Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Anxiety and Pole

I've been wanting to make a blog post about anxiety for awhile now but I had so many questions running through my head: can anyone relate? What do I write about? Why is this topic important?

Anxiety happens. Depression happens. Everyone experiences anxiety or depression many times throughout their lives, some people are just more open to talking about it than others and sometimes, anxiety and depression last longer in some people more than others. It happens and it's ok.

I've spent the last four years taking low dose Zoloft for anxiety and depression. I started taking it after having my first child because I was experiencing symptoms of post-partum depression. Upon starting to take the medication, I realized I needed it long before I ever started taking it. Starting at a very young age, I struggled with feelings of being unwanted, unloved and unwelcome. I dealt with some abandonment as a young child and this affected me a great deal. I dealt with some self-destructive behaviors from the age of 14 until I met my husband at 24. Needless to say, I knew for a long time that I had anxiety and depression, however, both those topics are very taboo and often not talked about. Why?

About four or five months ago, I decided I no longer wanted to be medicated. I didn't want my feelings to be suppressed anymore. I hate feeling anxious and sad but I hated the side effects of my medication even more; lethargy, irritability, not feeling anything, just to name a few. So I stopped taking it. And it sucked. So bad. My body went through withdrawals, I was lightheaded and dizzy and irritable. Once those withdrawal symptoms subsided, I felt different. I was awake. I had energy again and I had feelings again. I liked this. I felt alright.

And then those feelings started coming back. I began having anxiety attacks more frequently and hating everything. I wasn't crying like I used to but I wasn't happy. I needed to fix this. Just like with anything else, mental health is important and treatable without the use of medication. I refused to go back on medication.

I started by changing my diet. I quit eating meat on a regular basis, I started drinking more water, eating more veggies. I also added more activity to my day in order to take care of myself. Doing more pole was a huge addition to taking care of my mental health. I'm happy when I pole, when I feel like I'm accomplishing something and I feel strong. I also added yoga to my practice not only to cross train and help my flexibility but to also help me be more in control of my actions and my thinking. Yoga helps me be present and aware of my body, it's a new challenge, this being present but it's good.

When you consider your feelings and why you feel the way you do and then you decide to consciously change them, you do better and you feel better. It's hard. It's really hard to get out of your head when you're feeling anxious or depressed but once you decide to look at your feelings and why they're happening, it's a little easier to change them. Take things moment by moment, smaller goals are easier to accomplish than huge goals.