June 27th was national PTSD awareness day, and naturally, I spent it having one of the best days I’ve had in an entire month. The day where awareness reached a national peak, I settled into the stories from others and the reality of it within myself.
June caused my anxiety to truly live, I’m not sure there’s any other way to explain it. I didn’t have an attack, it was just truly present. If you have anxiety, have you ever had that feeling? Anxiety just sort of sitting in your bones for weeks on end. Still, life, went on with and around me.
Now that this month is ending, I can be more open as the wave settles from under me a bit…
I did something a bit different: I was honest about it throughout the month. Normally, I have a tendency to move through high anxiety or PTSD triggered times internally. This month, when friends and family asked how I was doing, I would try to be as honest as I needed to be with myself and with them.
And sometimes, I found it more therapeutic to step back and ignore, create a space where I felt safe away from well-meaning triggers. In it, realizing that the weird part of anxiety and PTSD for me, is having this level of awareness and thankfulness, coupled with my anxiety. The good and the triggered living together if it all becomes too much at once. And sometimes, to be honest, it is just the triggered. But not June.
Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, and yet, when I think about typing it, admitting that I go to therapy once a week, I practice breathing exercises, I often need to work out, be alone, keep busy, or all of the above at once, I can easily be led to believe that I am weak. And at the same time when I’m sorting through that falsity of weakness, others are often looking to me and asking me for strength and answers. Isn’t it funny how that works?
Being open about the ebbs and flows of anxiety and PTSD, or simply existing in it, is a sign of strength, and should be applauded. How was June for you? Do you have GAD or PTSD? If so, I’d love to hear how you’ve handled (or not), lately?
P.S Guiding Lights , United States Of Xanax, and One Way I Deal With It
(photo and flowers by James’s Daughter Flowers)
Thank you for posting this. I've been dealing with something similar for weeks now, but really for years off and on. When you said that it just sits in your bones…that really put words to how I've been feeling.
One of the things that's consistently been helping my anxiety is short, simple meditations. I use an app called Insight Timer—it's free—and do a little meditation wherever I am if I feel anxious. Even just five minutes helps. I don't know if your anxiety is worse in summer—mine is, too much light outside!—but if so, it helps to keep things a little darker indoors and limit your time in the sunshine. That might sound backwards but it helps me a lot.
My anxiety just generally sits on my bones like you described above. It's something I feel all the time, so I try to go on with my life and not focus too much on it. I've found that the best thing for me is to plan out my day so I have just a few task to complete. I avoid "busy days" as much as possible because they are likely to ignite my anxiety which leads to depression. *sigh* The last attack I had was very strange for me because it came out of nowhere, I was waiting for pizza and suddenly my heart was beating so fast. I did that exercise where you name things you can touch, feel, see etc. It really helped me.