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Dealing with Anxiety – Part 2

October 9, 2019

In August I wrote a post sharing my experience with anxiety and almost two months later, I realized I never really checked in with you all to share some updates. If you follow on Instagram, I talk about it occasionally on my stories, but figured a another full post was warranted. Based on the response of my last post, anxiety is something that affects so many of us. Thousands, THOUSANDS of comments poured in from all of you all sharing your stories. I read each and every one of them and you all lifted me up and made me feel so much less alone. If you want to read these stories for yourself, look at the comments on this post and this post. I have always been so grateful for this community, but to stay I felt the love that day is an understatement. Being that it is mental health awareness week, I felt there was no better time to revisit this topic than now.

The biggest question I am guessing that many of you have is, well, are you better? And what I’ve learned about having anxiety is that there is no quick fix. Getting anxiety under control is a process. Part of it requires training your brain to think in a different way and/or learning how to cope with stress/worry/panic. Just when I think I’m better (meaning, I may have had a couple days in a row feeling “normal” and/or without anxious thoughts or feelings), there it is again.

The inconsistency of my anxious episodes is defeating. Just when I am think it’s gone, it’s back, and that is the most frustrating part for me. Yes, I am on medication and even decided to increase the dosage (I started on a VERY low dose). The reason I decided to go on medication was because I wanted to stabilize myself so that I could buy myself some time to figure out the root of my anxiety without constantly being anxious. Do I want to take medicine forever? No. Do I think it is suppressing my symptoms or just making them go away forever. I’m not really sure. I am in the process of educating myself on this so I can make the best decision for myself. And that’s what I’ve been finding. What works for some people, might not work for others and visa versa.

Using a combination of medication, breathing exercises, acupuncture, decreased caffeine, increased exercise, and occasional use of CDB oil, I am in a much better place than I was a few months ago. I haven’t had any full blown panic attacks, but have had occasional acute episodes of intense panicky feelings. I have been able to diffuse them with everything mentioned above, and now my efforts have shifted to: How did I get here in the first place? Was it my diet or my lifestyle or “mom worry” or job stress or traumatic events or a combination of all the above?

I’ve been doing a lot of research, listening to podcasts and reading wellness literature and part of me believes that my sudden onset of anxiety was caused by years of trying to do it all and shushing any feelings that I should have been paying attention to. As a 37 year old mom of 4 I’ve been a little busy. I’ve been busy having kids, raising kids, constantly multi-tasking, and running a business. I prided myself on being able to do all of these things without needing breaks besides that glorious glass of red that I treat myself to once my kids are in bed. In retrospect, I realize that random bouts of insomnia or that racing heart feeling that sometimes happened when I was sitting at a red light was actually my body trying to tell me something.

The combination of ignoring my thoughts and not giving myself that alone time to process my emotions, skimping out on key nutrients in my diet and possibly filling my body with foods that could be agitating my systems, not exercising enough…. all of these things that happen in the throes of motherhood can be a recipe for a breakdown.

What I’ve learned in my “research” (and I use this term lightly, because I am not a scientist or nutritionist or doctor, I’m just a girl who wants to feel like my old self), is that all of our systems are connected. Can our digestive system affect our nervous system? Apparently it can. I’ve also heard the school of thought that everything we need to make us feel better is already inside us. Right now I’m in a place where I am trying to take a hard look at my eating habits, my exercise habits, and my “think time” habits.

Also, hello, hormones. If you are anxious at certain times of the month, take note. It could be that surge of hormones making you feel out of whack. Which also affects your sleep cycle, which affects everything else as we all know…

Clearly I don’t have all of the answers, but I thought I would end this with some things that have helped me personally and also share things that some of you shared with me!

Things I’ve Done That Have Helped:

Things Readers Have Suggested to Try:

Most of all, be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. Talk about it.

  • Reply
    Julie
    October 9, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with anxiety. I have been dealing with anxiety myself and have just recently been starting to research the food and mood connection. I’m a dietitian with a private practice focused on family nutrition so not really in that realm, but moving more into the mental health space has helped me tremendously and it feels so good to be able to help others that deal with anxiety and depression as well. Keep up the hard work, Momma. And thank you for sharing your story!

