Darker days; living with anxiety

There are days where I find it nearly impossible to pick myself out of a rut. Most of these days are brought on by Sunday scaries, a restless night, an unproductive weekend and breaking my diet or exercise regimen.

I feel the anxiety work its way in and can’t help but feel paralyzed at times. I have this recurring nightmare where I’m tied to train tracks, there’s a knife within my hand’s reach to cut myself free, but I can’t get my hands to work.

The dream always ends right before I get squished like a bug. But I carry that weight on my chest for the rest of the free-falling plunge.

The most imperative aspect when it comes to managing your anxiety is finding your triggers. I listed mine above but it took me a while to figure out what these were. You can ask anyone, my biggest recommendation is to jot your thoughts and descriptions down.

In the notes on your phone, in a journal, wherever you find most convenient. When these days and crippling feelings creep up, jot down everything about that day, rate your mood on a 1-10 scale.

Write down what you did the day before, what you ate, who you were with, and what you did that day. Within a few entries you’ll find your pattern and be able to distinguish what brings this on.

The hardest part after discovering your triggers is changing your habits. Drinking with my friends in college was all I wanted to do my first two years at Drexel University. I would go out Thursday, Friday and Saturday, dumping hours of work on myself for Sundays.

I always got the work done, but I was putting so much stress on my mind and my body. And I wasn’t even getting to do the things I actually enjoy most.

After realizing that 1) it was probably time to grow up and 2) that binge drinking made me anxious as fu*k I cut back a lot.

I try to avoid drinking in excess in general, but if I’m going out for a fun time with my girls I’ll only go day-drinking or designate one day over the weekend. That way I still have two days to divvy up my time and get everything I need to done.

The harshest reality about anxiety is realizing that you have to want to change. It doesn’t go away forever. You have to be dedicated to having a better mindset and overall just accept that the decisions you make have consequences.

You won’t hear me say this often but I’m grateful for my anxiety at times. No matter how crippling it is. It’s made me conscious that I’m too hard on myself most of the time.

Getting to the gym two times instead of my usual three times a week isn’t going to make my world stop. Just like treating myself to a juicy burger over the weekend isn’t going to ruin my personal body image.

As long as you try your best, and appreciate your daily accomplishments, you’ll be able to relieve this harsh shadow a little easier.

Photo contributes to Gratisography.com

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