Zara coat, Zara Scarf, BDG Jeans, Matisse Loafers, Quay Sunglasses
Since being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder about three years ago, I’ve become almost consumed by the idea of anxiety. I’m constantly checking to see whether or not my chest is constricted, whether or not my heart is racing, etc. This past week, I decided to ban the word anxiety for one month (sans for this blog post :) I realized by constantly discussing my anxiety, I was actually making things worse. Even my boyfriend noticed that it wasn’t until he started dating me that he ever even thought about anxiety. And just a few weeks ago, I wrote an entire post on it.
Let me tell you, it’s done wonders. It’s enabled me to focus on the positive moments in life, like
- the bliss of seeing my baby nephews this weekend
- the satisfaction of cooking my favorite Thanksgiving sides (six sticks of butter included)
- the comfort of spending a whole day watching Netflix in our home theatre
- the joy of finally visiting the Renwick Gallery in DC
- and walking around Georgetown when it’s a crisp 61 degrees (my idea of perfect weather)
Now whenever I find myself feeling anxious, I stop myself from saying it outloud and force myself talk to about anything else. At first it was hard to not acknowledge my feelings, but after a few days, I found the time between noticing a twinge of anxiety and changing the subject to something else getting shorter and shorter. I’ve become more accustomed to letting a moment of anxiety pass rather than letting it overwhelm me.
One time, due to the extreme emotional mood swings I get when I’m PMSing and on birth control, I cried at work because my breakfast place gave me potatoes with my eggs when I specifically said no potatoes. That pretty much summarizes my experience with the pill.
Crying because of potatoes, feeling bloated and gaining weight, and suffering from really bad anxiety when I’m PMSing have still never stopped me from taking that little monster of a contraceptive everyday for almost the last 8 years. Why? Because no one likes condoms.
(I obviously use them if I’m not in a monogamous, trusting relationship but that has been rare.)
So when I saw an ad for an app that relies on the calendar method, which I thought was literally guaranteed to get you preggers, it felt like God finally heard the prayers of me and all of womankind. Based on a study of over 40,000 women, Natural Cycles proved their app is just as effective as the pill. They give you a thermometer to more accurately track whether or not you need to use protection on a certain day and the chances of getting a “green” day when it’s actually “red” is less than .05% (even better than the pill in fact).
I did a lot of research before signing up since the consequences of this thing failing are obviously massive, but the evidence really does show that the app works. So much in fact that it has been approved by the European Union as a reliable form of birth control.
All I can say is Hallelujah. Praise Jesus. Amen.
I read this interesting article on The Cut the other day about the physical woes of anxiety. My therapist tells me that oftentimes the body is the first to recognize anxiety. Sometimes I don’t even have anything stressful on my mind and yet it feels like:
- my chest is super tight, like my lungs are being squeezed in someone’s hands
- my breathing is shallow
- my hands are tingly and numb
- and my head is heavy yet dizzy at the same time
I’ve heard from people who are less aware of the physical symptoms of mental illness that it’s all in your head, but what about when it’s not just your mind? What about when your body feels it too?
That’s why when I think about mental illness, I picture that the brain is not functioning at its healthiest capacity. Just as our world has blood disorders, liver disease, etc, it seems logical that the brain – the most complex organ of them all – wouldn’t work properly for every individual, right?
Maybe if we focus on how physical “mental” illness can be, the lucky ones without it might better understand why telling a depressed person to stop being sad is like telling a person with diabetes to lower their insulin levels. Maybe we should stop calling it a “mental” illness altogether and treat it with the same care and sympathy we give those with Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.