My Journey With Generalized Anxiety, Why I Said “No” To Anxiety Meds & How I Cope With My Anxiety Naturally
Why I Said “No” To Meds
I have diagnosed generalized anxiety. It’s out in the open & I’m not afraid to admit it. It’s a part of my struggle with anorexia & my journey towards coming to terms with the passing of my mom. My decision to recover from my eating disorder is what helped me discover that I also have anxiety & I learned that often, the two disorders coexist.
So yes, I have anxiety but no, I never took prescribed anxiety medication, despite several professional recommendations to do so. There’s a reason for that. I didn’t just say no for fun, but rather because my eating disorder taught me a lot about the person I am. I’m a person of extremes. No matter what I commit to in life, I do it wholeheartedly, no questions asked. Sometimes, it’s a good thing, but other times, I take it too far.
I also have a very addictive personality & my eating disorder is in part a reflection of that. The control over food became such a big part of my life that I got addicted to it & guess what? Eating disorders are addictions just like any other (think: gambling, alcohol, drugs & prescription medication). I don’t think I need to tell you that addictions can be dangerous.
Anxiety-related disorders affect a huge portion of our population; to number crunch a bit: about 40 million adults (18%) in the United States aged 18 and older suffer from them. In response, Big Pharma has developed numerous drugs to treat anxiety-related disorders, from selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft to tranquilizers (the most popular being benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax). While these drugs can be effective for many, some people just don’t respond to them favourably. Some don’t see an improvement in quality of life, others can’t tolerate the side effects & some tranquilizers can be addictive.
As hard as it was to turn down medication that I was told would make my anxiety more bearable & lessen the burden it put on my life, I knew I had to refuse. The second one pill hit my lips & made me feel better, I knew I’d get hooked on the feeling because let’s be honest, anxiety is NO FUN. So I said no & I found ways to cope with it alternatively.
I can’t say there’s one thing that helped alone. It’s a combination of therapy, grief counselling, exercise, mind work, positive self-talk reading, writing, TALKING about it, facing it instead of repressing it & adaptogenic herbs & supplements. This is what works FOR ME.
If you do take anxiety medication, I am not here to condone or put down your decisions. If it works for you, that’s what matters! I’m simply sharing my experience & what has been effective for me. When it comes to your decision about whether or not to take anxiety medication, you need to ask yourself if it’s conducive to your overall health & well-being SUBJECTIVELY, irrespective of what others tell you & how they say it improved or impacted their life.
I went through a lot of trial & error, reading & educating myself in order to learn about alternative remedies to coping with anxiety, but more importantly, to find the remedies & adopt the lifestyle habits that worked to help ME cope with MY anxiety. No two people experience anxiety the same way. You know yourself best & it’s not because something works for someone else that it’ll work for you & vice versa. It’s important that you get to know yourself & make your decision in response to that.
What I Continue To Say “Yes” To
Therapy was the stepping stone to getting my life back, recovering from my eating disorder & facing my anxiety. It took me a while to accept that I really wanted & needed it. Like most people, I thought it made me weak, vulnerable & helpless & symbolized that I couldn’t deal with my issues on my own. The thought of sitting in front of a complete stranger to talk about everything I was going through seemed awkward because I myself couldn’t even grasp, let alone understand what was going on in my mind.
Then it hit me. I reached my “WTF” moment. I realized I was slowly killing myself & I finally had to do something about it to save my life. That turning point NEEDS to happen for you to realize that turning to therapy (& other things that we’ll get to later) actually makes you strong. Your strength is in your ability to recognize you need professional expertise.
Through therapy, I realized that it’s okay to take care of myself first, the importance of taking my health into my own hands, doing what’s best for me & the value in positive self-talk. It helped me figure out my triggers & gave me the tools to work through & rise above them. That’s a lot more than I can say for myself at my rock bottom.