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      It is amazing what I am finding about this connection – all of our systems affect each other and so wonderful that you can help share your knowledge of this with your patients!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 9, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    thanks for your post related to anxiety. Your first one came at a time that my mom started dealing with panic attacks. She hit menopause late at the age of almost 60. Hormones as we found out can play a significant role on your physical and mental health. As it almost 38 year old mom of two oh, I have learned way more than I thought I would about menopause anxiety and the symptoms that could go along with it. As a nurse not something I ever learned about in school. What I have found to work for me Diet wise is Danette May. If you haven’t heard of her, check it out. She has a healthy lifestyle meditations and quick exercise activities that have worked wonders for me. Even got my mom doing some of the meditation and along with meds she is really doing much better. Thanks again.

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      Amanda, thank you!! All of these tips are so helpful – will check her out!

  • Reply
    Brandi Lane
    October 9, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    I’m so glad you mentioned that you are seeking a therapist as well. As a psychologist myself, I can say that medication helps lots of people tremendously but finding the root comes from talking things through and learning new skills to use. I also tell people medication can often help with the acute symptoms and slow things down so you can actually think better and be in a better space to do the work of therapy. Also if you’re not “feeling” a particular therapist after meeting them, find someone else. Therapy should be a joint effort working together to help you feel better and if you’re not comfortable, it’ll interfere with you wanting to be open. Good luck and keep up what you’re doing! Sounds like you are on a great path to wellness!

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      Thank you so much for this and for your honesty! I have a CBT session scheduled so really hoping it helps to build my internal toolkit ♥️

  • Reply
    Sandra
    October 9, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    I’ve been a Psychologist for 25 years. Here’s my free ebook: http://www.stressintel.com/free-stress-management-e-book. Feel free to reach out and tell me what you think.

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      omg amazing! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Sarah vDP
    October 9, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Lindsey. Glad you are in a better place. No you are definitely not alone!! For me anxiety has been an ongoing theme in my life. It feels AWFUL each time but knowing what is, being able to name what it is does help. Have you read ‘Don’t Panic’ by Reid Wilson, Ph.D? Super helpful book to me when educating myself about anxiety/panic!!

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you, Sarah! I haven’t read that… adding it to my list- thank you!

  • Reply
    Steph
    October 9, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Are you on birth control! I am currently on Zoloft and just had my IUD exchanged with the Mirena (previously had the Skyla which is a lower dose). I now feel more sad than ever and wondering if it’s that…
    Just curious about your birth control and if that could be a contributor.
    I, too, am listening to podcasts about anxiety and a gynecologist said she felt “alive” after she quit birth control. I’m now considering it…
    Take care!

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      Funny you say this!! I’ve thought about this bc on the same one – ill ask my dr!

  • Reply
    Daisy Cartagena
    October 10, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Lifting you up in prayer Lindsey. I am a wife, a mom of two boys, and full-time professional. What worked for me, when I experienced a sudden onset of anxiety was reading the bible, praying and essential oils (lavender and serenity blend by doTerra. Even now, when my body starts to feel that “familiar place”, this still works for me. God bless!

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you, Daisy!!! Lavender does wonders for sure!

  • Reply
    Janet
    October 10, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Sounds like you are on the right track and processing it all! Everyone is different and we all operate on different speeds – mind and body. I started having anxiety in my 20’s! Panic attacks, galore. Scariest time of my life. I was on medication for a short time to just to give me that bump in my recovery but came off and NEVER went back to it. You will train your mind and you will see improvement. “MIND OVER MATTER” You are on the right track – good luck and go easy on your self.

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:32 pm

      I hope to be med free someday but for now they are doing what I need them to do and giving me that space to figure out how I can live without them. Mind over matter is right – thank you ♥️

  • Reply
    Jennifer Olsen
    October 10, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Beautifully written. I can relate to every single word. Xo

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      ♥️♥️♥️

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    October 10, 2019 at 9:07 am

    This sounds like me the last two years . Started with random rapid heart beats. Then panic attacks . I couldn’t handle any noise . It got pretty intense there for awhile. I two have been doing all the things you mentioned ( well besides running ). I wanted to tell you about a book that I started reading that really helped me with the head noise and the negative talk. “ Untethered soul”. I haven’t finished it yet because it’s pretty intense but before I too started on some meds it changed my life with the anxiety . I am a 40 yr old mother of 3 and mine started around your age . Or I should say took over around your age. I believe I’ve had it my whole life in some way or another . Good luck!

