When I had my first experience of anxiety I was petrified. Having anxiety on top of the scariness didn’t help either but what I was really scared about was that I didn’t know what was happening to me…had this ever happened to anyone else? What was wrong with me… I remember that’s when a dear friend of mine asked a friend of hers to contact me. That’s when I met Janet. She had travelled this journey before me and she generously gave me her time to gently and lovingly guide me through a very challenging time in my life. She understood! My family and friends were unbelievably supportive but because they’d never experienced something like this before they were unable to understand what I was really going through but Janet was happy to be open and honest about her own journey and that helped immensely with my own healing process.
The sad thing is that a lot of people go through this journey alone as they feel like they’re failing or don’t understand what’s happening to them so they don’t talk about it. I have always wanted to talk about my own struggle and journey and try and add a little reassurance to someone who may be feeling totally overwhelmed by what they’re experiencing. It’s very real! I remember all I wanted to know was that I was going to be okay…my encouragement is to try and talk to someone about it – a great help for me has been talking honestly to my husband and those close to me, with them just listening, not judging but just listening and not trying to fix me, just being there.
I’ve included a few little nuggets of information that made a difference to me during my healing as well as a few practical things…
- This is NOT the new you, you won’t always feel this way.
- Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.
- Focus on today, that’s all you need to do.
- Just because today may be tough doesn’t mean that tomorrow will be the same.
- Stay hydrated! Drink loads of water and if you make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, take time making it and really enjoy it.
- Yes, you are and will always be enough.
- You are a strong person, remember that; you are loved.
- Little things I do when I’m feeling at a loss is maybe tidy a drawer, colour in, listen to music, write in my journal, go for a walk or weed a flower bed, just something to keep my mind occupied but not in a stressful manner.
- You will get through this!
- Be gentle to yourself; don’t try to ‘fix’ yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable.
- Start a gratitude journal, even if you write down one thing a day.
- Ask yourself ‘What is the meaning of my anxiety / depression, NOT why am I depressed’?
- Listen to yourself less and learn to talk to yourself more.
- Pace yourself; when you have a good day, enjoy it but don’t overdo things.
- Read the Psalms and hang onto God’s promises.
- There’s nothing to feel ashamed about; this is definitely NOT a weakness.
- Try and set up a time to walk with a friend – you could even add in a coffee stop – or just around the block, whatever you feel up to that day.
- A friend shared these words with me and I really took them to heart…
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.