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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Guest Post: My Anxious Reality

Madison Huffman of In Pursuit of DreamsSometimes, not often, but sometimes, there are more important things than travel in my life. Anxiety can be one of those things that swallows me up and makes it seem like it is the only thing that matters. Today's post is such a timely piece by a fellow blogger and new friend, Madison Huffman. Madison writes this amazing, inspirational blog called In Pursuit of Dreams. I look at her blog regularly for my dose of feel good and she has been kind enough to have me as a guest on her blog as well. I highly recommend you check her out. Just being on her page will make you feel better. In the meantime, please enjoy her story.

My Anxious Reality 
This feeling lurks behind every decision and trails me while I’m running my daily errands. It whispers at first, making everything seem just a little more difficult than usual and it grows into a shouting that shuts me down completely. Living with anxiety isn’t pretty and it can strike at the most inconvenient times. Even something as simple as making a doctor’s appointment can feel like an impossible feat. It took me a long time to come to terms with and become familiar with anxiety and how I could function during times of high stress. 
As those feelings became prevalent in my life, they began to impact how I lived. For a while I didn’t dare approach situations that made me uncomfortable or nervous because I couldn’t bare the thought of feeling that crippling emotion. I didn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night shaking, breaking out in a cold sweat, and feeling like I couldn’t breathe and that the world was crashing down around me. However, you can only be stuck inside a box for so long without wanting to break out. I craved freedom and the ability to live life unhindered. With growth came strength and knowledge of what ways kept me calm when I felt that inner turmoil. These were some of the tips that helped me along my journey of living with anxiety:
  1. Focus on your breathing. When I felt that panicked feeling growing, it always helped to sit down, close my eyes and focus on my breathing. Shifting my focus to something steady kept my mind from racing down an anxiety ridden path. Even if my anxiety attack was in full swing and my breathing was strained, it helped to focus on steadying it instead of allowing it to swing more out of control. 
  2. Don’t think of all your problems at once. Something I’m guilty of doing is spiraling downward if I have a lot of issues. It’s easy to let your mind jump from one problem to the next until they seem so big that it’s not possible for you to surmount them. So, before you add up all your problems into a list that’s too long, decide to tackle one thing at a time. Life tends to figure itself out, so don’t stress over what you can’t control.
  3. Explore your options. Try counseling even if you’re embarrassed about it. Chances are it’ll help you to talk things out more than you could’ve imagined. I went through counseling and it sped my progress along much more quickly than if I’d have stuck it out alone. If that’s not entirely effective and you still need more help, talk to your doctor about medication. You can start with the smallest dosage if you’re not super comfortable with taking medication, but if there’s a chance for reprieve, wouldn’t you take it? Don’t be afraid to look through the many options out there and find what’s best for you.
  4. Don’t shame yourself for your struggle. What gave me the most anxiety was feeling like I shouldn’t even have anxiety. When you realize what you’re feeling is valid, the load will seem a lot lighter.
The journey of discovering what works for you can be long and feel treacherous. Have faith even in the midst of your darkest, most overwhelming times that you can and will overcome everything before you. You don’t struggle alone, there are many people, including me, on the struggle bus with you. Trust your unique process and you’ll be well on your way to a thriving, successful life.
This was so helpful for me based on where I am in my life right now. Thank you so much, Madison. Once again, her blog is In Pursuit of Dreams and it's 100% worth checking out.

Safe Travels,