Positively Anxious

Full disclosure, I’m going to get back into the anxiety piece of my life. Just putting that out there for anyone who’s not big on reading about that aspect of who I am. 🙂

My specific diagnosis is generalized anxiety disorder with panic disorder and mild depression. And the thing my brain does with that little bit of a mess is something my therapist referred to as “catastrophizing.”

Doesn’t even sound like a word, does it? It means to imagine the worst possible outcome of an action or event.

It used to be the highlight of my nightmares – very end of the world stuff with mass bombings or reoccuring dreams of being trapped in a dark maze-like building with starving velociraptors. I say used to because the meds I’m currently taking have almost completely stopped the nightmares or have at least toned them down to the point that I can’t remember them with the vivid clarity I once did.

Thinking that way, even unconsciously makes it incredibly difficult to be positive. It’s a daily struggle for me, especially when put in unpredictable and chaotic environments that tend to ramp up my anxiety.

Lately, I’ve felt like my negativity is pushing people I know, people I’m friends with, away from me. Now, this could be the way the anxiety is turning it in my head, it could be the truth of the matter. Either way, my negativity has become something I’m very uncomfortably aware of.

It’s become something I really want to change.

Summer break is helping out that whole mindset a great deal. I’ve been out hiking with my kiddos, spent two gratifying hours mowing my lawn, sat in front of the fire pit with coffee doing absolutely nothing but enjoying the space we have. And you all know that I bullet journal. Having that tool for scheduling, habit tracking and to-do lists has truly helped the anxiety.

But I feel it’s necessary to take it further.

I started looking for books on mindfulness, positive thinking, manifesting your destiny. A woman I’ve been truly blessed to work with in the school setting has her own side business as a Mindset Coach for Freely and Authentically ME! (@FreelyAuthenticallyME on FaceBook).

She immersed herself in doing everything with purpose and positivity. To work with her and see the steps she’s made towards self-improvement has been inspiring to say the very least. And her live videos are candid, hilariously honest and just really spark inspiration.

Even without having hired her as a wellness coach, she’s provided me a much clearer outlook with where I’d rather be in my life.

Of course, there are those days when she makes a post on positive outlooks and it happens to be on a day when we’re both running on empty. Those are some of my favorite days. Even on those days when her tank is low, she’s still pushing for that positive outlook on life.

I would rather be that way than stuck in this cycle of negativity.
But there’s something I understand about it. Something a lot of people who struggle with anxiety understand about it.

It’s very difficult to be positive when you’re struggling to reset your brain every single day.

Is it possible?

Of course it is.

Do you have to work harder than those not struggling with anxiety or depression?

Yeah…you’ll have to work a LOT harder.

I can’t speak for others with anxiety or depression. I can only speak for myself. And sometimes knowing that it’s going to be harder for me than it would be if I just didn’t think the way I did is half the battle.

Sometimes feeling cut off from people or dropped by people for something you wish you could control adds to feeling like you’re fighting a losing battle. Or seeing posts about surrounding yourself with positive people and feeling hurt because you know you’re not one of those positive people.

Every moment that should offer a chance to switch my mood and thinking can quickly be turned into a moment where I just feel even more defeated than before.

And finding those people who are supportive, understanding and patient is tricky. Holy is it ever tricky. I feel truly blessed to know the people I do in my current situation – women who are ferociously supportive, feisty, understanding and know that even on your best days, you might need an extra push to find the positive.

My tribe is small, but they are truly amazing women who encourage me every day.

If my struggles are familiar to you…find that tribe.

I’m still on my journey to more positive thinking and I’ll let you know how that goes. I feel like it’ll be a lot easier over the summer than during the school year as long as I can keep myself motivated and fight to find the positive in every single day.

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