But it’s not enough to have the tools… I HAD TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN USING THEM TO FIX WHAT WAS BROKEN. Put it this way: If you have a tool box in your garage & tons of things in your home need fixing but you don’t actually use the tools, those things will remain BROKEN. The same goes for your mental health. Therapy is the first step but it isn’t everything.
Seeking therapy means you recognize you’ll probably have to play the most active role & dedicate A LOT of time to the most important relationship you’ll ever have: THE ONE WITH YOURSELF. Nobody will fix or heal that relationship for you. Nobody will reorient your thoughts or fix what’s broken if you’re not ready to do that for yourself.
Therapy provides an objective perspective. Sure, your friends & family love you & want to be there for you but they have a subjective viewpoint on what you are going through. Therapy, on the other hand, is a blank slate. As long as you are 100% honest with your therapist, you have the opportunity to recant a story that your therapist can look at objectively & apply professional knowledge to help you uncover the root causes of, how you can link it to past traumatic experiences, personalty traits, social, cultural background & understand your triggers & how to face them differently & in a way that isn’t detrimental to your health.
When you understand where the anxiety comes from, you are better suited to face it head strong, come to terms with it, understand yourself, alter your thought processes, become more mentally strong & develop a higher threshold to control your reactions when faced with triggers or stressful situations.
All this to say, therapy is great, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH. If you don’t use the understanding & tools therapy gives you to react & respond to your triggers in a different way, you will remain where you are & your mental stability will remain unchanged. Point is, you need to be ready to actively participate in therapy, implement what you learn & apply it to your life. It’s not enough to sit on a couch in front of a professional if you don’t take anything home with you (figuratively, obviously).
I know, you think I’m crazy. Am I really suggesting you should sit down & talk to yourself? Yes. It’s probably one of the most beneficial exercises & everyone practices it in a different way. If you have to, sit in front of a mirror and talk to yourself. If it works for you to journal, blog or write down your thoughts, do that. If it works for you to just sit & reflect, meditate, or participate in a yoga class, do that. You need to find what works for you to help reorient your thoughts.
Nobody, NOT EVEN A THERAPIST, has the ability to reorient your thought processes. Reality is, your thoughts control your actions. If you are not actively working to take control back from whatever is controlling you & your thoughts & if you don’t recognize that you have the power & ability to dominate how you react to triggers, therapy won’t serve you much. Think of it this way: if you’re in recovery from an eating disorder & you come up with a realistic meal plan with a nutritionist & you go home and go back to your safe foods or starve yourself all over again, what’s the point of the meal plan? Sure, it exists. But, if it’s not being implemented, its existence means nothing
In the beginning of recovery, there were days where I lay in bed for hours on end talking to myself & fighting with my anxious thoughts. They told me one thing & I had to tell them something else. It’s not easy, but it’s doable & with time, it gets easier. One thing I learned is that what facilitates it (& makes it less awkward) is to engage in an activity that relaxes your mind that you can associate with self-talk. Whether it be cooking, baking, walking, blogging, listening to music, meditating, yoga, etc… find an activity that you can associate wth self-talk. Just like therapy, you’ll only see the value in positive self-talk when you actually begin to do it & see results.
Eventually, self-talk will help you realize & see the worth in cultivating & building your relationship with yourself where you feel happiest in your skin & trust yourself more than anyone in this world. Reality is, YOU ARE ALL YOU’VE GOT. Of course, your family & friends love and support you wholeheartedly but you need to love & support yourself too. If you don’t do that for yourself, nobody else will do it for you. If you want others to believe in you, you must first believe in yourself.
Today, exercise is one of the primary ways I cope with my anxiety. Prescribed anxiety medications were recommended to me more times than I can count & I won’t lie, I wanted them. I wanted them because I wanted the anxiety to go away FAST & I was wiling to do anything to make it go away faster. I’m human & we all want things instantaneously. Every time I thought it through, I realized that my addictive personally wouldn’t be conducive to me eventually getting off the meds & coping with my anxiety on my own. And so, every time, I hesitantly said no.
I turned to exercise instead. I hoped for exercise to help me be able to work through my emotions & take myself away from the things distracting & triggering me. And guess what? IT CHANGED MY LIFE.
