Today, I want to talk about something that is close to my heart. Something that I have struggled with my entire life, something that I never thought that I would be able to manage without medicine. That thing is ANXIETY!
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, Anxiety affects 40 MILLION adults in the United States and is one of the most common mental illnesses in America. (See facts here)
Let’s back up a few years. Looking back at my childhood, teenage years, and most of my adult life I can now see how Anxiety has affected every single relationship, & friendships that I have ever had. It has caused loss of friends, it has called breakups and heartaches, and I would venture to say that it has played a huge role in the periods in my life where I was affected by extreme Depression.
Now lets fast forward to the beginning of 2018. I touched little on this during my first blog post but I wanted to give you a few more details. I was feeling as if everyone in the world hated me, even my own family even though they had not given me any indication of that. I was overthinking everything, worried about everything. (Don’t believe me come look at my hair, you will see a few strands of GREY)
That is how I started this fitness journey. I started this fitness journey with me thinking that everyone hated me, & I was unsure if I was going to be able to do this. I started working out and eating as my coach told me to. I saw small changes at first, very small changes the first week to week and a half, and then the big changes to my body started happening. My confidence in myself started to rise, BUT I continued to think negative about myself and my relationships which lead to multiple ANXIETY attacks about everything. About friends that I was losing, (Side Note: If your “friends” are leaving you because you are trying to do better yourself they ARE NOT your friends. Your friends are the people that are cheering you on, that are encouraging you, and honestly they are pushing you to get to the next level) , about thinking that I wasn’t making the progress that I should be making, thinking that I should be losing more weight, thinking that I was failing myself, and my coach. (Even though he had physically told me that I was making amazing progress, and he was proud of me)
So you might be thinking what happens in an ANXIETY attack. During an anxiety attack, you question everything you question your friend’s loyalty, you think they are going to leave you, you think that they are mad at you or hate you, you think that you are worthless, or don’t deserve to be in their lives. During an anxiety attack, all you want is for someone to say that everything is going to be ok, that you are ok, and that you’re just overthinking things. Part of these is asking your friends questions like the following and I will be honest these are questions that I sent to a close friend of mine that I met in the fitness world.
1) AM I DISAPPOINTING YOU?
2) TELL ME WHAT I DO THAT GETS ON YOUR NERVES THAT MAKES YOU NOT WANT TO BE AROUND ME, SO I CAN FIX IT?
3) DO I DESERVE YOUR FRIENDSHIP?
Now, that you understand what happens during an anxiety attack, let me tell you how fitness and the people around me have helped me manage it WITHOUT medicine or anything.
The day that I send the questions above to a friend of mine, HE DID NOT RESPOND and to be honest it made me freak out more, and honestly made me super mad. The next day rolls around and I ask him about me starting a medicine for Anxiety his response was:
“I don’t think that you need to turn to something to help with anxiety but to control it yourself”
I then went back into detail about why I think I need medicine and his response was:
“You need to focus on you dude. Don’t worry about me leaving you. I’m your friend for a reason. You overthink stuff. STOP DOING THAT!!!! You are causing the anxiety by OVER THINKING EVERYTHING!! Just live life and go with it!!!! Make yourself happy, before someone else.”
I continued my path of second guessing everything, and then asked him to answer the questions that I had sent the day before and his response was:
“NO. I’m not answering those questions. You’re creating the negativity bull crap in your head. So, STOP over thinking crap and live life in the fitness world.”
I have to admit that I was taken back by this, I have to admit I was a little upset that he didn’t coddle me like most of the people in my past, I was angry at him for that, but little did I know that he had set me on a path that was going to teach me how to control my anxiety for myself.
Fast forward a few weeks, while hanging out with some friends in the fitness world, someone said something that threw me into an attack, and I sent a message to this same friend and told him that I was having an attack. HE DID NOT RESPOND. I am pretty sure that he told the people that we were hanging with to not pay attention to me, and to let me handle it, and not to coddle me. NONE OF THEM DID. The people in that group that we were hanging with that night were very blunt with me and told me that if I didn’t want history to repeat itself that I had to take the cause of the out of the equation and that when I realized that anxiety was the thing that all my past relationships had in common.
That was the moment that I took a step back and started to really focus on me, my goals, and my dreams. I started going to the gym and focused on me instead of it being a social hour, it was me in there Grinding with my head down. It was me focused on me and no one else. It was me not giving a crap in the world about what people thought of me except for a select 3 people. It was me thinking positive every day.
Fitness has basically eliminated my anxiety, and I am speaking from personal experience when I ask this next question. Are you suffering from anxiety? If so ask yourself these four questions?
- What am I focused on that is causing this? Am I focused on what someone else has that I want?
- Do you have people around you that care about you to give you that tough love like my friend gave me? (I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to be the guy that was making the road a little rougher, but he knew in the long run that is what I needed)
- Are you overthinking everything about everything, every relationship, and every friendship? If so have you tried to just set back and relax and try to look at it from a different view?
- What is the reason for the anxiety, is it the thought of you losing someone? Or something else? If you really want to find a way to manage it, finding out why is your first step.
Fitness, the gym, and the support system that I have gained have allowed me to be able to manage my anxiety without any medicine, and there are all types of natural ways out there for you to manage it.
For me, it was Fitness and the FAMILY that I have gained from it.
To the people mentioned in this blog, thank you. You know who you are!
Until next time, KEEP GRINDING, KEEP PRESSING FOR YOUR GOALS.
*** Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, always follow doctors instructions on medicine and their treatment plans. This blog is about my personal experience.