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Rediscovering yourself after experiencing anxiety


Have you felt disconnected from yourself on your journey experiencing anxiety? This blog post is all about that desire to re-discover yourself while you're on your healing journey with anxiety.


When I first started to experience anxiety, I was so incredibly overwhelmed by healing, that I slowly overtime lost myself. I began defining myself, based off of how anxious I felt or what anxiety was making me feel that day. I very quickly lost myself, and who I was. I stopped doing things that I enjoy it, I stopped seeing people that I loved, and I stopped exploring new things that felt exciting and wonderful. As I moved through my healing journey, perfectionism started to take its toll. I was so focussed on trying to heal that I continue to push away seeing the joy in my life. I would look for every moment that would cause me anxiety, so I could fall back on a coping mechanism, and feel good for addressing that anxiety as it came up. This became an incredibly vicious cycle, because not only was I experiencing anxiety, but I was also becoming habitual in getting that momentary relief through coping mechanisms. Even with healing, I lost little bits of myself every single day that I did not see the joy in the present moment.


Many of us can be caught in the cycle of anxiety, or caught in the cycle of healing anxiety to such a degree that we forget to embrace the other emotions that we feel at the same time. One of the hardest things to break the habit of is remembering that we can feel multiple emotions at the same time. Anxiety does not take away from happiness, or joy, or love. Anxiety and other emotions are not mutually exclusive, meaning that we can experience a multitude of emotions at the same time.


Something else can happen to when we experience anxiety, we can long to be our previous selves and get back to our previous lives. Anxiety even fuels this and begins to cause us to feel more anxious when we are struggling because it doesn't feel like we're getting back to our 'normal' or 'previous' selves. What if I told you that anxiety has changed you? I know that this might be something that you've been pushing away, because it meant confronting the fact that your experience with mental health has changed who you are as a person. But what if I also told you that that change isn't negative? What if I told you that that change meant that you were open to a world of new possibility of healing and of growth.


Anxiety loves to try and create fear, and create avoidance in our lives, and especially when it comes to our identity. The more it gets us to identify ourselves as an anxious person the more it has a holdover us. When we begin to finally let go of getting back to our previous selves and learn to embrace who we now our and our capacity to become more thoughtful, more aware, more passionate, and feel things are a deeper level, then that's where we truly meet a new tear of healing.


Now you may be asking yourself, okay Carly I get it, but how do I get there? I got you, let's dive into a few ways of how we begin to explore this newly found version of ourselves.


ONE. Explore a younger version of yourself

You'd be surprised of how many things that you used to enjoy in childhood, that you haven't thought about in years. One powerful aspect of healing and connecting to yourself again is to begin to communicate with your inner child. Many of us may have wounded inner child's from many different experiences our lives, and when we begin to acknowledge that voice is there we can begin to dive deeper into how to nurture that voice and bring that forward into our current self. What I love to do to speak, with my inner child is to explore things that used to bring me joy when I was young. This looks different for everyone, but sometimes finding those moments of joy can be so healing. For me, it looks like playing board games with my family, or playing an old video game (Sims 2 still hits the feels every time), or simply allowing yourself to have time for play and fun during the day. As we draw our inner child closer and closer, we can begin to recognize where we may need to acknowledge past experiences that may have been very difficult or traumatizing, and potentially provide the support that maybe we didn't feel like we got when we were younger. Starting to explore this relationship with your inner child, will help you to find that joy again.


TWO. Schedule time every week to try something new.

Anxiety loves when we fall into habits that are often not necessarily the most beneficial. It can feel incredibly difficult to get out of our comfort zone and try something new. In order to connect with ourselves we need to explore what we enjoy. And one of the ways to do this can be to try something new. It doesn't have to be something extremely dare devilish or anything that terrifies you, but it can be something that you haven't tried before or that you would like to try, but just haven't gotten around to it. Creating space for joy and trying new things can help us to explore what we like and what we don't like. This allows us to deep in our connection with ourselves because we can begin to recognize the things we enjoy and practice those more regularly.


THREE. Practice gratitude, mindfulness, and choose to find joy in the little moments.

When we experience anxiety, we can often choose anxiety over joy and many moments. Now I'm not trying to say that anxiety is a choice, but I am trying to say that in many moments, we choose to focus on the sensations, rather than bring ourselves back into the present moment, and choose to see the joy. Many moments in our life, regardless of if you're experiencing anxiety may pass us by if we don't actually choose to recognize and bring awareness to them. When we begin to practice gratitude and practice mindfulness to bring yourselves into the present moment, we can see those little moments of joy. When was the last time you truly sat and focussed on a sunset or perhaps noticed the small little bugs of new life on the springtime? Many of us have these moments of joy passed by so quickly, because we are so focussed on the other things. And I know that many times it can be difficult to pull ourselves out of the anxious spiral that we may find ourselves in. But when we learn to practice gratitude, and we learn to practice mindfulness to ground ourselves, in the present moment, we can actually begin to turn into those little moments of joy. We begin to create space to connect to those moments of joy.


This was a very reflective blog post for me to create, and I really hope these little nuggets of wisdom resonated with you. By no means have I figured it all out, but it brings me so much joy and gratitude to share these little things that I have found help me in the difficult moments.


May this month be dedicated to re-discovering who you are, and embracing your authentic self.


Sending you so much love,

Carly


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Love this post! It has made me wonder how I've changed since being diagnosed with OCD. I think there is a part of me that wonders if I was trying to hold onto the old me or use my old me mindset to overcome OCD but did not realize that maybe my old mindset wasn't working. I needed to try and learn new ways of healing. Such a wonderful post! Love your blog and everything you do!

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