Did you know that we, as women, from the time we hit puberty until menopause, are over twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men??
With anxiety being the most common mental/emotional disorder globally, it has slowly become more and more publicly discussed and accepted. We joke about our Xanax prescriptions and maybe even post publicly about social anxieties surrounding certain events— but what happens when our anxieties don’t come out in the ‘humorous, authentic and almost charmingly vulnerable’ way that Instagram accepts?
What happens when our anxieties aren’t so understandable? What happens when we cannot even recognize it ourselves?
Sometimes, as a survival mechanism, we end up unknowingly targeting our anxieties at anything but the thing that’s actually stressing us out. We start fights with our S.O., we blame our mom for being passive aggressive—— or sometimes we binge eat or work out compulsively, or some other tumultuous habit so we can turn our anxieties inward.
Basically, we avoid dealing with the greater issue at the expense of our emotional, relational, and physical health… and we do this quite often!
While I may think that I am a fairly self aware person, I still have these same issues, too! Something I have realized recently is that I distract myself with a project or add a new goal in my life that I can project my anxiety on. I tell myself ‘no, its not that deep rooted insecurity that’s stressing me out— its my job! My relationship! Wedding planning!’ Or sometimes I tell myself ‘its my body. It’s how I was eating last week. No, it’s actually my personality I need to work on— go read Girl, Wash Your Face one more time and work on some personal growth.’
Sometimes, I truly think that I am getting to the heart of my anxieties by working so hard on self improvement and health… But there is only so much growth you can do when your foundation is cracked! By leaning in to my anxieties and truly following them down the rabbit hole into the most hidden and protected part of my emotions, I have made some big realizations this past week.
When you can distinguish the difference between who you are and who your anxiety is telling you to be, you can find the root cause of your anxiety in the difference between the two.
Health is important, self growth is important! All these projects and goals that I commit my time to are (you guessed it) important! These tangible things that I project my anxiety on to are definitely valid sources of stress--- just not the intensity of stress that I am projecting on to them. This season of life that I'm in has a lot of change and confusion, but it should not be upending my sense of self worth and identity, or making me question every move I make and every interaction I have like true, capital 'A' Anxiety can. It is time for a deep dive into my foundation to find the origin of my anxiety experience.
While anxiety is a real disorder and a very valid struggle that many of us deal with on a daily basis, it doesn’t deserve the power that we give it!
It is extremely challenging to break down our defense mechanisms and work through to the root of the issue, BUT living day to day blaming ourselves and others for our anxiety, then blaming that anxiety for our destroyed relationships and experiences, is WAY worse!
Anxiety is a sympathetic response, triggering that ‘fight or flight’ kick of hormones as if we were being chased by a lion. Since I am a strong believer that our body’s responses and reactions are always trying to tell us something, I think the important question has to be asked:
What is the lion that you’re running from?
If this is stirring some things up for you, or maybe you’re wondering how to uncover the root of your anxiety, then girl, I got you! While I am not a therapist, I am an ICF Certified Life Coach and am here to help you break the cycle of bad habits and poor coping strategies! I want to offer you that tangible support you need, and provide concrete ways of making those hard changes.
You don't have to do it alone! Let’s talk, that’s what I’m here for.