Anxiety is no joke. Want to know how serious it actually is?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) about 40 million adult Americans over the age of 18 are affected by it, yet only 36.9% of people with anxiety disorders actually seek and receive treatment for it.
My anxiety can be so bad at times, it becomes physically and mentally debilitating. You know when you are looking at something, only you’re looking through it, essentially not registering anything at all? Turns out they are mini seizures called “absence seizures.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself staring through a wall for hours because I can’t get myself to come back down from an overflow of anxiety.
Lately I’ve noticed a recent increase in this, not only for myself, but through conversations I’ve had with different types of people or from others I’ve seen posting about it.
Sometimes people find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of projects, ideas, or things to do that they can’t get themselves to do anything at all. Other times it become a sense of feeling lost because they feel like there isn’t anything for them to do in the first place. Me personally, it’s been a mixture of things from thinking too far into the future to doubting myself or capabilities in the present moment.
Regardless of what caused the debilitating anxiety, the only thing in the moment that I can think about when I’m feeling anxious is that I can’t find it in me to keep moving forward. Like a robot who’s batteries just ran out of juice and the only thing left for me to do, despite the hour of the day, is to do absolutely nothing.
It’s disheartening when it happens and makes me feel like I’ve wasted the day away.
But then I remember one very important thing:
I need to listen to my body.
I take pride in the fact that I am very in tune with my body. I’ve always felt this way, despite my eating disorder. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean I always listen.
I know what my body wants or needs in the moment. Normally when these moments arise, I overwhelm myself with the idea that I need to find balance.
But then I saw a post from Zenned Out that said:
“The trick isn’t always being in perfect balance, it’s being able to find the stillness when things are out of balance.” – Zenned Out
It couldn’t be more true.
My anxiety frequently is caused by one main rooted thing: I am a failure because I am unable to find the proper balance.
No matter what it is about on the surface (my eating disorder, productivity, completing or not completing a project, feeling a sense of doubt or lack of self worth, not having a good routine, etc.) it all comes back to the fact that I still am working towards trying to find stillness within the things in my life that may seem out of balance.
This last week, I’ve encountered numerous times where I have felt anxious to the point that it’s been debilitating, so instead of beating myself up for not “being in perfect balance,” I listened to my body and allowed the stillness to settle in.
The moment I did that, everything shifted. I slept better, I woke up feeling like I could conquer the day, there was optimism, there was a sense of peace. The world slowed down and I was able to breathe.
For someone else, stillness may look like something else. It could be meditation, running into the mountains, laying with your dog, writing your heart out, playing music, diving yourself into a project, or cleaning until your hands feel like they’ll fall off. Whatever your mechanism for allowing the stillness into your life, lean into it.
It worked for me, and hopefully it will work for you, too.
Meet the Author
Hey, I’m Lauren Dow. Author, podcast host advocate, and feeler of the big feels. I’m here to provide a safe space to normalize the conversation about mental health. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.