Friday, 29 May 2015

Dealing With Anxiety

Hi! My name is Julie and I'm a worry wart!

There was a great post about worry on Gail Vax-Oxlade's blog today that inspired me to write. I've never admitted to my family and friends that I deal with anxiety but I realized recently that it is more common than I thought. I guess most people chalk it up to being impatient or anal or what not and kind of shrug it off. It really sucks that there is a lot of social stigmas telling people you deal with anxiety, only a handful of my good friends know and now you! Honestly, at first I didn't even know I had it, I just thought it was just the way I was and there wasn't much I could do about it. I figured it was how I was raised, growing up with parents who were polar opposites but both hardcore worriers. For instance, my mother is constantly late, she doesn't care who you are or where she is going, you are going to wait an hour minimum for her ALWAYS. My father strongly believes in punctuality, so he is always on time no matter what and has to leave incredibly early. I remember when we would show up to someone's house earlier than they were expecting us, that we would sit in the car and wait until it was the proper time. Honestly, I think he learned that from Uncle Bob thinking it's a Canadian custom. Uncle Bob as we affectionately call him, helped sponsor and take care of my parents when they first immigrated to Canada. He was invited for dinner one time and was seen walking around our neighbourhood cause he was too early and my dad wonder why he didn't just come over, but I digress.

My anxiety had got to the point where it became mentally and physically exhausting. Worrying about being late, having no money to cover the bills, what my parents thought about, pressures from friends and family to get a place and start popping out babies. Ummm, you need some serious dough for all that! Have they seen how much daycare is now? I grew up poor with a single mom with three kids and a grandma to support. I remember when we didn't have air conditioning and couldn't afford it, so on super hot days my mom would give me 50 cents to buy and ice cream and hang out at McDonalds and the mall for the free cool air. If I can prevent a hard life by spending a few extra years saving who the hell says I can't. I hated feeling unprepared and that the worst would happen to me if I couldn't control situations. I was having trouble falling and staying asleep, working long odd hours in the day and night, and preferred to stay home and watch Netflixs because I didn't feel like I had the energy to do anything. Overtime, I grew incredibly unhappy and I decided to change...

I sought out therapy to help me learn to chill out and enjoy life again. I didn't want anyone to know what I was doing or thinking I was a crazy person cause I had a shrink. I had let my life get out of hand and didn't know how to find my way out the mess. It was honestly the second best decision I've ever made in my life (first, was getting my money shit in order)! In a few short months, I've learned to breathe! It's amazing how learning to change your way of thinking, re-training your brain, and even challenging your thoughts can influence your life. I basically lost confidence in myself and I didn't want to admit it. I was the ambitious girl who travelled the world on my own since I was 17 and dared to rebel against my parents and their old world thinking of what women should be and do. Imagine being 12-13 years old and being told to wait outside because you're not allowed into Tip Top Tailors because your a girl and it's a man's store? WTF!?! Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that I grew up with divorced parents who understood that a child needed both parents. My mom never once told my dad that he wasn't allowed to see us. I was able to call and go over to his house anytime I wanted and he always made an effort to spend lots of time with us. And I digress again! I'm good at that huh?

Anyhoo, I received tons of great material from my doc that really helped me out. I was given readings and homework to understand where anxiety came from, techniques to try, audio guides to help me relax and fall asleep. I got great tips on how to deal with stressful family relations that I just never thought about. It's hard to see clearly when you are in the thick of it, so it's nice to have a professional opinion from someone who's on the outside to help you deal with it all. Plus, it's very cathartic to get crap off your chest. I'm happy to say now that it's a lot easier for me to fall asleep and get a good nights rest. Swimming and just taking time to do thing's for Julie has really felt like an infusion of energy and happiness. I don't think I'm cured from my anxiety but I'm glad that I have the tools to help me better deal with everyday situations.

So, if you're dealing with anything like anxiety or depression, I encourage you to seek help. There are some free mental health clinics out there, but you'd have to be put on a huge wait list. If you've got any medical coverage from work, find someone who'd they cover and work with what you got. There are so many kinds of therapist out there, so you really need to research the one that's going to work with your specific needs. There's also a misconception that you have to go for a long time. You can do a few sessions to help you deal with a certain problem and cut it off after that. And if you don't have the dough to pay for sessions, some will even work on a sliding scale based on your income. You just gotta do a bit of homework and call around. Not to scare you but just an fyi, an Ontario psychologist is suppose to charge $225 an hour. And that's the fee set by Ontario Psychologist Association.

Happy Friday!

Eros And Pookie