Friends with the Monster Under my Bed

Anxiety..

This small word has a mighty, even overwhelming power embedded within it’s letters.

This mental disorder is one that I have had my entire life, I just never knew exactly what Anxiety was, nor did I understand just how deep it ran. I think of Anxiety like the monster under my bed, I know it’s always there and for the most part I know what triggers it into making an appearance.

The symptoms range from quickening pace of breathing to my throat and chest tightening up to breaking down into total freakout mode where the entire room is in a spin. Depending on the social situation, I never know how intense this mental monster will bite.

As a youngster I just figured that this anxious monster in my head was part of my EB, just another broken piece that made up who I was. And, of course I never said anything to my parents, I was in and out of enough doctors offices. No way was I about to add another doctor to the list. My parents knew that I was a shy kid (and adult lol), so they made sure I met other kids and engaged. My Mom, I think she knew that I had Anxiety as a kid, she saw that monster creep it’s way further out in certain situations. For example, on the day of surgeries I was extremely quiet, kept to myself and was buried in my headphones. Off in my own anxiety filled world is where I was, even with doctors appointments and even to this day. While my Dad would crack jokes to get me to smile and distract my head, my Mom would just sit next to me on the train and in the waiting room allowing me to do what I needed to do. She’d hug me, tell me everything would be ok. She knew…like all moms do…she just knew.

During my teen years that anxiety monster grew out of control and gained other powers such as pulling me down an anger filled depression and suicidal spiral. Being teased and bullied in school definitely added major fuel to an already lit fire. I have always been my worst enemy and can mentally beat myself up like Ali in the ring, so outside help in that area is never needed. High school was tough and a time in my life I’d never return to. Yet, major and impactful life lessons were branded into my brain, so a brilliant rainbow was found at the end of that treacherous three year storm.

Anxiety is definitely one beast of a mental monster, but it isn’t undefeatable. It may have taken me way too long in educating myself with just what Anxiety is, the type of Anxiety that lives in my mind and how to manage it, but eventually I came to understand this monster. More importantly, I have learned how to manage it and that it doesn’t control my life or describe who I am.

The one misconception about living life with a rare disorder, or any disorder, is that our disorder is who we are, it’s our entire life. Well, I hate to burst your bubble (actually, that’s a lie..I kinda love that I’m about to burst your bubble πŸ˜‰) I don’t eat, breathe and live EB. Which in turn means that I don’t eat, breathe and live in my Anxiety. These two disorders are a small part of my life, however, they don’t consume my llife nor dictate who I am. I know sometimes we can feel trapped within our mental or physical disorders, especially when so much of society brands us as “different” because of them.

Living and managing any disorder is a daily challenge, but it doesn’t suck up your entire day.

I have found through trial and error what works in managing my Anxiety so that I can still live my life and still be me.

A few quick tips and tricks that work for me are below…

* I don’t take any meds to aid in controlling my Anxiety. I have never liked taking meds, even as a kid, and I hate feeling groggy or numb which is how meds make me feel. Through research I have learned the benefits of caffeine (no surprise as to my excitement with that πŸ˜‚). Turns out that caffeine stimulates air flow and blood flow. Before meetings or social situations I sip on a coffee. Oddly enough, the coffee not only helps to keep my throat from closing up, it also calms my nerves which in a weird way helps to nip a big anxiety attack in the butt.

* Every morning I take some time to myself and mmeditate for 10 minutes. This helps me to focus on the day and just be present.

* As we all know, exercise is good for your health both physical and mental. Yoga is my choice of poison lol. I do it every other day because life gets crazy, so setting it up this way has helped me to stick to this routine.

* Eating healthy!! Look, I love my little treats like ccoffee ice cream πŸ˜‹ but, the saying is so true…We are what we eat. Making sure to balance your daily diet with all those good fruits, veggies and proteins is important. Eating a variety of foods and balanced portions will definitely help with your physical and mental health .

* Lastly, to help manage my social anxiety I purposely place myself in large social situations and I do this solo. For example, for the last few years now I go to at least one concert by myself. This has actually really helped me to learn how to be in larger crowds and not go into major anxiety attacks. I plan in my head how the night will go from Uber rides to getting any merch and finding my seat…and it helps. Everyone thinks I’m crazy to go to a concert solo, but I rock my little heart out and have an awesome time. In fact, I have a concert coming up in just a few weeks.

It is all about doing what works for you. Do you Boo!!

It’s also about knowing that you are NOT your Anxiety. Anxiety is NOT your life.

Any disorder is manageable.

All of us have some type of disorder.

Don’t fear the anxiety monster under your bed, study it and learn how to live with it.

“I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed…” -Eminem

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