Tag Archives: life

The Challenge

The importance of challenging ourselves, even when anxiety is at its worst. We all know that feeling, of an intrusive thought coming in you try to get ignore it but it just gets louder and louder and louder, like an alarm clock that wont turn off. You try your best to not listen to the alarm, but eventually you snap and want to break the alarm clock to stop the incessant beeping. Unfortunately, you can’t just turn off thoughts, or break them and the more you try not listening to them the worse they get. The solution to these thoughts seems backwards, but welcoming and accepting the thoughts actually helps relieve the anxiety being felt.

For example:

Say you have a thought that something terrible is going to happen, you keep playing scenarios out in your head the plot always ends in a horrible terrible outcome. You become so engrossed that your heart starts to beat so fast, you begin to tremble, maybe you carry out compulsions to try and relive your anxiety and before you know it you are having a full fledged panic attack. You try so hard to ignore the thoughts, you might pray, cry or beg them to stop but they just become worse and worse, until you are on the floor trembling in fear. Eventually the panic attack subsides, and your anxiety calms down, until the next intrusive thought enters and the cycle starts up all over again. Now let’s go over this same exact situation but try a different approach, the intrusive thought comes in but this time you allow it in, you even welcome it in, this time you acknowledge its presence and you do not react. The key thing here is not reacting, no matter how intense, no matter how awful the outcome your mind is presenting you. You DON’T react, it might seem so scary, but being brave and allowing yourself to feel the anxiety come on and not fight it will prove to your brain that there is nothing to actually be afraid of. Overtime the more we react to a thought, the more our brain becomes hardwired to think that we need to be afraid of that thought, and the more that thought pops up starting a never ending cycle of fear and anxiety. The moment we decide to let go, and not be afraid of our thoughts, and allow them to be present without reacting no matter how painful resisting the urge of wanting to just completely give in and freak out (like breaking the alarm clock) is worth enduring the temporary pain for the long term benefits. This will help reverse the ingrained fear response. How to do this? It is much easier said then done, the suffocation and intense fear can be so consuming it sounds terrifying to have to sit alone and welcome the anxiety in, but the less you react the quicker the thought gets bored and leaves – you are not providing any energy to fuel the thought. Lets go back to the analogy of an alarm clock, the alarm clock is beeping this time you welcome the alarm clock in, you don’t react and you even accept the uncertainty of not knowing if the alarm clock will ever stop beeping. You are not resisting it and you are not trying to ignore it, you simply are okay with having the alarm noise apart of your life. Overtime you have become so comfortable with having the noise in the background it gets quieter and quieter, you even forget it is there at times. That is the goal with intrusive thoughts, you have to accept the uncertainty and be okay no matter how intense or horrible the thoughts & feelings being presented to you are, even if your mind tells you that you are wrong to be okay with the thought because something BAD is going to happen!!! Try your hardest to resist the urge to react, think about all the times you have been through this and nothing bad ever happened, take that risk even just once, it will be worth it. Think about all the time you gave in to its demands and the time and energy and pain it has caused you, and again NOTHING bad happened….anxiety is a monster and it may never go away but you can learn to coexist with horrible a roommate.

 

 

 