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you so much for this recommendation – I will check it out now!

  • Reply
    Lisa C.
    October 10, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Thank you for sharing! I can also relate to every word. And as someone who has suffered with anxiety so long that it has become a deep feeling inside my chest, I have recently started using tapping by following Nick and Jessica Ortner and The Tapping Solution. This has made a world of difference of not only in dealing with my anxiety in the moment but also finding the root causes to those feelings. Continued luck and blessings to you.

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you so much! I will look this up!

  • Reply
    Deborah
    October 10, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Thanks for this again. As one grows older, there are new anxieties that emerge. For me, it was when I started full-time teaching with an earned doctorate. Now, as I contemplate retirement, quite honestly, some of those anxiety attacks (though not so severe) have emerged. Do wonder why we have these semi enforced retirement “ages” now, especially when some of us have taken care of ourselves so much more than our “greatest Generation” parents and grandparents. Productive work seemed to the solution for me. The attacks are real and seemed to mimic a heart attack in my younger years. A doctor assured me that they were not. Blessings you and your courage to share this with the your followers.

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:30 pm

      Every stage of life definitely brings new anxieties – it’s the uncertain. I would try to focus on the now which I know is easier said than done ♥️

  • Reply
    Jennifer Bigelow
    October 10, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    I love that you are sharing this. I had an extreme bout with anxiety that lasted for a few years which directly coincided with a teenage daughter who was going through her own struggles. I started doing research as well and found what you did. I am doing almost exactly everything you are doing and I am better as well, though I find myself having out of control days too. I have been able to control mine with diet/exercise changes so far and I am so glad that you mentioned those because I feel like it’s something not enough people know about or focus on. I am also a mom of 4 kids, though mine are older and are all out of the house now (maybe that’s why my anxiety level has dropped:) ) It is hard and exhausting and you’re clearly doing a great job and love those darling boys. Keep talking about this please-I think you have likely helped many of us.

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      I’m so happy to hear your anxiety is under control – I think life events and the stages we are in with our kids definitely contribute. Thank you so much for your kind words ♥️

  • Reply
    Florida Home
    October 10, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Lindsey-thank you once again for addressing this and updating us on your progress. There is tremendous pressure today on young women to “do it all; have it all.” No one should ever apologize for saying no. If you ever sat down & wrote out everything that you did each day, you would probably be shocked. Be kind & loving to yourself & never apologize for needing to say no. God bless you ❤️

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      Thank you for this!! So much truth!

  • Reply
    Heather
    October 10, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    thanks for sharing since I agree that anxiety affects many! I’ve experienced anxiety as well and I think it’s only been since I became a mother 5 years ago. I’m still not sure what triggers it exactly, but I guess I need to do my own research and reflection.

    • Reply
      Lindsey
      October 10, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      ♥️♥️♥️

  • Reply
    Sandra Thebaud
    October 11, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Heather: If there’s not an obvious trigger for your anxiety, I would consider that there may be something going on with your central nervous system. It’s a key component of the stress response and anxiety is a response to a threat in the environment. If there’s not an obvious threat, then your stress response is being activated because the relaxation response (the counterpart to your stress response) is not functioning properly. Look into stress management techniques that focus on central nervous system relaxation to help.

  • Reply
    Amy
    October 11, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I’m a middle school teacher with severe anxiety. I’m trying to figure out a way to calm the anxious feelings when there are 30 twelve year-olds staring at me. I had my first panic attack a few years ago in front of one of my classes, and I have a constant fear of that happening again, so much so that I have nightmares that I’ll lose my job over my anxiety.

  • Reply
    Mindy Dill
    October 11, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Lindsey! I have recently experienced the same this summer and still currently working on getting better! Was diagnosed with Irritable bowel but started having panic attacks 3 weeks into it . Worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Very scary! I’m currently taking medication and working on uping the dose as well! What medication are you currently on if you don’t care to share. I currently take zoloft. I feel for you and appreciate your realness! I will be praying for you!

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