Let me preface this by saying, I am by no means a counselor or therapist. My only knowledge of the subject comes strictly from my own experience. But boy oh boy, experience I have.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Women are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder than men. Yep, twice as likely. So don’t think it’s something to be ashamed of.
And let’s just say that being diagnosed with anxiety is a hard pill to swallow. I get it. Sometimes it’s just you and your anxiety fighting the stereotypes of being labeled as weak or not good enough. Even when it’s you giving yourself the labels. Uh huh. I know all about that too.
Here’s the thing… and listen because this one stings… we let anxiety control us. Guess who doesn’t win… you, me, all of us in this lovely anxiety club. Anxiety wins, gains control and we struggle taking back ownership of our lives. Don’t be that person. We are bigger than that.
Relatable story time…
I love to travel, obviously. In 2015 when I separated from my ex husband, I thought that was over for me until I found another partner. See, I went swirling through the PTSD that followed the separation from an abusive situation and my anxiety was at an all time high. To the point I didn’t sleep at night. I would wait for my parents, who were my neighbors at the time, to wake up and then I would sleep for an hour or two in the mornings. I did this for almost a year. I spent my nights listening to every sound outside, watching every shadow, preoccupying my mind by rearranging furniture every night, painting my walls at 2am, mopping the floors at 4:30am, full on panic attacks most nights while the kids slept.
My therapist at the time suggested a dog. My son is allergic so we moved on to option two which was to install window alarms. Guess what? Didn’t help lol. None of it helped. It was all outside forces I was trying to fix and my issue was inside.
My anxiety had full control of me. It was my crutch and I depended on it to get me out of everything. I used it to bail on obligations. I used it to tell myself I’d never be good enough for someone to love. I used it to tell myself I could never have the life I wanted. I used it to tell myself I couldn’t travel alone. I used it to stop calling friends. Name it and I have probably come up with an excuse at some point and blamed anxiety.
My relief started slowly. By taking back power, small milestones at a time.
I had a moment in 2017. I was standing by myself in front of the Fountains of Bellagio when I realized just how much I had conquered. It was only a year earlier that I would have been curled in a ball on my bathroom floor at night, but here I was. A girl from a tiny North Carolina town. Flew across the country alone. Standing in a bustling city at night, with the lights and the sounds. Watching fountains I’d only seen on video. And had thought I’d probably never see.
Anxiety wanted me to stay in this place of security with an instinct to protect me from the unknown. I had to fight that. I was terrified getting on the plane and terrified to explore Las Vegas, but I did it. Because honestly, why couldn’t I? The fact that I had stopped myself from experiences because of what I had told myself in my head. It was a lie. I can go explore just the same as anyone else so why not me?
And why not you? Maybe your dream isn’t to see the sleepless town of Las Vegas, but there’s something that you’re lying to yourself about. If you struggle with anxiety then there is something you’ve told yourself you’re not worthy to do or don’t deserve. But WHY NOT YOU?
Go seek adventure . It’ll be scary, but it’s gonna be worth it.