January 31 18

The constant need to be busy. Being on the go is a bit like a drug to feed the anxiety beast. If I’m working several jobs, if I’m focused on my new ballet classes OrangeTheory classes or 6th grade math homework 7th grade math homework or taking multiple photography classes or making lists or reading books or listening to podcasts or downloading new music or simply searching for something on my phone, it keeps my mind off of my mind. 

Being unable to say no.

Perfectionism.

Taking on too much, yet still feeling like I’m not doing enough.

Being so tired, all the time. Being so tired, but not being able to fall asleep. Being so tired, but not being able to stay asleep.

Nervous laughter.

Apologizing. A lot.

Telling people how comically bad I am at things because my brain tells me that it’s a safer option than the risk of someone mocking me. I am really a terrible bowler, even though I’m from Wisconsin. Just wait until you see me do karaoke. And don’t even get me started on dancing. 

Being obnoxiously early for everything.

Checking and re-checking. YES, I have my phone in my purse, let me just check one more time to be surely sure.

The inability to quit things — books I’m not enjoying, a job that may or may not be killing me, Grey’s Anatomy.

Feeling that Not Alone Kind of Alone. Having a hard time letting people in — not because I don’t want to, no, in fact, I really, really, really want to — but because friendship breakups for anxious people are particularly heavy.

Stressing about a restaurant menu. About making a phone call. About answering a phone call. About *not* answering a phone call. About what to wear to parent-teacher conferences. {Am I overdressed? Am I underdressed? Is everyone looking at me? Is there something on my face?} About traveling. About boats. About crossing the border.

Overthinking a conversation. A text message. An email. A Facebook comment. Minutes, hours, days, sometimes even weeks later. I’m still thinking about that weird thing I said at the 7th grade spelling bee. No really.

Indigestion. Stomach aches. Nausea. Chills. Sweats. Chest pressure. Racing heart.

Panic attacks. Sometimes at my daughter’s school play. Or at a movie theater. Or a restaurant. Or at my in-laws’ house. Or on an airplane. Or on a train. Or a bus. Or in a car. {transportation is clearly a tough one for me} Or just this week in the middle of a board meeting.

Having a terrible naggy voice inside my head constantly telling me that I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not funny enough, I’m not thin enough, I’m not organized enough, I’m not a good friend, I’m not a good mom, I’m not a good daughter, I’m not good enough at my job, I’m too lazy, I’m not a good enough photographer.

Emetophobia. Germ-o-phobia.

Weird habits. During particularly panic-y moments I sing the words to We Didn’t Start The Fire in my head. And I make teeny tiny little braids in my hair.

Hitting publish even though my palms are sweaty. 

Because I have anxiety, but you know what? It doesn’t have me.

Every day I find myself making tiny changes.

I began my very own Silver Linings Project — finding the good all over the place. 

I am getting much more confident with my photography work. 

Instead of yelling at my body this week — as I’m often apt to do — I was proud of it for conquering the #OrangeEverest shenanigans at OrangeTheory this week. Who knew I could climb to 15% incline and back down without dying?

 

I pushed back — twice — at work when something didn’t sit right with me. 

I made a phone call I wouldn’t have made last week. You guys, THE PHONE. 

And perhaps the biggest thing: I texted a friend and asked if she wanted to go for coffee. 

And…I’m hitting publish on this post.

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We are ENDING THE STIGMA. 

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. So, don’t be afraid to text — For every text message you send today, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. Don’t be afraid to tweet — Each time you tweet today using #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind on Facebook — Every time you watch the Bell Let’s Talk video today Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives. Click here to see all of the ways you can make a difference.

Today.

And every day.

Because tiny changes are big changes.

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  1. Ali…I have been smitten with you from the very first moment. But you know that already. My therapist asked me something at our last session that really resonated and that I have been repeating to myself a lot lately. “What would you look like as a person, if you weren’t this way?” and I realized so much about what makes me caring and empathetic is my sensitivity and worry. And I wouldn’t want those pieces of me to disappear….so I’m no longer going to view them as things I need to rid, but rather as things that I need to make peace with <3

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Yes.
    So much this. My anxiety actually makes me really good at so many things (also what makes me ME)…it’s just the other crippling side I’d like to toss to the curb, yanno?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Louise on January 31, 2018
  2. All of this! I am so proud that I get to call you my sister! Your vulnerability will help so many. Love you??

    [Reply]

    Comment by Charna on January 31, 2018
  3. I understand all of this too. Since I was 13. At 48 I still struggle. You sound like you are doing aces. ??
    @thejennui

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I’m doing…okay. It’s a constant battle…with myself. It’s exhausting. I’d just like to not be battling all the time,. Sigh.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jennifer Brockington on January 31, 2018
  4. You are not alone. So many suffer in silence until someone shares their story and then we know we are not alone. Thanks for sharing for others.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    That’s one of the reasons that I share my truths…if I can make *one* person feel less alone, well that’s a win right there. :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Elena on January 31, 2018
  5. Solidarity, on all fronts.

    xox

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    xo

    [Reply]

    Comment by Feisty Harriet on February 3, 2018
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