Today, exercise is the one thing that really helps sustain & maintain my mental clarity & stability & keep me grounded. It’s also no secret that some days, working out is the ONLY thing that lifts my spirits, takes me away from the negativity my eating disorder tries to sneak back into my life & allows me to disconnect from my thoughts.
There are days where I walk into a workout feeling like I’m about to cave & give my anxiety the upper hand, but just an hour or two later, I walk out of that same workout with the upper hand, feeling on top of the world, knowing my purpose & commending myself for all the hard work I’ve done to get this far. That’s what I call EFFECTIVE THERAPY.
I’m not saying that everyone who has anxiety will find solace, comfort or inner peace through exercise. No two people experience anxiety in the same way, in the same way that no two people will cope with it the same. But, this is what works for me.
I like to see every workout as a place of starting over & bettering myself not only physically, but mentally & emotionally. I’m no longer in a place where I fear relapse because I know that relapsing means I lose all my progress, mental stability & physical strength and abilities.
Working out also provides a release for me & helps me let go of all the thoughts preoccupying my mind & weighing me down. When I work out, it’s just me & the spin bike, me & the punching bag & me & my dumbbells. I try not to focus on ANYTHING else, I find peace in the silence & I work out my struggles in my head. Yes, the thoughts still come back but they’re easier to cope with.
Exercise also taught me so many things that are worth far more than the way I look. It taught me that if I can pull through the physical struggle of a workout & how strenuous it is, I can also pull through mental struggle. It made me view challenge from a different perspective. Physical & mental challenge are no longer things I hate or resent & think I can’t do, but rather things I’m ready for & want to tackle with determination & resilience. I now view challenge as an opportunity to be better, do better & for growth & I see the value in small victories. Every time I could do something I couldn’t do a week, month or two months ago, the small physical victory allowed me to realize that small victories mentally are just as important, if not even more. And so, I began to view every little victory in recovery as a success & accomplishment & this helped push me farther in my journey. I learned to appreciate life, the little things.
Today, I can say with utmost certainty that exercise is the main way I find release. As I mentioned earlier, it’s about so much more than how I look & I always say this, if you’re committed to a routine, physical results will come naturally because it’s a consistent part of your life. BUT, the mental aspect is so much more important & will provide you with a sense of self-love & worth, a feeling of control over your mind & thoughts.
BONUS: Research has also shown that physical activity helps improve sleep quality, reduces inflammation, boosts confidence, builds a mind-body-soul connection, provides a form of self-love & care, improves energy levels & eases stress & tension. Things like yoga can also help promote relaxation & involve deep breathing techniques that help reduce stress & muscle tension in the body & mind.
One of my favourite workouts for coping with anxiety is boxing. Hitting the bag gives me a satisfying feeling & is the perfect release for anger, frustration & stress; it also physically produces a response in the body that relieves tension caused by stress (I feel this tension most in my lower back when I get really anxious or stressed out).
Boxing also helps in other ways:
- builds self-efficacy, self-confidence & nurtures my ability to trust that I can handle any challenge, physical or mental.
- being present in the moment & on my toes gets me out of my head & into my body. It truly feels like an out of body experience & while the workout is wild, it’s so soothing on the mind.
- provides a really intense rush of endorphins, which helps boost mood, makes me feel happier & less stressed.
- the fact I’m so concentrated on my balance, coordination & getting into a flow for my punching sequence means I take my mind off everything else. I’m able to concentrate outwardly rather than inwardly & use my energy to do something satisfying rather than stress! The larger picture is that it gives me a fresh perspective to be able to deal with the things in my life that are burdening me.
- unlike other exercises that are used for anxiety (such as yoga, where I find I really have to focus on poses), boxing gives me no time to think about anything but punching so I really get to disconnect. PS. I’m not saying yoga isn’t effective to cope with anxiety, stress or any other mental health issues, it just doesn’t work for me!
