While writing this, I’m laying down in my backyard, I just finished doing a little yoga, and I’m a bit sad because my best friends just left and are heading back home to LA after spending an amazing couple of days with me, here in Sacramento. An airplane just flew over my head, which reminds me...that’s going to be me pretty soon. Flying through the sky, over the US, stopping in Iceland and then heading to Ireland. I also just realized that there is only one letter difference between those two countries names. How strange.
Anyway, after my friends left, I had a bit of a breakthrough and epiphany about my anxiety.
I. Am. Ready.
After spending two days roaming around the capital city, driving through crazy downtown, popping in and out of stores, and just being away from my safe zones for two days, I realized that I am truly capable of living my life without being ruled by anxiety. I’m finally able to really be excited for this new chapter and I’m oddly simply nervous to say that I actually feel ready to take it on.
If you had asked me about this trip a few months ago and probably even at the beginning of this month, I most likely would’ve lied to you and told you that I was excited and eager. The real truth is that I was terrified. There was a point (okay, there were *many* points) when I wanted to call the entire thing off. I didn’t believe that I could do it, I didn’t believe I was prepared enough, I didn’t think I’d be okay because I was just so scared & my anxiety was seemingly relentless. I still am scared and I still have anxiety, but the difference now is that I’ve got a new sense of confidence with myself and how to handle my anxiety. By no means is my anxiety gone but I understand it better now and I’ve stopped fearing it (for the most part).
This summer, I’ve made it my mission to master my anxiety because no matter how scared I was, I knew that I could never and would never cancel my semester abroad. This I knew for a few reasons.
One, because truthfully I just could not let anybody down. It may sound a little bad, but honestly, the embarrassment of disappointing everyone who knew I was going to go and who was so excited for me would’ve really sucked and would’ve been hard to deal with. I know eventually they would’ve gotten over it and they would understand my reasoning why, but the embarrassment would still stand for me.
Secondly, I ain’t no quitter. I see things through to the finish and I was not going to let my anxiety cause me the biggest regret of my life.
And lastly, I just couldn’t let myself down and let anxiety defeat me (again). I knew that if I let my anxiety keep me from getting my degree, not only would I not have my Masters and would therefore, have to figure out a new path in life and a new career plan for future Sahara, but it would have defeated and taken back all of the progress I’ve made in my mental health throughout the summer! I was done letting anxiety dictate what I can and can’t do!
Through my experiences with and in my studies of anxiety, I’ve learned that anxiety feeds off of your fears. It thrives on you being too scared of it to do your task, go outside, jump on that flight and basically live your life. Anxiety wants you to stay and live in your own little safe bubble because it thinks it’s protecting you, when the only thing is really doing is keeping you from living your best life.
So, I knew that if I canceled my time abroad I would be letting anxiety have its way, roll me, and overpower me. I knew that if I let anxiety have this win and keep me from going to Ireland, it would be 100 times harder for me to ever get control of my life back.
I needed to break my cycle of fear and stop letting anxiety keep me from gaining new experiences and miss out on all of the amazing opportunities I’ve got coming my way.
Now, I definitely still have anxiety, especially about living out of the country for a little while, but I’m going to throw my anxiety into my luggage and it’s just going to have to hang out there and deal with me living my life. Although it scares me, I would much rather live my life and get my Masters and risk my anxiety coming with me to Ireland, than suffer with regret and anxiety in my so called “safe zone” at home.
My anxiety has already taken eight months of this year away for me and I’ve had enough. I’ve taken the classes, read the books, talked to the experts and professionals and I know exactly what anxiety is and does to me. I got the best and biggest Anxiety Battling Took Kit (metaphorically speaking) that I could’ve ever created or found. I got the support in so many forms to back me up and love me when I have setbacks. And, most importantly, I now have the confidence to Expect and Accept those setbacks and not let them defeat me.
As my therapist told me in our final session before my trip, “ Anxiety caught you off guard the first time. If knocked you on your butt because you were unprepared, unsure, confused and scared. But now, you know what to expect from anxiety. You know the faces of anxiety and you can recognize it and shut it down. With all the tools that you gained and all the skills that you learned, anxiety no longer has the power to knock you all the way down again. You’ve got this.“
On that note, it’s strange to say, but I’m grateful for my anxiety. Dealing with it thus far has helped me learn so much more about myself and has given me a greater appreciation for my life, my health, and for those all around me who continuously support me (like you!). It’s also given me a greater sense of confidence in my abilities to take on new challenges and to succeed in tackling all of the unexpected obstacles that life decides to throw at me.
I look forward to getting a stronger mentality and enjoying my time studying abroad. So, I want to thank you all for sticking with me this far through “Minding My Business” and I hope you’ve been able to learn a few things about anxiety and mental health through my journey here.
If you stuck with me this far I hope you continue to stay with me and grow as I embark on my new journey in Ireland. The next time you’ll be hearing from me I will be knee-deep in the countryside of Ireland probably splashing around in my rain boots and continuing to work through my anxiety.
In the meantime, I would like to challenge you all to do something that you fear and try to overcome that fear. It doesn’t have to be your greatest fear, just something that may be holding you back from living a life that is more exciting or more fulfilling for you. Once you’ve done it let me know how it went and what you learned, I'd love to hear about it all.
With that being said, thanks for coming back to my blog and I hope to see you back here soon for more mental health journeys! As always, take care :)