It’s hard to admit, but it wasn’t until my health fell apart (again) in my early 50’s that I was diagnosed with chronic, severe anxiety.
Like the proverbial goldfish in the bowl, we don’t “see” the water we swim in. It’s simply the way we/it/they are, and we often assume everyone feels or lives like this. “Isn’t this a normal part of life”? “Doesn’t everyone feel like this”? Am I normal, or abnormal??
Do YOU have chronic or perhaps severe, chronic anxiety? I want you to really think this through with me now, because admitting you HAVE a problem is the first step to fixing it, right?
5 Clues YOU Have Chronic Anxiety
1). You worry. Repeatedly. About the same things. Got to get CONTROL…
2). You’re a little wired up, and it’s not from coffee. You over-react; get irritable or overwhelmed in a flash; you get stuck in ONE task, or jump from one task to the next. And then you’re exhausted from all this EFFORT to keep the world turning….
3). You don’t sleep deeply or long enough. Your mind is crowded with thoughts night and day. You’re restless and tired.
4). You have chronic indigestion and muscle tension, perhaps clenching the jaw and rock-tight shoulders, irritable bowel and worse.
5). You’re shaky, have to pee frequently, and have to have downtime in dark, quiet spaces. That’s the sympathetic nervous system running too fast, and wanting to self-correct. (Or, you do alcohol or pot to calm down).
I could list 50 other symptoms, but these will do for starters. For me, I was completely unable to see how I overreact and feel panicked when I can’t control it all. And, “What if I can’t do it perfectly??”
Help For Chronic Anxiety
#1). If you need professional help and some low-dose meds for a while, get them! Some of us have pretty damaged nervous systems, and pharmaceuticals can be really helpful for a year or three. Start with a child’s-size dose and slowly increase if needed. My doses were ridiculously small and worked great for me!
#2). PASSION FLOWER, and other calming herbs are the BEST!! We sell both the glycerite and alcohol tincture forms of Passion Flower in the supplement store. We’ve tried many and like this the best. Take 10 to 60 drops, as needed…. This herb supports GABA (the calming neurotransmitter) and affects every cell of the body. See this blog post and this one and this podcast and this one for more. Straight GABA in a bottle does not work – skip it! I like this combo in my online store for sleep and for day.
#3). SLEEP! Darken your bedroom to pitch black. Get away from TV and computers 2 hours before bed (blue light prevents melatonin formation). Wear ear plugs (I like Hearos). Get a mouthguard to relax your jaw and save your teeth. Replace your alarm with a lamp on a timer.
Talk it Out
#4). ADMIT you have an anxiety problem and talk to friends, family and counselors. Ask for help prioritizing. Ask them to gently remind you it will be OK and what can they do to help? JUST SAY NO to more activities.
#5). CHANGE YOUR FOCUS. Take a walk or stretch break. Do some EFT. Close your eyes and focus on your breath or on an image of a beach in Tahiti (complete with sounds, smells, feeling the breeze and colors). Listen to my podcast on Buteyko Breathing for some interesting ideas.
Have you been told you have anxiety? Did you figure it out for yourself or did someone else clue you in? What’s been helpful to you? (HINT: Sharing is therapeutic).