“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” Virginia Woolf
I’m gonna lay down a sad little truth bomb. There is nothing currently that I’m aware of that will cure your anxiety.
“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” (The Princess Bride)
If they tell you they have that magical cure for your anxiety, I can give maybe 97% odds that they are trying to sell you something. Makes me sound like a hater, but I am just trying to give you real and accurate information.
With the technology available today, anxiety cannot be cured. You can definitely find things that help you enter a long period of stability. But there is always the potential for it to come back. Especially in such a tense political and religious climate.
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Depending on your point of view, that can sound really really awful. For those that live with anxiety, it’s sad and scary to think that it will probably not be cured in this generation. (Just a prediction on my part. I’m no doctor or scientist.)
But how about if you thought of it this way? There is no cure for anxiety. I can treat the symptoms, but it is outside of my control to get rid of it completely.
What if we gave up a little control? I know I blogged recently about taking control of your health, and you should. You should seek treatment and do what you can to feel better. But I strongly believe that once you accept that you can live a fulfilling life as someone with anxiety, you can separate yourself from it as a form of identity, and begin to move on.
It affects millions of people every year, and many do not speak up until it gets to be more than they can handle.
Is there a cure for anxiety?
As I said, no. There is no clinic you can go to and receive an anxiety shot. Wouldn’t that be nice? Some kind of annual booster that would keep you covered for an entire year? Hell, I would be first in line.
I hope that in my children’s lifetime, something like that exists, but there would need to be a few things that took place before it was possible.
For one, we need to break the stigma around anxiety disorders. We’ve certainly come a long way. Things are much better than they were even a few years ago. But I think there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding anxious behaviors. (Ex. Karen won’t call me back, so she must be rude. Or, Greg’s been slacking off at work. They ought to fire him.)
We are a very reactive society, and that is damaging for those that live with mental health conditions. For whatever reason, we are hit with some sort of stimuli and we are conditioned to react immediately rather than take a step back and react with empathy. Especially when people are different from us, we tend to default to judgment rather than kindness.
To find a cure, we also need more funding. We need more people with the resources to do so to step up and donate to reputable research organizations. Alongside of that, we need people who are passionate enough to do good things with the money.
How to spot it in a friend
Maybe you’re not the anxious one. Maybe your loved one is suffering from anxiety. As I mentioned in my previous post about anxiety, it is incredibly common. 40 million adults live in the United States live with anxiety per year, and approximately 4-5 million children.
Here are some common symptoms of long-lasting anxiety, according to Healthline:
- Excessive worrying
- Feeling agitated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tense muscles
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Panic attacks
- Avoiding social situations
- Irrational fears (For me, long car rides!)
I know that personally, I can pretty much check off all of these boxes.
If your loved one has even one or more of these symptoms, they are possibly living with some form of anxiety. Speaking from experience, these are awful feelings to live with, and they can be the reason that many anxious people find themselves not speaking up.
What you can do to manage anxiety
Nope, sorry. There is not a cure for anxiety. But there are many things you can do to manage your condition and start feeling more like yourself again. Here are some things that have been really helpful to me in my journey to wellness.
So much of anxiety for me is about unknowns. What will happen if…? The more I can structure my day and cut out a lot of questions about things that might happen the better I feel. You sacrifice a lot of spontaneity, but it really is helpful.
Fitness has a lot of benefits for everyone, but especially those with mental illness. When you work out, it releases feel good chemicals in your brain that your natural biochemistry is missing (dopamine, etc.) It can be hard to get back into it if you’ve taken time off, but so worth it.
I know, this one is super hard. I definitely rely on caffeine to help with my fatigue. But ultimately, it can just make your anxiety worse. So to the extent that you can avoid it, the better.
Alcohol is a cocktail (see what I did there?) of emotional turmoil. Yes, when you’ve had a bad day, it feels good temporarily to unwind with a Vodka cranberry. But it doesn’t technically fix any of your problems. And for those with mental illness, too much alcohol consumption can be a slippery slope into other negative behaviors.
Being open about it.
Talking about it really does help. I am lucky to have a spouse that is patient in listening to my fears and anxieties. For instance, I am nervous about a car ride we are taking tomorrow. I was open about it, and he took the time to talk with me about how the day is gonna be laid out, and how we will be able to take our time driving in case we need to stop. It was very helpful that he was willing to listen. All I had to do was speak up!
Sleep is a nice little bandaid. It’s not going to cure your anxiety, but getting regular quality sleep will help you to feel physically better, and little bit more clear-headed when dealing with stressful situations. I take melatonin gummies at night to help me get a deeper sleep.
I’ve just started this again each night, and I’ve been getting a lot out of it. I’m one of those that, despite being a writer, I never really know what to write about when I’m journaling. So I started doing three things: I list 3 things I’m grateful for that day, write 1 goal for the following day, and 1 positive affirmation. It’s nothing major but it’s a start!
Go ahead: Be well.
It is likely that in your lifetime, there might not be a cure for anxiety. I think that’s okay. In the meantime, it’s important to step away from wishing we could be different and more complete.
We are complete in our incompleteness. We are strong. Full of resilience. While we might never be cured, we can certainly take steps to be well, and that is a very huge thing.
Remember: No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but yourself.
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