I wish that I could say, that everything that happens to me doesn't have to feel so impactful. You know the saying that our parents use to tell us, "Just Shake it Off." I wish that was true , and I wish I could.
The truth is about a two years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, with a pounding heart, sweating shaking and the fear of dying. I didn't know right then, but I experienced my very first panic attack. It emotionally not only drained me, but scared me. I was so scared that I ended up scheduling a cardiology appointment to check my heart as I was convinced I was dying. (I am not dying, my results came back normal. ).
In my life I call these moments WTF. I say that, because I find myself so stressed out, with my mind racing that I tend to overthink, over analyze , create scenarios and drive myself crazy to the point when it is all said and done I say WTF.
I realized that I needed help, so I booked a session with a psychiatrist, who told me that I have emotional OCD. WTF. Meaning my mind has a way of processing and setting everything together, and when something goes out of place, my mind goes bonkers- pretty wild.
While working with my psychiatrist I understood that even the slightest bit of trauma that we have when we are young can set us up for life, how we react when we are young to not getting picked at the playground, to experiencing bonding issues with our families, it sets the course on us as we venture in life- Heavy.. I know.. but makes sense .
I tried taking medication, and it worked, but I don't want to be pill dependent , so I set out to try my best to fix myself, and I thought to myself why not share what I learned (still learning).
1. Moderate/ Or No Booze- Listen I am the first one to say when I made this rule, I realized how much it sucked. I love wine, I love titos, I love a boozy brunch. If you are like me one is never enough, you have to keep going, and with that I found that most of WTF moments were connected to drinking. I mean seriously, once I cut it out , and stopped most of my anxiety the next day or "hanganxiety", simply left. I didn't have to worry about what I said, or who I said it to, if I cried, if I was fighting, and to me that meant the world. Trust me I could fill your eyes and ears with tons of stories of my life being disheveled and down in the dumps because of drinking----- so I don't know try it... The rules are different for everyone, but being sober should be normalized. The other side is not bad it's good, and now I have good WTF moments.
2. Social media is a scam. I am serious. Look, everyone carries trauma (Hello, my psychiatrist told me this). I have a friend who post everything I mean everything to the lettuce she buys at the store, her life looks perfect her kids her husband looks perfect and it makes me feel like crap sometimes (especially because I am struggling with infertility, but that's another article). It's not real. I recently found out that her husband works over 90+ a week to provide the life that she posts. I know this because I asked another friend who said yes it's annoying but that's her way of showing the world her view.
What I am getting at is, don't judge anyone's life to yours. You have to be comfortable in your journey. Self Esteem, Confidence and Positive Body Image, Positive outlook on life is so important for our mental health. Mental Health Matters, try to limit your social media screen time to at least one hour a day. Try to remove yourself from world that isn't real.
3. Stop Explaining Yourself, Say What You Mean & Set Boundaries This one is tough. Really tough for me, I am a people pleaser to the core. For Christmas I give the best gifts, and I pride myself on doing for others. I realized that when I stopped checking in and checking up, I had about two people I could truly relay ono and that is not counting my mom, and husband. Reality check, people do not appreciate or treat things the way you treat and respect the things you do. Read that again. What you do, how you respond to a friendship will never be one hundred percent given back the same way. So Stop.
Do the things that you want to do. Set the boundaries, if you don't want to go out don't go, and practice saying I don't want to go. We give so many explanations on why we don't want to do things, and the truth is no one cares but we work ourselves up to think that someone is going to be mad or hurt or disappointed, they won't. Challenge yourself to just be honest, say no and move on. This type of practice takes work, but now my friends know me as resting Mary, because I chose to go when I want, where and what I want to do with my time is on me. I don't feel guilty, and you shouldn't either.
4. Pick a hobby or exercise for 30 minutes and stick with it. Half of the time I have become a baker, a painter, at one point I tried to convince my husband I could be a spin instructor. Why !!! Enter my brain (applause) when it sets on something it really sets on something and I go on and on for days, I try to get off it, but I can't. I learned that we need to move, or focus on something in order for my anxiety and OCD to calm down, because if I am not working, or doing something my brain wanders, and we all know where we are going- Scenario Land! For me spinning and working out is great outlet! I am so tired that my brain is tired too. It helps me just to slow down, but I also started painting with numbers and that helps me also focus on one thing at a time.
Change, and behavior change is good. It's hard to retrain your brain, but the bad WTF moments will move on to Normal WTF moments to Good Great WTF moments if you learn to figure out what triggers you mentally.
Don't Forget to Breath.