Monday Mantra: Seeing the Light

West Neck Beach - Long Island

What a difference a month makes. I’ve been keeping a little secret from you, my dear readers. It’s not that I didn’t want to share, but rather I didn’t know how. The last month has been a trying time for me, one filled with feelings I struggled to name.

You see, I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. And most of the time, I know what triggers it — a math exam, a long flight, a doctor’s appointment. Most of the time, my anxiety seems rational…at least to me. But for the last month, it was anything but. It consumed both my waking and sleeping hours, to the point where there weren’t many hours that I actually slept. I felt like a shell of the person I once was. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t eat. And the slightest thought would send me into tears. My anxiety was completely irrational…even to me.

My mind played tricks on me day and night. My head told my body that something was physically wrong with me. The funny thing about anxiety (is any part of it funny?), is that your mind can actually torture your body — if you let it. And I did.

Late night phone calls, texts, and Skype calls with friends and family helped. But it was only temporary. As soon as I was on my own again, the what-ifs started. No amount of meditation would make them stop. No amount of telling myself they were irrational quieted them. Come morning, I was groggy, and by nightfall I was wide awake. This pattern seemed like it was never going to end. And then, just like flicking a switch, it did. It stopped. Without any further action on my part, my mind gave up. Maybe it got tired. Maybe it thought the battle wasn’t worth it anymore. But nevertheless, it stopped. It quieted. And it went back to doing what the mind normally does — it wandered. It wandered onto better and more pleasant things.

If you’ve ever dealt with anxiety issues, perhaps you can relate to this. If you haven’t, you are lucky. The last month was probably the hardest month I’ve had in a while. Being unable to combat a demon is frightening. Having people not understand what you’re going through is even more terrifying. But the scariest part of the whole experience was how much influence your mind can have over your body. How anxiety can completely envelop your whole life. I had never experienced anything so severe — and I learned that I need to focus more on quieting my mind through meditation.

Over the weekend, I found myself sitting on the beach. As I watched the water, felt the breeze on my skin, and zoned out with the sound of each crashing wave, I saw this beam of light come though the overcast sky. To me, it was not only beautiful, but symbolic. Just as I had started to physically and mentally feel better, this ray of light emerged — almost as if to say this too shall pass. From that moment on, I decided I wouldn’t let anything dim that light.

Why do I tell you all this? Because we all have things that upset us, make us anxious, or keep us up at night. Some of us are better at keeping these feelings in check than others. For the last month I’ve felt as though my brain has had too many tabs open, but unwinding seemed impossible. I found my ten minutes of meditation each night before bed more akin to torture than relaxation. And just when it felt like these feelings would plague me forever, they stopped. I’m not sure why. And I’m not sure how.

For now, I am enjoying feeling like myself again, getting back to a regular sleeping pattern, and easing into a meditation routine. After the experience of the last month, feeling like myself is not something I will ever take for granted.

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29 comments

  1. I am so sorry to hear you have been battling with this! Anxiety is such a strong feeling, it really can take over. I am so happy to hear you are coming through it! This is such a great thing to share because you are definitely not alone in these feelings. I hope that you have a wonderful and peaceful week ahead. Thank you for sharing!

    xo Bryn
    http://www.waketonroad.com

  2. Thank you for opening up with us about this, Vanessa, because it is in fact relatable on so many levels and I’m sure many of your readers feel encouraged and can appreciate this, I do. Life is so overwhelming. I don’t want to say it can be because it IS. Now, more than ever, time feels as though it’s going faster and there’s always something that needs to get done. However, we must remind ourselves that since time is flying, we have to cherish the here right now because in a blink of an eye, it will become the past and we can never get that moment back. I, too, struggle with negative thoughts and the what if’s, so it’s always comforting to know that you’re not alone and to have someone else sharing words of encouragement. Let’s purpose to live in the now and remember that there are always two possibilities to the what if question, what if yes and what if no. We often focus on the what if no, but if we can direct our attention on the what if yes, I do believe that they’ll all come to pass because our thoughts determine our behaviors and we’ll just end up doing what needs to get done, without putting too much thought into it, that everything will fall into place 🙂 I hope I made sense, I feel like I kinda rambled, haha! I hope you have a wonderful Monday and week ahead, beauty!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Jalisa! It’s always good to know that I’m not alone, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate to anxiety issues. Life can get crazy fast — but I’m learning that I can’t stress over things that are out of my control. You’re so right about time passing quickly, and it’s important to cherish every moment. From here on out, I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy every second of summer! Hope your Monday was a good one!

    1. Thank you so much, Kathrine! I feel much better now — and I think the last month did make me a stronger person. I’m ready to enjoy the summer and cherish each moment of this beautiful weather. I love that beach photo, too. I’m thinking of blowing it up and hanging it in my home office.

  3. It’s good to hear you found your peace again. I’ve never had sever anxiety so i don’t know how it really feels, but for me when I’m down, sad, angry, anxious I feel the sea is always my therapy!

    XoXo,

    Tamra – loveofMode.com

  4. I totally, totally, totally feel you on this. Anxiety is very troubling, and similar to a spell of depression, you just need to ride it out. I’m really glad you’re coming out of it, because there is truly no better feeling then when you feel back to yourself. I went through something similar this year, it’s crippling.

    — Dara // http://www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

    1. Thanks, Dara! It’s good to talk to people who can relate — although I don’t wish anxiety on anyone. I’m really happy to be back to feeling like my old self. But the experience of the last month is not one I will soon forget. Glad you’ve come out of your anxiety spell as well. Let’s enjoy the summer, shall we?

  5. I do hope these troubles your feelings will soon fade away. I was feeling tlike this last winter. but I know there’s always something good will come my way. and to you too! try to distract yourself from thinking and feeling like this. I’m sure it will help 🙂
    thenewgirl.me

  6. Thank you so much for this post! I too experience anxiety and can completely relate to your struggle. Thank you for your openness and honesty in sharing your story.

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

  7. I can completely relate to this, as I have struggled with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life. Anxiety literally does feel like a demon you just can’t quite catch sight of and certainly can’t shake. It can turn an absolutely beautiful life into something that feels like a waking nightmare and no amount of trying to explain it to people can accurately explain what it feels like to be trapped under it. Thank you for sharing this with us…please know that there are a lot of us who can relate to how you are feeling! I’m so happy to hear that things are starting to feel better.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment and support, Kasie! I’m sorry you have struggled with this issue as well. You are absolutely correct in your assessment of anxiety — it really can make you feel like you are trapped. I’m very grateful to be feeling better now and am looking forward to enjoying the summer!

  8. Thanks for sharing such a powerful post. I think most of us have gone through a point of anxiety in some way in our life. But, the most important thing that I’ve learnt is to keep myself surrounded by positive people, as well as giving myself daily affirmations of encouragement. It’s difficult at times, but the words we speak have meaning, so I try to only speak positive. I hope you are getting better and wish you peace and a wonderful week. x/Madison
    I’m Back with Delicious Details!

    1. Thank you, Madison! Surrounding yourself with positive people is so important — especially when dealing with anxiety issues. I love quotes and affirmations, and that’s something that really helped me through this anxiety spell.

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