Eighteen

I wanted to share a beautiful piece my younger sister wrote. She too has struggled with anxiety, and this year in particular has been extremely challenging for her, as she tried to navigate life after high school. At the age of only 18 we are somehow supposed to know what we want to do for the rest of our life, and what path we must take to get there…please enjoy my sisters beautiful words.
Eighteen
By Gabrielle:
This is something I’m writing on the spot, as these words flow through my head, it might not make sense or mean anything and jump from one point to the other but I hope you enjoy it
I took a year off this year, I took a year off and I learnt so much about myself, in more ways than I could have ever imagined- lots people frown upon gap years and such behaviour, but as a “honour student”, “valedictorian”, “leadership activist” if those prestigious, meaningless labels even meant something than I probably wouldn’t be writing this; People seem so perfect and posh, life is complicated and why can’t it be? I needed time to figure out my life… because the truth that so very few of us will admit is that we have no idea what we are doing in our life, we have no clue what we want from this strange world! And we are so afraid of being “wrong” and being imperfect that we place so much pressure on ourselves to become this person so far from who we truly are… that we don’t even recognize ourselves. We live each day with these constant expectations, this checklist that we must succumb to, these obligations, this “perfect life” when in reality we are all walking around dealing with life as it comes, because the truth is life is hard- we are dealing with our own problems, our own battles and making decisions that determine our “future”, and I say that in quotations because our future is yet to be determined- when I was in Australia one practice I hold so dear to my heart is this idea that you only have right this second, you can’t control yesterday or what is to come! You can plan the shit out of your life and make this agenda of your daily life events, but I can promise you life is unpredictable! Go back to a two weeks ago, when you were stressed about that thing you never thought you would ever make it through… now fast forward to the present, isn’t it amazing that you survived! Haha, you as a human being are an incredible species and all I have wanted is to inspire and motivate individuals to be happy, but you can’t teach people how to be happy it’s a skill someone must learn on their own! My dad always use to say to me, “your face looks ugly when you’re sad” and I use to get deeply offended, but as I have grown and matured I realized wow that is so true, it feels so good to smile and to laugh! When has laughing after been a painful experience? When you feel good, you look good! when you embrace the very essence of who you’re as a person you are more in control of yourself and your life! And I have noticed that by being okay with the unknown and living so freely in the moment without this perfect picture of my life ahead, sure I have goals as do we all, but Im not this perfect person, I am weird and ridiculously passionate, and extroverted and talkative but i love who I am because these are the things that make me who I am… I share pieces of my story with you all in hopes that you’ll feel inspired- deep down I think we all have a vocation, a passion that bubbles in our blood- a light that exudes off  of our skin, so powerful that being without it is truly like attempting to breathe without air… it’s impossible. I think that if we turn our backs on what we truly want in life and our dreams we are already setting our selves up for failure, a life fulfilled by materialism an a vicious cyclic void of deep pitted emptiness.
I think, in the little wisdom that I have gathered in my 18 years of life I have come to find that happiness is an essential part of of life- and I truly think happiness is extremely maintainable and attainable,
Being happy isn’t as complicated as people make it sound- it’s actually quite simple, when you do things you love you’re naturally a happier person, when you do things you don’t enjoy you’re unhappy-
People tell me, but Gabby, You don’t understand its a lot more complicated than that, I have no motivation to be happy-
These people are the type of people who are so afraid of their mind, and allow their thoughts to manifest and take over who they are as a person that they become so incapable of producing happy thoughts, because their mind has so much power over them- “gabby, you spam so much on istagram and write so many pointless things that no one reads”, instead of getting upset and sad and living in this vicious victim state I say I don’t  care tiny voice in my head because I love sharing my thoughts on life, I don’t care if people take something or absolutely nothing from  it because I wanted to write this
Another thing is reminding yourself to be motivated and ambitious, your motivation could be small things, the great little things that you enjoy or look forward to everyday! Like for me I love watching the sunset, or just looking at the sky…  when your allow yourself to feel good and take it in your body thanks you for that 🙂 it’s not a coincidence that we get sick when we are stressed… when it comes to life doing the things that make you happy, choosing a career path (even if it seems extremely impossible to do what you love- SO?? If you don’t who will?!) that makes you feel excited and brings joy to you is important for your own wellbeing!
I can’t stress how many times I have seen people forget that each day is a blessing- when I say people are facing their own battles each day it’s true… I have been blessed with an opportunity that allowed me to view life in a way of greatness and opportunity, rather than “what the world owes me”… I constantly would sit around waiting for signs and something to guide me in the direction I’m suppose to be in! Because I wished so badly to have some sort of control over my life and answers! Have a sense of direction- but when I started to be faced with certain challenges in my life I started to realize holy hell, life is a blessing and I’m grateful for even existing, I’m grateful to be able to travel, and see the world and to have my family and friends and to educate myself and stay humble and have the opportunity to take the steps towards fulfilling my dreams and reaching my goals…
I believe in empowerment and that humans can inspire each other in thousands of different ways and I truly believe that we are so capable of anything in this world- taking a year off was the best decision I have made in my life, and I am proud of the person I have become as I transition through the various phases of my life; through this all I was afraid, felt useless and allowed the fear within me to take over, but I persevered and created myself this year, built my life and have continued to throw bricks on my back to build the roof over my head. I have embraced who I am, and I accept who I am in my story and I have learnt to love and forgive and show sympathy and empathy for those around me. I have learnt not to judge- for I don’t know other people stories and their experiences, and I’m not entitled to attempt to understand who they are… people are complicated, life is complicated and we are all just finding our way day by day.
If you take anything from this, I hope it is this:
I hope you remind yourself that you’re an amazing person, whether you don’t agree with it, we all make mistakes, we are all weird and emotional and have flaws and are different but we have our own deep rooted aspirations and if you don’t go after that- for your self no one will for you!
Do what you love and inspire those Around you, life is meant to be lived ❤