experiencing severe anxiety that is the silliest and most utterly insane sounding advice that can be offered.
In the past I foolishly and unsuccessfully attempted to combat these feelings by working more, partying, or burying myself in distractions. While this was a temporary reprieve, the long term benefits were nil. These days I spend more time focusing and delving into why I am feeling the way I am, and what sort of healthy actions I can take to ease my fears and heightened stress. I understand that these feelings will pass and that by suppressing them I am simply perpetuating the situation.
Last night I had some trouble falling asleep. Typically this is the case on Sunday evenings, as the week looms overhead. When I finally fell asleep I found myself restless and waking up throughout the night in full sweats. This is not truly a physical reaction to what is going on as much as it is an emotional and mental reaction. Typically this only lasts a few nights if I am able to manage my stress, but I have experienced stints in my life where this has happened for weeks or months on end. The following day I generally feel sick to my stomach and have a lack of appetite. That is the case today.
Rather than rush to work this morning and ignore what I was feeling, I chose to spend the day relieving my anxiety by taking care of emails, phone calls, paperwork, and finances. These are the things that are top of mind to me. I am fully aware that if these tasks are pushed to the back burner, I will temporarily feel better while I am physically on the job working, but the evening and night will be a reoccurring nightmare. I also intend on getting outside, getting some fresh air, and pounding the pavement for a few miles. Tomorrow will be a new day with its own unique set of challenges, so I must prepare myself the best that I can to face those tasks.
I understand that I will not come out of this bout of anxiety today, tomorrow, or realistically for a week or two at best, so I need to focus on getting through each day. Incremental changes and positive progress will yield long term results. There are no shortcuts, and it took me a long time to realize this. Anything that yields immediate and seemingly impactful results generally has negative long term effects.
I do not have a definitive or measurable goal for this blogpost other than to spew out what is on my mind, and what I am feeling. I would love to hear from any of you listeners as to what helps you crawl your way out of these situations. I have certainly made progress over the years, but I by no means have a perfect solution. Shit, for 23 years I did not even realize I had an issue or that these feelings were abnormal. At the end of the day, I now realize that anxiety is a real thing, and that more people experience this than you may know. If someone is irritable, unmotivated, detached, or preoccupied, or acting out, possibly they are experiencing some internal anxiety that you are unaware of; so rather than respond with similar sentiments or energy, try to be compassionate and understanding. You may not be able to help, but you most certainly can avoid contributing to the uneasiness and unsettled emotional state of the individual.
- Tyler Grace