Anxiety Sets In
Most of you have probably already read about my summer. If you haven’t, I would go read my blog about Summer Sadness and Sickies before you read this one.
Summer was tough. I lost my beloved cat and my family all got sick one by one. I was extremely sad, but I was doing ok after Seth and Lillie both got sick. Then Ella got sick! I watched and helped Ella as she puked for over 24 hours. It is really hard to watch my little peanut get sick. She is so tiny and thin and didn’t have anything in her to puke up. I was making it through all of it. I was being strong and caring and was trying to take care of everyone as best as I could.
The anxiety began to really set in when I noticed my tiny little kitten not doing well. She wasn’t eating and wasn’t acting like herself. I began to really worry and called the shelter where I got her from. I was fostering the kittens so I couldn’t just run her to the vet. I had to have the shelter take her to the vet. The shelter told me to give her a few doses of honey and see if that helped.
I woke up at 2 am in a panic attack. The honey hadn’t helped and the kitten still wasn’t acting normal. I felt so out of control. I couldn’t run her to a vet because she wasn’t technically mine. I paced the house all night and all morning. If I walked I was ok. I couldn’t lay down or sit down. I had to walk the house all night to feel better.
The kitten was off to the vet and I felt a little better. She had a virus and I was reassured that she would be fine. I felt a sense of relief but was also in disbelief of everything that I was dealing with. I felt trapped. If you know me well, you know that I am not home a lot. My family and I are always on the go. Seth calls me the stay at home mom that is never home. I would wake up in the morning and cry from sadness and anxiety. I was thinking about another day at home. I was thinking about what a bad summer I was giving my children. My thoughts were creating a world of anxiety that was taking away eating and sleeping.
I told my friend it was the worse summer ever. Do you know what she said? “No it’s not! This is all fixable. All of your children (and your kitten) will get better!” It was amazing how that statement woke me up from my tornado of negative spiraling thoughts. She was right! So my kids and husband all got sick. The kitten got sick! They would all get better! It would all be ok! There are so many parents that can’t say that and I felt a wave of thankfulness set in!
I don’t tend to suffer from anxiety. My anxiety tends to be situational when I do have it. I have felt the pull to go back to counseling. My plan in my head is private practice for my future. Anxiety is one of the most common complaints that I will get from my clients. I started to realize that all of this anxiety that I have been feeling over the last several weeks was going to help me understand my clients better. When they came to me suffering from anxiety, I would have a better understanding of what it feels like. It wasn’t fun, but I learned what worked for me to help and I want to share.
When I am stressed, I tend to wake up with anxiety. What I found was that if I got up and moving it would decrease. If I laid in bed and tried to rest and relax or go back to sleep it would get worse. Being up and moving helped me! I think if I would have even gotten up and gone on the treadmill or outside for a walk that would have been even better!
I mentioned getting moving but there are so many more things that helped me. Awareness is the key to success. First, I started becoming more aware of my breathing. I hold my breath a lot when I am stressed. Thinking about my breathing and taking deep breaths would help me. If you breathe in for the count of one and breathe out for the count of three and repeat this a few times you will notice a significant difference. Let’s go beyond breathing! I never want to down play how important it is to take deep breaths when you are stressed! Now let’s go a step further to becoming aware of your thoughts. My negative thoughts were spiraling out of control. I would remind myself that everything was fixable. My kids and my husband and my kitten were all going to feel better. I would shift myself to focusing on everything that I was thankful for. It is much harder to be upset when you are feeling thankful. My husband has been cranky for four weeks, but he will be ok. He will heal, and he will feel better and he will be less cranky! I don’t know what you believe in, but I find that prayer really helps me. I started a cute little prayer that makes me giggle every time I say it. “I will hold out hope and I will keep the faith!” Every time I say this prayer I smile. My cat’s name was Hope and my new kitten is Faith, so I have created a prayer with their names to warm my heart.
I have mentioned moving, breathing, changing your thoughts and prayer. When I say get moving, it doesn’t have to be exercise. I found jumping into dishes and laundry made me feel better. Instead of sitting and wallowing, being productive made me feel better. When you become more aware of your thoughts you can do a better job working on replacing them. When I would think “worst summer ever,” I would challenge myself and work on replacing this thought. Not only would everything be ok but I started to look around and notice what my children were doing. I would find Lillie playing with her kitchen giggling and laughing. I would find Ella playing with her Barbie or on the floor with a kitten giggling. I would find Max cuddling with a kitten or yelling “at” his friends on the xbox. Yes, I like to get Max out and away from electronics! However, if I actually became present and looked around, I would see all happy children with no one complaining!
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to use your supports. My friend scolded me for not sharing with her everything that was going on. I didn’t want to bring people down. Why was I looking at it like that? Friends are for the good times and the not so good times. Friends help you through things. I would want my friend to lean on me so why wasn’t I leaning on my friends? When she showed up with coffee and a hug I felt a million pounds of stress melt away! Use your supports! Lean on your supports! I have a fabulous friend who drove Lillie around for me when Max and Ella didn’t feel well! I have my in laws and friends checking on us! I have parents not only listening to me vent daily but supporting me loving me and giving me guidance through it all. My parents have a health food store and would show up with stuff regularly to help us through this. Marlene and Phil’s Vitamin and Herb Center is the BEST!!! Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarlenePhillsVitaminHerbCenter/. My parents do so much research and always find the greatest things to give to my family. I vented to my mother a billion times through all of this. I can only hope that Seth and I are as good of parents as mine are. When you become a parent you become a parent for a lifetime. I have had to explain to Lillie many times that she could be 80 years old and she will always be my baby!
My kids love the Holderness Family. Seth is actually going to be doing a podcast with them in September and the kids are so excited! I will advertise it so you can all listen to it because I bet it is going to be great! We would put them on and we would dance and sing and laugh and be silly together! You cannot be anxious or upset when you are dancing and singing with your children! My kids now tell me to go drink my chardonnay! You will only understand this if you have seen the Thanksgiving episode of the Holderness family!
Everyone has a creative outlet! Ella loves to act! The emotion that she puts into her acting just astounds me. Lillie loves to draw. I find her drawing all of the time! I like to write. I cannot tell you how much better I feel when I put all of this to paper. My last blog about Summer I read about ten times. Every time I read it I took a deep breath and found myself feeling much better! When I get it out onto paper it seems to get out of my system! Whether you use a pen and paper or a lap top try venting out your frustrations. It is the same thing at night. If there is something bothering me or something I don’t want to forget before I go to sleep I write it down. I get it out of my system and then I am able to go right to sleep.
In sharing all of this I hope that I have helped someone!
Get moving! Exercise or be productive!
Become aware of your thoughts and challenge/replace them! It takes practice!
Thankfulness! What are you thankful for? You can’t be upset when you are feeling thankful!
Use your supports! Except help! Vent! Ask for advice! I have a few friends who know a lot about cats who have been super helpful! My parents knowledge about supplements has been super helpful!
Put on music and sing and dance!
Creative outlet: painting, drawing, writing, acting….
I hope that you are all having a good summer. I hope that you are looking around and smelling the roses. I hope that if you ever suffer from anxiety that this will help you!