Anyone who deals with chronic anxiety knows how crippling it can be and how much it can affect your day to day life. If you are struggling with anxiety, you may be desperately searching for something, anything, to dull the senses.
The human body is an incredible thing. It gives us signs and signals when something isn’t right whether mentally or physically, in the form of symptoms. You may develop a cold if you’ve been overworking yourself or not taking the time to properly care for yourself. It’s your body’s way of telling you to take a break. Anxiety is a physical response to an emotional pain that stems from fear. Our emotions have a deep connection to the body. Often when difficult emotions arise, if we are unable to process them, they can get stored in the body. I’ve noticed mine come in the form of extremely tight muscles that have contorted my body. I also notice my buried emotions come in the shape of large, deep knots, daily pain all throughout my body (particularly the back and neck) and a significant decrease in my range of motion. No two people are the same, so your body may store emotions and show symptoms differently. The key here is awareness.
Physically, I’ve found a few ways to release some of the emotions stored within the body. My personal favorite, because it can provide instant relief, is called dry needling. It’s very similar to acupuncture, with the main difference being that dry needling is more science based whereas acupuncture is more spiritual. So rather than targeting stuck chakras and things like that, they target the heart of your pain, which is called the trigger point. When they correctly hit the trigger point, you feel the area tighten, then release. I like to call these twinges. If the spot is particularly deep, old, or tight, when the muscle contracts, it may even bend the needle (which I find fascinating)! Yes, I said needle, but let me try to ease your mind before you freak out. They are more like little pins, just like the acupuncture ones. Personally, I’m not a fan of needles; I tried acupuncture before and didn’t like it. Dry needling can change your life; it definitely changed mine! After years of a mix of chiropractic care, physical therapy, stretching, yoga, and anything else I thought might alleviate some of the pain, relax my muscles, and realign my spine. I did several sessions through a physical therapist’s office, which also allowed my insurance to cover the expense which was a life saver! Some people may only need a few sessions depending on your situation. I immediately saw huge improvements, and kept seeing them! My posture improved, various symptoms due to my nerves being compressed by my vertebres disappeared, headaches and migraines are practically nonexistent now (except for the occasional hangover..lol..), and I even grew a few inches from my lengthened and more aligned spine! Sometimes, I could feel the emotion leaving, and often people have emotional responses to the dry needling either during the session or afterwards. If you have any other questions or comments about dry needling, comment below or feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The next best thing, is to try to achieve the same muscle spasms that release trapped emotions is through either stretching or rolling on a ball. It’s a much slower process than dry needling, but basically works the same way. Through stretching, you target the spots that are giving you trouble. This can often be difficult because you have to push into the trapped areas, which you may not have been able to use those muscles in many years. I find taking deep breaths and breathing into the pain allows the muscle to relax to reach the trigger point, and you’ll know when you do! You’ll get that same muscle spasm that can be large, sometimes painful, but super gratifying afterwards. You can also use a ball, I prefer a lacrosse ball like this.
If you find yourself in constant pain, particularly in your back, I find foam rollers really helpful. I need the extra firm kind which really digs into those tough spots and loosens them up. I’ve tried all kinds of them and still wasn’t getting enough, so I finally got the RumbleRoller and I am super happy with it! I use it on my back, neck, hips, psoas, glutes and hamstrings, arms, and everything else! I love it!
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What Is Depression?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression is described as:
“A common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.” These symptoms are present for a minimum of two weeks. (Click here to continue reading: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml)
I personally think of it more as this annoying flea that has decided to latch onto me, leeching from my blood and somehow poisoning it at the same time. I’ll have a few good days, then it decides I’ve had too much of a good thing so it siphons off any feel good chemicals left from my mind and body for its own use. I’ve just made a happy bug… ugh.
Other times, it feels like a sad, lonely miserable animal that won’t stop following me around, pouring its pain into me, and I can’t escape from it no matter what I do…it always finds me. This video below is an excellent example of what depression is like, and also a great video to share to those close to you that aren’t as familiar with depression. Maybe they’ll at least stop saying things like “just get over it, pull yourself together, it’s not as bad as you think it is,” or whatever cliche insensitive crap uninformed people throw at you.
