Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend?
Last month i shared my journey with anxiety and i was overwhelmed by the feedback you gave me. Wow! Not only did i feel that i had re-counted my story in the midst of the most encouraging of friends, but it was a gentle reminder that many around me are in different stages of their own walk with anxiety. I felt there was a conversation that started and in response want to take a day each month to keep it going! Like a little cyber coffee date, so to speak.
I wanted to talk a bit about the how i viewed myself in the midst of anxiety. When you talk about the stigma towards any mental health issue, well, i probably had a “stigma” t-shirt! For many years, my view was fairly black and white “Pull up your bootstraps and buck up”. And if you couldn’t, i probably needed to distance myself from you.
Pretty Extremely calloused and cold. When i found myself in the grips of anxiety, my past judgement presented a big problem. i realized that in great part, my detached and almost disdainful view came from a place of fear. I had, in effect, become my worst nightmare. Judgement.
I do realize that mental health is so very misunderstood by others (probably many fear based opinions as well) but one of my biggest obstacles to overcome was ME. That was tough. I wasn’t comfortable with ME. I was pretty convinced i was going crazy despite the assurances of Scott and those close to me. That, my friends, is an awful feeling. I felt everyone around me looked at me with the raised eyebrow. Again, perceived judgement.
But…if you remember i mentioned that now, some years down the road, i was glad that God had taken me down this path. In great part because, through some wise counselling, i slowly turned the corner in learning to accept myself. The fear i had towards myself began to shrink…and it opened my eyes to others around me. I think it’s in these experiences that we can learn to be more empathetic versus sympathetic. My mom sent me this awesome little clip. Isn’t the difference huge? People with empathetic spirits were pivotal in me judging myself less and i hope i can pass that along to those of you who need it too!
What am i getting at? I hesitate to say too much because, let’s be honest, i only know what i know from my experience. But i do know that working my way out of the “dark and stinky hole” (as my dad would refer to it) became possible once i could overcome my own negative and illogical feelings about myself! I’m still such a work in progress and when i see the red flags of anxiety going up, i have to get real with myself right away…like right away. The visual i was given was to think of anxiety, self doubt & depressing feelings like a snowball that starts at the top of the mountain. As the snowball rolls down, not only does it pick up speed, but it grows larger. Soon it’s travelling so fast and is so big that there’s no stopping it. UNLESS i could pick up a “stake” and visually spike it into the side of that mountain and stop the snowball in its tracks. That’s the picture i have in my head as i stop the self doubt and negative self talk right away. If i feel too in over my head, i’m thankful that Scott is my bouncer to this no self judgement club.
Does this resonate with you? Do you feel at times that you are your worst enemy? My challenge to you this week is to be gentle on yourself….and don’t be afraid to pick up the stake. It’s yours for the taking. Thanks for listening. Wishing you all a week full of peace xo