After random, episodic periods of anxiety and unease, I decided to go to therapy (if you haven’t read that post, click here). My first session concluded with three main points:
- Everyone in life, at some point, goes through some level of trauma
- That trauma gets digested and internalized by your subconscious, ultimately playing a key role in shaping your outlook on life, and
- That trauma was being manifested as anxiety and to conquer it, I needed to unpack it.
After telling my therapist all about my own “traumatic” life experiences, she advised that I start seeing her every two weeks. Rather than shy away from the reality of my anxiety, I decided to share my experience to inspire others to go to therapy.
At my first session, I felt uncomfortable with the thought of spilling my soul to a stranger. This time, I felt more experienced.
My motivation for seeing the therapist was to get an answer to the “why’s”. Why was I experiencing this and why did it start now?
But my thinking process had to shift to the “what”. What was triggering my sudden onslaught of anxiety? What event occurred in my life to cause these emotions?
The Normalcy of Stress
The theme for this session tackled the idea of normalcy. For the past few months I experienced vivid nightmares of being hurt, loss of appetite due to feelings of unease, and general feelings of overwhelm.
This was out of the norm for me.
When you experience anxiety, you feel like things are out of your control. You feel depleted and exhausted. Sometimes when you explain these feelings towards others, they make you feel minimized because they don’t understand you. In some cases, people can see your anxiety as a weakness.
But these feelings are normal. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Stress is relative. But the important thing to realize is that everyone has stressors in their daily lives. People can handle stressors differently than others. Some people have a different threshold to the amount of stress they can handle at a given time.
Whatever your threshold for stress is, there is nothing to be ashamed of for admitting that the stress and anxiety you are experiencing has become unmanageable.
Some days I need to remind myself of this fact more than others, but you are normal for being anxious. You are normal for feeling overwhelmed. Life is overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with seeking external help. Remind yourself of this every single day. Whether it is talking to a friend, family member, or with a psychologist in therapy, it is normal to both feel anxiety.
The most significant thing you can do for yourself is listen to what your body is telling you – and that includes your mind.
What are some of the ways you deal with anxiety?