Have you ever asked yourself, who am I without depression, without anxiety, or without _______ (fill in the blank)? Most of my life, I didn’t realize or understand that I was depressed or that I struggled with depression. When I look back, all I see now is depression, insecurity, hurt and loneliness. If you’ve dealt with any kind of mental illness for a significant amount of time, whether knowingly or not, it can become part of your identity, sometimes a big part, like it did for me.
I can be overly sensitive and emotional, I can find comfort in darkness, and brood over and stew in deep unpleasant or unsettling thoughts and feelings, unable to let things go. This is normal, well at least, my normal. So many years later, these “personality traits” still remain. I have built upon them over the years and even expanded some. I use to write to vent, express myself, and connect to my emotions, thoughts and feelings. Now I still do. Some of my hobbies, interests and personality traits that may have stemmed from my depression or as a coping mechanism, was there all along. Now I can thank the darkness for giving me more meaning, depth, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, empathy, sensitivity and powerful emotional depth that would’ve been rather superficial have little value to myself and others had I not had a black dog called depression raining on me day after day throughout my life. Not everything is bad, not everyone is bad either. Where in your life can you find the good in your mental illness? How has it helped you? What has it or having to live with it taught you?
For me, it got to such a bad point that self medication and avoidance, couldn’t help me anymore. That I sought professional help, then when that wasn’t enough, more professional help, and then even more. Overtime through this process, I was forced to look at myself and my hurts of the past, which I would probably still be running from otherwise. After looking at more recent traumas, eventually I found a counselor that helped me get to the core of all of it. Who knew, most of our deepest insecurities, fears and pains often stem from childhood. Often they can be things we never considered, or things we forgot altogether, like I did. Usually though, it’s the emotions and the feelings that get stuck, and can often be the reason why out of the blue we feel down or anxious and have no clue why. It could’ve been just a brief thought, a look from someone, or a feeling that randomly popped up that took a part of you back to a moment you are still stuck in. Maybe your body/mind is trying to help you look at that memory, so you can heal from it, so you can feel it in its entirety to finally put it to rest. Through working on yourself usually through self reflection and focussing on being present the heaviness starts to lift away. One by one, those rocks and boulders fall away and break apart, and so does the depression and the anxiety. The negative thoughts start to fade as you become aware of them, challenge them and put them to the test. Take the beautiful parts with you and everything you learned. Know that you aren’t your mistakes and your diagnosis doesn’t define you. When you feel lost, alone, confused or depressed, instead of saying to yourself “Why is this happening to me?” ask yourself, “What is this trying to teach or show me?” Know that “no” is also an answer and often comes in the form of things not working out in the way we want or what we thought was what should happen. “No” is often a blessing in disguise. The universe has a clearer idea of what we need than we do! Look for the silver lining, find the message. Sometimes hard times are necessary to develop the skills, mature, learn and grow into the person we are meant to be. I know I’m not quite ready for whatever this world has planned for me yet. But, I know I was meant for something more, something bigger, and big rewards come with big challenges and struggles.
No matter where you are at in your journey, know that these feelings don’t last forever. You haven’t lost control over your mind or body. You still have a choice. Are you going to let it win or are you going to rise up? It’s easier, yes, to feel defeated and much less work. It’s easier to complain about how crappy it is or how it’s not getting better. What’s hard and why most people are stuck is because they are afraid to do the work that’s necessary for healing. In this world of everything on demand, we want our health and healing to be on demand too. Well, let me ask you…. did you get to this point overnight? I’m guessing not. Generally, it’s quite a long process. The hard part is facing your demons and dragging them out of that dark closest and into the light, and having a long hard look at them and yourself. Can you accept your faults without crucifying yourself? Can you do this with compassion for yourself but also for those that wronged you? Can you find the good in the bad, the beautiful in the ugly, and the magnificent in the ordinary?
Let me tell you something you may not have heard in a while. You matter and you are here for a reason. You are worthy of selfless love and you have it within you to love so deeply. You have so much left within you to give the world. You are strong and you are braver than you know. You are not lost. You are on a journey, and that is a beautiful thing! Embrace it!
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! I want to ask you, what have you found to be on your mind more so lately? Any particular struggles or challenges you’d like me to talk about or even just share some inspiring words on? This blog is for everyone! A community for anyone who can relate, and a safe place for anything on your mind, with a thoughtful and kind group of people that can relate and have your back. Please follow and be sure to leave a comment with any thoughts, tips, or suggestions for this blog post or future posts. Thanks for your love and support!
Peace and Love,