February 11, 2021 at 05:35AM
What is anxiety?
Stress is a normal human emotion, however pervasive feelings of overwhelm and anxiousness that happen without specific reason, spiral out of control, surpass normal ‘stressors,’ or make it difficult to cope with daily life may indicate an anxiety condition.
According to Beyond Blue, anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. Sadly, on average, one in four people will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. Each year, over two million Australians experience anxiety.
As challenging as an anxiety condition can be, you can recover from it. Everyone deserves to live a life free from anxiety. If you are on your own mental health journey, be kind, gentle and nurturing to yourself on the path to feeling good again.
Know the signs
Signs and symptoms of anxiety can include rapid breathing, racing thoughts, increased heart rate, feeling ‘on edge’ constantly, sleeping problems, hot and cold flushes, tightening of the chest, excessive fear, worry, catastrophising, or obsessive thinking. People suffering from anxiety may also avoid situations that make them feel anxious, adversely impacting study, work or social life. Remember, this does not provide a diagnosis – you will need to see your doctor for that – however it may be helpful as a guide.
Reach out for help if you need it
If you are struggling with harmful, anxious thoughts or suffering from mental illness, please reach out for help by contacting your doctor, Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) or Lifeline (13 11 14) as soon as possible. You are never alone and support is always there for you.
Jess’ Personal Journey with Anxiety
Hi fam, Jess here. I have previously opened up about my own struggle with anxiety, which had a huge impact on me. I want you to know that you are not alone!
I would say the last two years have probably – no, definitely – been the hardest years of my life. My doctors diagnosed me with PTSD (after the loss of my bestie), anxiety and “PURE O OCD” (this is not the usual washing hands type of OCD – this is when all your thoughts in your mind have to be “clean” and safe). This diagnosis was a lot to take in. To be honest, these diagnoses can also be quite damaging to one’s self-esteem. I know so many people out there can relate to this – people feel ashamed about being diagnosed with mental health disorders. But what I would like to share is that when I was finally diagnosed, I felt I could understand the pain and anxiety I was experiencing better. Once I knew what it was, I was able to find the tools, resources and support for the conditions. In fact, I feel anxiety and OCD have been a big part of my entire life – and I just didn’t understand it. Now so much makes sense and I have equipped myself with the tools to live a better life.
I grew from my struggle
I listened to a podcast recently that said, “Us who struggle with mental health – we are the lucky ones.”
As hard as the last two years have been (devastatingly hard), a big big part of me would say, “This may have also been the biggest blessing of my life thus far.” Would I wish it away? Probably not. Because truly, emerging from my struggles has allowed me to become the best version of myself.
Never before had my appreciation for health, life and my loved ones felt so strong. I feel grounded, humbled and like I have taken ownership of the most raw, real version of myself. I really know what matters most in life now – more than ever.
You are not alone!
When I first experienced the intense feelings of anxiety around two years ago, I understood just how debilitating it can be on your life and what it meant when others said, “I feel trapped in my own mind.”
I also felt the isolation of it. Even though I was in the health industry and surrounded by so much support and resources, I still somehow felt alone and ashamed – like I was the odd one out. I also kept thinking, “Why me? How come this isn’t happening to anyone else?”
What I now know is that SO many people are struggling with mental health (sadly much more than we can assume). So please, don’t feel alone. It is just still a subject people do not feel comfortable to talk about – there is still shame/stigma. And it feels right for me to share my struggles because I am fortunate enough to have this platform.
So how am I feeling now? Thank gosh, so much stronger, clearer and calmer. It’s been along journey though and there were SO many moments of “will this ever go?” But hang in there. Baby steps. One day at a time is my new favorite line!
Surrounding myself with love and support, opening up and being real about my emotional health, along with the following powerful resources have all been instrumental in healing my anxiety. Sharing the below in the hope that this can help and support you too.
Jess’ Top Anxiety Resources
- Find the RIGHT therapist – this can be a challenge because at first you can feel unsure about what the core struggle is. That’s okay. I personally went to my GP and he was better able to guide me into the right direction. I also had to do my own research and finally I found a therapist who specialises in anxiety and OCD. This was a true gamechanger. Sometimes it can be trial and error but when you find the right person – you will feel so supported.
- Remove the stigma of medication. I take Zoloft and a sleeping tablet. You cannot imagine how much I resisted medication being a nutritionist. I get you. BUT why do we feel shame? Those with diabetes have to take their insulin? Those with thyroid conditions have to take their thyroid hormone. There is no difference for brain/mental health struggles. It has helped me – it has calmed me down to be able to think rationally, which helps every aspect of my life.
- Living the JSHealth life has always helped me tremendously. The power of nutritional medicine alongside western medicine is real! Exercising for 20 minutes a day (in ways that I love – I use our App), going for an evening stroll in nature, eating all JSHealth meals from the blog/app and ensuring I have social media boundaries – has also been instrumental for me.
- Books and podcasts that really support me :
- Finally my mindset had to change. I realised I will never be 100% perfect or healed – because that is not even possible. As humans we will always have anxieties and struggles. It is all about having the tools in your box to cope with them better to help you live a more functional and wholesome life. As mentioned, parts of me do not wish the pain and anxiety away – because they keep me grounded, awakened, compassionate and a better human in general.
There is SO much I have learnt on my own mental health journey and I’m so passionate about helping others who have similar struggles. If this blog resonated with you, I can continue to share more. Let me know on instagram @jshealth. We are always stronger together!
With love and support,