First, I want to say thank you to everyone who reached out or commented on my last post. It was absolutely one of the more emotional ones I’ve written lately but by far one of my favorites. I’m still so happy he has found the perfect home. Now, it’s back to just my three little monsters and our little routine.
Onto a super uplifting topic… anxiety! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I have been fairly open about my anxiety. Obviously writing about it helps me process all my emotions, but I also hope to erase the stigma around mental health. So, today, I figured I’d share what’s been going on and how I’ve been working through it.
In general, my anxiety is manageable in my daily life. I don’t take medications but I see a therapist every two to three weeks to check in and process my thoughts together. I’ve been in therapy since I was in college and have really found it a valuable resource. I tell you this because I’ve never felt like my anxiety has been unmanageable until recently.
In January, there was a lot going on in my life. The rescue community was a tough place, my job was going through a major transition, and my brother needed to have (minor) surgery. All of this came to a head at the end of January when I had a panic attack.
I hadn’t had a panic attack in a very long time. The last time I had one, I was swimming in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and my phobia of open water took hold of me to the point where I felt as though I was going to drown. It was terrifying but it made me aware of what a panic attack feels like.
When I had my most recent attack, I knew what was happening as it was happening. For that, I am thankful. My breathing was becoming short and rapid, my chest was tight, and there was an overwhelming sense of dread. I was paralyzed with fear. Luckily, my husband was home and I was able to tell him what was happening as it was occurring. While it didn’t lessen the pain, it certainly made me more comfortable having someone around.
After the attack passed, I knew I needed to make some small, but important changes. I am absolutely not a certified clinician or qualified to give any kind of advice, but here is what really helped me.
I took a break from social media, most notably, Facebook. It was becoming a source of stress that was so unnecessary. I believe in getting rid of things that are not serving you, and Facebook was not serving me anything but stress. Once I stopped reading posts, I felt a lot better. I was able to focus on things I needed to do.
Have Safe Friends
I have a handful of friends that I know will be there for me no matter what. They are a safe place for me to unload and help me sort through my feelings. I relied heavily upon them for a few weeks and they would kindly check in with me.
For some, this is a release, but for me, drinking was adding to my anxiety. Plus, if I drank, I wouldn’t be able to sleep well. I cut back on my drinking at first, drinking less often and lesser amounts. More recently, I stopped drinking altogether, to give myself a little bit of a reset. It’s been refreshing and I’ve found myself considerably less stressed.
Drink more water:
My good friend actually gifted me a water bottle to encourage me to drink more water. At first, I was skeptical and to be honest I hate drinking water. I don’t like the way it tastes (yes water has a taste) nor do I like making multiple trips within the hour. However, when I read about all the benefits of water, especially that it can help with stress, I started to accept her advice and up my intake. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m definitely doing a better job with my fluids.
Buy a weighted blanket:
This is certainly a luxury item that I am aware not everyone may be able to afford, but I would be remiss without mentioning it. I absolutely love this blanket. While there’s no scientific evidence that these blankets work, the anecdotal evidence is compelling. People swear by them and so do I. Since purchasing the blanket, I sleep better at night and I am more well rested. It calms me down and it has provided much stress relief.
Thank you to everyone who was there for me during this tough time. I really, truly appreciate it. I’d gladly return the favor.
Clyde – This eight year old handsome man is Clyde and he’s a lowkey dude who just wants to cuddle with you. While he may have cataracts in one eye, it’s certainly not slowing him down. Clyde is available for adoption through Wags & Walks, for more information, click here.
You know how much I love The Gentle Pit so when I was out in LA we made sure to shoot together. They recently launched a line of joggers and sweatshirts that say “love” on them with a little paw print. I am obsessed and they are so comfortable. You can check out the entire line here.