I’ve been slacking in this whole writing thing lately. It’s probably because I have been busy, but I also believe that I was subconsciously conducting an experiment. I wanted to see if the fact that I’m writing about my struggles exacerbates my struggles or if it helps me. Inside my lovely brain, I kept going back and forth on it. I think I use to continually think of things I could write about and share with others. I focused so much on my anxiety and depression that I could often overlook other pieces of awesomeness in my life.
I not only found this true with writing, but also with just my life in general. If I focused on my anxiety and depression, I was more likely to feel the effects of it. The other week I went rock climbing at the Gunks in New Paltz, NY. My partner and I did a three pitch climb. I was nervous going into to it. When we got to the climb, a pretty easy one, people came up behind us to do it right after us. So when I started doing one pitch, the guy from the group behind us started doing it shortly after me. I was anxious about being anxious. I was anxious about taking too long. I was anxious about looking stupid. But I kind of just ended up doing it. So even with a group of 3 men climbing right behind me, I handled the first 2 pitches pretty well. Then came the third pitch – which ended up being a waterfall. That was terrifying. There was one part when I just didn’t think I could do it, but then I did. I was prepared to be anxious, but I was trying really hard not to concentrate on it, because then I would have grown frozen.
I feel as if that type of thing happens often. I didn’t think I could do it, but then I do. Or anxiety and depression would stop me from doing something I was capable of doing. When I made it to the top climb, it was time to rappel. Which is when you connect to the rope and lower yourself to the ground. Usually, your feet touch the rock to give you a sense of grounding, however with this one you ended being in mid-air. I wasn’t warned about this. But I was glad, I wasn’t informed about it. If I were warned about it, it would have been terrifying just preparing to do it. I wouldn’t have thought I could do it. But when I just ended up in the air going down, it was pretty freaking awesome. Was I scared? Oh yes. But it was also really fun. It felt awesome doing that. But anxiety would have destroyed it for me if I knew about it beforehand. It would have created an illogical sense of fear – even though I would still be perfectly safe. It’s such a delicate game. And I am still not sure that I know the rules.
That delicate game is balancing my anxiety and depression. Sometimes, my anxiety can help me prepare for different scenarios so I can be ready. I can plan before things go wrong so I can be prepared for when they go array. But then I can also end up planning for situations that have almost no chance of actually happening. These slim chance scenarios can end up constantly running through my head if I’m not careful.
So for the past month or so, I have been trying really hard to be aware of it. Not just of when it is happening, but by being mindful of when it is helpful or hurtful. When is it too much anxiety? When am I worrying too much? When is planning ahead no longer helpful? When is focusing on my anxiety and depression only making it worse? When is succumbing to my depression and staying in useful or when is it just trapping me?
I am still not great at it, but I believe I am improving. I think that everyone is different when it comes to this. And it’s not always easy to chose not to focus on it or succumb to it. It’s not always easy to not let anxiety and depression be in control of you in certain moments. It’s not always easy to be okay with what you are feeling. Like I said, it’s a delicate game, and I am still learning the rules.
Products to Help You Become More Aware About Your Anxiety and Depression
This list includes affiliate links. If you purchase a product from this list, I receive a small portion of the proceeds.
- Moleskine Classic Notebook Large (5 x 8.25″), Dotted Pages, Underwater Blue, Soft Cover Notebook for Writing, Sketching, Journals – this is just like my journal. I keep track of I am handling my anxiety and depression each day. I reflect. I try to understand what helped and hurt my time.
- De-Stress Essential Oil Blend Roll-On 10 ml – I use these often. When I know I am about to feel anxiety about things, I roll this and smell it. It grounds me. It helps me be aware about how anxiety and depression may be affecting me in that moment.
- I Am Here Now: A Creative Mindfulness Guide and Journal – this journal is full of activities to help bring you back to the present moment. I would often use this journal, when I was first trying to become more aware about my anxiety and depression and learning how to keep doing things anyway.