I’m an anxious person. No, I mean really anxious. I’ve been living with an anxiety disorder for 20+ years. Something will scare or upset me and I physically can’t get myself to come back down. Even after I realize things are okay my brain stays stuck in an extremely anxious space.
It ruins me. It depresses me. Depression has about killed me.
This is why I need people.
My friends and family are the most valuable tool I have for fighting fear, anxiety and depression. I’m learning to be honest and to STOP ISOLATING. If you struggle with any of these things you know exactly what I mean. It’s weird, but loneliness, sadness and fear tend to bury us. We shut the door and hide out. Alone.
And then fear wins. Depression conquers us. Anxiety masters us.
In my own lifelong battle there are a few things that have given me relief.
1. Refuse to isolate. I get how strong the pull is, but it is still YOUR choice. Choose freedom. Push against the current and call your best friend. Tell them you are stuck and sad. They won’t fix you, but it will lift you up (even a little). There is something powerful about bringing to light what has been brooding in the dark.
2. Do drugs. Ha! No, really. We are definitely an over-medicated country. Antidepressants are prescribed for everything. People walk around numb and suffering from side effects, but their hearts aren’t healed. That being said, there are times when you have to conquer the crushing sadness before you can deal with WHY you are sad. So, do what you gotta do. Since I’m still breastfeeding I’ve been taking some supplements to help me function. They don’t do much when I’m having an actual panic attack, but they do wonders for my brain in the every day stuff.
3. Exercise. No more excuses. This isn’t about having the perfect body. It isn’t selfish or a waste of time. It’s just not even an option. Exercise increases serotonin levels in the brain which makes you feel HAPPY. When I’m feeling particularly nasty, I get out my Vibrams and I hit the gym, or I do a 10 Minute Video, or I take a Revelation Fitness Class, or do me up some Holy Yoga. If all else fails, we take the kids and the dog on a hike. If you want a quick lift get MOVING.
4. Get inspired. Seriously, sometimes all I need is a new house. Kidding (kinda). I’ve been known to frequent quite a few blogs that inspire some super creative (and cheap) DIY projects. This one in particular makes me drool. It seems like a small thing, but it really does help to change up your environment a bit. Plus, I’m a firm believer that your house reflects you. When my house is trashed, so is my spirit. When my house is fresh and happy, so is my heart.
5. Invest in a blender. Or in my case, a Magic Bullet. Smoothies are almost always necessary. We throw in frozen, organic berries, bananas, rice milk, protein powder, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin d (especially in the winter months when we don’t get as much sun) and anything else that looks delicious. Every single person in my family loves smoothies, even the baby. Clean food = less fatigue, less grogginess and happier people.
6. Find Jesus. This should probably be #1. No joke, I look back at my life and wonder how the hell I would have survived without him. My sorrow drives me straight into his mercy. When I start to sink, I furiously grab my Bible and speak some damn truth to myself. I almost instantly experience some relief. This brings me back to #1 – you need people who will speak truth and love to you. I don’t know where I would be without my girlfriends. They don’t let me forget that I need Jesus more than I need air.
7. Last, but not least, take a break. Take a freaking break. Put away the vacuum, throw a pizza in the oven, let the kids run amuck, turn on your favorite dvr’d show and veg out. We scurry around like the sky is falling; we act like everything must be done right NOW. Sheesh. Get some perspective. It’ll wait. What won’t wait is your sanity. So nurture it.
*Note: I am not a doctor, nutritionist or medical professional. Everything I’ve shared here is my own experience and opinion. Every person is different and requires a different road to health. If you are depressed or feeling like you just cannot cope, get professional help friend. Don’t wait. Do it today.