(Image via Death to the Stockphoto)
Today I wanted us all to be involved in a dialogue about anxiety.
This is something that I have lived with for quite some time. At times it was more active, and others it lay dormant in the background. However, I have come to accept anxiety as part of me.
Beyond Blue states that:
"The symptoms of anxiety are sometimes not all that obvious as they often develop gradually and, given that we all experience some anxiety at some points in time, it can be hard to know how much is too much."
This explains why it is surprises people when I say that I have anxiety. I can mask my symptoms and, my panic attacks have generally been endured at night. I don't suffer from social anxiety, the most common association with anxiety.
A few years ago my anxiety was the most intense that I had experienced. I decided now was time to understand it and, have effective tools to handle it. I identified it was spiralling and quickly starting to consume me.
I won't share exactly what my triggers are, not from embarrassment, but purely because it doesn't make a difference to the whole experience. Our triggers may be different but our symptoms are similar.
Once I got to a stage where I understood my anxiety, I have tried to be as open about it as I can. Initially I only spoke to people who I felt really "got it". I have realised that people are only going to understand if those that have lived it, share our stories.
There is still too much stigma and misunderstanding around mental health. By feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable in sharing my experience with you, I am not proclaiming to instantly fix the problem. I just hope if one person changes their view or speaks of their own experiences, then it is worth my discomfort.
The more I open up about it, people have started to open up about their experiences. Even if it is witnessing firsthand a loved one go through it. I think it is a really important point to remember, that our wellness (mental or physical) always affects those around us. Nat Kringoudis recently said so perfectly;
"It doesn't just take a village to raise a child, it takes a village to be a human being."
I believe my shift in thinking came about, because I got to a point where I do not look at my anxiety as a flaw and something I need to be ashamed of. Yes, it can be utterly inconvenient and has required a lot of hard work and determination to get to the point it is today. I just think we each have something in our lives we are always working on and need to be mindful of, mine just happens to be anxiety.
Once I felt I understood my anxiety I truly felt I was back in control of my life. It was no longer controlling me. I only got to this point after connecting with an amazing psychologist, trialling different methods and
practices and, reading, reading and then doing some more reading.
Don't worry the irony that I felt better about my anxiety because I felt back in control, is not lost on me. Anxiety at its very core, for all of us, is about feeling a loss of control. So I think it is pretty clear that I am hard wired for this kind of thinking!
I had been trying to decide exactly how to start talking about this topic when I had the opportunity to meet Sarah Wilson. I thanked her for being so open about her experiences with anxiety. She said to me that either talking or writing about it is "part of the process" and, that was just the little nudge that I needed!
A few weeks later I heard Sarah speak again and she was asked her "How with your anxiety have you not let it hold you back? I don't know if you struggle with self-doubt but how have you done it all?" I don't know this lady but it honestly took all that I had to not jump up and answer for Sarah. I actually can't even remember Sarah's response as I was too busy answering for her in my mind!
Where ever she may be and for anyone else who wonders the same thing, I just wanted to answer this question now.
Anxiety may not be the most pleasant experience in the world but I personally wouldn't trade it in. Throughout all of my exploring, I have come to see that those of us with anxiety seem to be a "type" of person.
I know if I am honest with myself, if I look at my positive attributes I would say that I am driven, passionate, focused, ambitious and thrive off being in organisation mode. These things to me have the same energy of my anxiety, I am just harnessing it in a more positive way.
As with everything in life there is always light and dark and I have come to a point where I can embrace both.
That is not to say you cannot have any of these attributes without being anxious but I know for me they are just all two sides to the one coin.
Anxiety is a grey area. We each can experience anxious moments and then downplay what others feel actually living with anxiety. It can be crippling and debilitating.
I have tried to make it almost a mantra to not let it stop me. I acknowledge when I may be feeling anxious, why I may be feeling this way but I do not let it stop me. I may adjust things so I am more comfortable but the minute I allow it to stop me, I am creating a precedent for the next time a similar scenario arises.
I hope you too can do the same.
*I am not a qualified health professional, these are my own experiences and opinions.
Kylie Aloi is a passionate Lifestyle Coach. She loves nothing more than guiding women to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives. Kylie wants to see more women designing a life that is right for them. She has grown up working in a small family business and has completed a Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management) and a Certificate IV Workplace and Business Coaching. Her life would be incomplete without meaningful connections, copious cups of tea, lists and conversations that are almost always food related. Stay connected with Kylie through her website , Instagram and, Facebook