My Fight With Anxiety & How I Cope

Whatever you fight, you strengthen,
and what you resist, persists.
~ Eckhart Tolle

I’m constantly berating reminding myself to walk downstream.

But (damn it!) anxiety keeps turning me around.

Who’s in control here?

I can’t pinpoint the exact day I stopped going with the flow—whether it was a gradual resistance or sudden white knuckled grip around every corner of my life—but I don’t like it.

This struggle feeds my anxiety. Or is my anxiety feeding the struggle? It’s like a snake trying to eat its tail.

Quite possibly, my anxiety was behind the construction of my on-high-alert-in-control anti-flow mode. Yet, while I can remember always feeling somewhat anxious, I don’t recollect the incessant motive to be in control.

I do everything to eradicate my anxiety…

I run, do yoga, rest, breathe, read about how-to reduce anxiety, eat the right foods including super foods. (Disclosure: In my twenties, I suffered from an eating disorder.)

Yet anxiety can imprison me—literally and figuratively—granting the occasional leave.

Timing of this “leave” is unpredictable and seems to have nothing to do with anything, but I’m grateful for it (thank you for the leave, dear anxiety! I’ll use it wisely. xoxo!).

I’m less likely to extricate myself from the house when I’m under duress, although getting the hell outta here would probably be another way to calm the old nerves and gain fresh different perspective not involving cats. But—hello chicken and egg metaphor—since I prefer the illusion of control, getting out of the house could prove another way to lose control and mess up my “routine,” hence creating anxiety.

I have gotten better at rescuing myself from this self-imposed hostage situation in the last year or so, but when sh*t hits the fan, I’ve been known to retreat behind these faithful, solid walls.

The fact that I can work from home is both a luxury and an albatross. While I interact with people all day, it’s online and can sometimes feel solitary.

I think I’m just lazy when it comes to preparing to get out to work in a cafe or the library where I’d see and be seen by actual, breathing human beings. It would involve a) working out earlier, b) packing a lunch and water and stuff, c) wearing non-lounge wear and d) making my hair look presentable. Hell with all that nonsense! (Oh, such first world suburban problems I have. And to think millions of women and children have to walk miles every day just to get water.) But it would be good for me. So…

It’s quite the process.

Have I worn you out yet? Bear with me here.

In my dreams, I walk downstream. I go with the flow. I laugh easily and don’t worry about whether (or get mad if) my husband allows my son to get the large corn-syrup laden soda at the movie theater. Well, no, I don’t even walk downstream in my dreams. My dreams are vivid and involve a) getting chased, b) trying to find a working bathroom, and/or c) elevators. Can a gal catch a break?

I beat myself up day after day until finally my husband asks whether I thought about taking a chill pill (Xanax). I have a prescription, after all. But I forget I have it. And, quite honestly, I don’t want to take more medication. I’m already on a low-ish dose of daily anxiety/depression meds. Why in the world would I want to take more? I eat organic, whole grain foods. I want to be natural, dammit!

The continual battle with self wears me out. And to what end?

I liken it to an exorcism, daring this anxiety to leave my body.

The good news is: anxiety is not my daily life.

But control sort of is. Control. Control. Control. And did I mention, I must be in control? It’s really a bad state of mind and I wouldn’t recommend it. But I digress.

What to do about this anxiety bull-sh*t?

Acceptance would be a useful tool. Instead of putting up a fight, why not just accept those feelings whether they’re thoughts in my head or the physical want-to-jump-out-of-my-skin variety? Breathe into them. Stop. Stare out a window or at one of the cats. Step out into the chill of the air and let it seep into my bones. Have a cup of hot tea. Call a friend. Play the piano. Get out. Watch some comedy.

Please hold while I work this out.

Is it really going with the flow, though, if I’m accepting and embracing my control freakish self—which would entail being said control freak—instead of trying to ward off the control part of me?

So, here are more ways I walk downstream.

Sit. Breathe.

Walk in nature.

Gaze out the window. Or at cats.

Take small steps, shuffle.

Go with the heart, not the head.

Accept the bad days.

Remember to be grateful for the little things.

How do you walk downstream with your anxiety?

Adapted from my blog, Putting It Out There. Photo by bcmom.


David Thieke
David Thieke2 years ago

Anxiety is a very tough thing to live with. I understand it all too well. Thanks Lynn for the good article and excellent tips . Best of luck to you !

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Andrea J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing. I've struggled with anxiety mixed with depression all my life. Rationally, you know that your life isn't that bad. Sure there's always room for improvement, but there's really nothing to be overly-anxious or sad about. But it's like the rational part of you gets hijacked by "the reptile brain" (Rick Hanson) and the world starts to look like a dark and dangerous place. I guess listening to music helps me downstream my anxiety, along with appreciating the simple things in life. I wish you good health and happiness!

Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Elena P.
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Genoveva M M.
Genoveva M M3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Mark H.
Mark H3 years ago

TY I'd love for you to feel free.

Dianne Dunn
Past Member 3 years ago

Sorry.....I meant Evie G.......beautifully written. Thank You.

Dianne Dunn
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks Lynn. All the Very Best to You.

Thanks Edie......beautifully written.