By the throat.

I’m only 24 years old (although half of the time I feel like I’m slightly older than that due to life’s circumstances). But anxiety has had me by the throat, in a death grip even, for these past few months here in 2022.

In the past, it would take nearly everything hitting the fan for me to realize something’s wrong. But thankfully through some therapy and healing, I’ve been able to grow in my self-awareness and how I process my emotions. However, about two months ago, I nearly passed out from stress and anxiety – my ultimate “sh*t hitting the fan” moment.

I honestly don’t remember the drive home from my physical therapy appointment that day. It’s by the grace of God that a) I got home safely and b) I successfully completed my PT session although I absolutely should’ve canceled the morning of (S/O to that athlete mindset of pushing through no matter what…). Some causes of my stress and anxiety have been easy to point out… I’m about to uproot my entire life by moving to a new state in a few months, I’m still navigating my knee injury (September will make one full year that I’ve been out of training and running freely), and just navigating the pandemic and doing my best to not get sick (I had Covid back in May and whew… I never want to go through that again). For the first time in my life, my stress started manifesting physically. My throat and chest were constantly tight for weeks. After several tests, I started to realize that it wasn’t an illness my body was fighting – my body was literally begging me to chill out on all fronts before it put me in the hospital.

The other causes of my stress were a bit tougher to point out initially. I just realized this week that it’s been my perfectionism and desire to control every single outcome of my life that’s driven the intensity as of lately. I lost sight of myself a bit and my current blessings by hyper-focusing on my future and isolating myself from authentic community. I was being way too attached to my outcomes instead of enjoying life and enjoying the process of things. Sadly, I’ve been here before, but it was the physical signs this time that made me come to my senses.

Starting this week, I’ve made a commitment to return to three major activities to help keep me better grounded in the midst of so much change:

  1. Prayer – I believe my focus has been too much on myself and not enough on God. I’m living in so many answered prayers right now, so why can’t I recall God’s faithfulness to me? And that it will all work out no matter what?
  2. Yoga/deep stretching – I’ve done the latter as of lately due to my knee. Sometimes, my knee can’t handle gentle, restorative flows (e.g., from downward facing dog to plank pose). I’m still learning to give myself grace here as I’m doing the best I can to get back to 100%. It just still gets to me somedays.
  3. Meditation – There was a time where I could meditate for 30 minutes straight. I hope to get back to that level someday. The breath is truly powerful in calming down your body and central nervous system as a whole.

I know I’ll continue to experience a moderate level of stress and anxiety as I prepare for some big life changes in the coming months. But I can’t operate like how I’ve been these past few months. I have to know that I can only control what I can control and not worry about the rest. Trust in God and trust in myself that I can handle whatever life throws my way. I know God has great plans for me – I just have to adjust my focus.

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