For years I was in denial about my anxiety. I didn’t want to admit to a character flaw and if I labeled it, it would become more real. In 2012, I was working about three jobs and transitioning through hospital and corporate jobs. I was also in school, finishing my bachelor's degree and I had a full family to care for at home.
My plate was completely full and my inner tank was empty. Up until this point, I believed that I needed to have a full plate to find success. If I wasn’t completely busy, then I was failing at life. This level of pressure on myself caused me to become paralyzed in all other areas of my life.
I can’t be everywhere all the time
A strong characteristic of mine is my ambition. I want it all and I want to be everywhere, so whenever I couldn’t be everywhere for everyone, I felt like I failed. I wish I could say to my younger self, “learn how to say no.” You are entitled to say no to going to that party or event. You can say no to projects that will flood your plate. You can’t be everywhere and when you try to be you will end up nowhere at all.
Feeling alone in a crowded life
Have you ever been around the most people, but felt the most alone? I’m an even blend of extravert and introvert, so I love to be around people, but there are times when I feel a social interaction overload and I just want to be alone. The anxiety of being crowded can lead to the feeling of loneliness. I remember when I first starting networking as an entrepreneur, I had no idea social anxiety would be of any concern for me. I was attending any and every event I could in effort to get to know people in my industry. After weeks of doing this, I felt emotionally drained. I had zero space for myself and began to feel the anxiety creep up unexpectedly. I began experiencing emotional paralysis and it affected other areas of my life. Not acknowledging my emotional needs will led me to emotional paralysis.
Projects left undone
Having an ambitious spirit is not a negative personality trait, however when your ambition begins to consume all of your thoughts and actions, it can turn into something you never intended. My ambitious spirit led me to taking on many projects all at once. I took on so many that I eventually felt emotionally exhausted and that exhaustion left me unable to complete projects. Everything was half done because I had spread myself so thin. Since, I have those high expectations, my anxiety went through the roof, since I had lost control.
Anxiety is way more common than people think. It is nothing to be ashamed of and is totally manageable if you take the time to seek help. It is very important to learn tools and skills that can help you be more productive without spiraling into an anxiety filled episode. Anxiety can sneak up on us if we put our blinders on, sort of like I did years ago. It will cause you to have mini-breakdowns that can make you feel completely shut down. If you are struggling with this, I’d like to encourage you and tell that there is hope to getting through this.
Reach out to a trustworthy friend to confide in, look into therapy, or maybe connecting with a group in your area of people that may be struggling with anxiety also. There are a lot of resources now that can support you. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety and this resonates with you, please share it. I pray this little piece to my story will help someone come out of the shadows and seek help.