Ashwagandha & other adaptogens
Adaptogens are calming, soothing herbs used in Chinese & Ayurvedic medicine to help boost energy, balance hormones & relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, adrenal fatigue, etc. Adaptogenic herbs boost mood & revitalize the body, mind & soul without the side effects & withdrawal symptoms experienced with prescribed anxiety medication (these symptoms can be even more intense for people with addictive personalities).
Ashwagandha is my adaptogen of choice, but I’ve tried many others & still take some others in powder form, such as; chaga, reishi, cordyceps & Ginseng. Adaptogens act to hep the body to be able to respond to physiological, emotional, physical, environmental stressors, external or internal, that trigger anxiety & affect the adrenal glands and nervous system. They help the body be better able to respond to stress and anxious situations by helping the body reach a state of homeostasis.
If your body is not producing enough hormones to be able to respond to these stressful situations, it will produce more. But, if your body is over-producing these hormones, they have the ability to suppress stimulatory hormones that might be stimulating the stress & anxiety & making you feel it more than the average person would. in this way, the body reaches a state of balance, where it’s able to cope with triggers, anxiety, stress & remain calm, both in the physical state & mental state. If your adrenal glands are overactive, they will calm it; if your adrenal glands are under active, they will activate hormones needed to make them function optimally.
Ashwaganda also protects the brain from degeneration & works to improve anxiety symptoms by destroying free radicals that cause damage to the brain & body. It has a very calming and relaxing effect & can also contribute to lifting mood, reducing fatigue, improving focus, sleep & immune function!
My anxiety has improved SUBSTANTIALLY since I started incorporating ashwagandha. It has also helped me be more logical & less impulsive, to control my thoughts and to not let the anxiety get to a point where it takes over me & where I can’t control my attacks. The triggers are still there, but I know how to respond to them & that makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Realizing & accepting that I suffer from anxiety wasn’t easy. It took a few years for me to come to terms with it, face it head strong & find ways to live with it so that it didn’t put a burden on my everyday life. I knew it was there. But I repressed it.
My anxiety made me feel inadequate & convinced me that something was wrong with me. It made me feel like I was different & that it was a bad thing. I felt like I’d never be able to live without it putting a damper on my life. But truth is, through therapy & positive self-talk, I learned that my anxiety didn’t have to be more powerful than me if I didn’t let it.
My anxiety doesn’t make me inadequate. I’m able to live with it. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me. It just means certain things, people & events trigger a rush of emotions in my body & mind at a more intense level than they would someone else. The key to coping with my anxiety is understanding what those triggers are & how I can respond to them in a way that calms & lessens the intensity of the emotion they bring about. It’s a process. Before you can understand your triggers, you must first acknowledge that the anxiety is there. That’s the hardest part. But it’s the crux.
As difficult as it is, try to shift your mindset. When I began to see my anxiety as a blessing in disguise & a way for me to face & sort out emotions I repressed for years, I realized the value in admitting it was there all along.
You need to reach a point in your life where you accept your reality & know that whatever you are going through, there is a reason for it. You might not know the reason today, tomorrow, in a year or two. But, true acceptance can only happen when you know there is a bigger greater cause & purpose for what you are going through. Whatever journey you’re on, you’re on it to build a better you, a better tomorrow & a better future for yourself. There are things you need to learn in this journey, right now, in this moment, that will lead to your better tomorrow.
Easier said than done, right? I KNOW!! Acceptance is one of the hardest things to do. We hate to have to accept things beyond our control, things that don’t go our way. But, that’s life. Things sometimes don’t go our way for a reason & that reason is a greater good.
How do you accept losing your mom & best friend? How do you accept a divorce? How do you accept that you will constantly have to fight triggers & eating disorder thoughts? You accept them because they are blessings in disguise & are there to teach you valuable lessons, to teach you to be strong, to allow for personal growth. These are things you will come to know only once you shift your mindset to BELIEVE in them. Once you do, you accept & only once you accept will you be able to tackle the issue, illness, disorder, struggle in a real & genuine way & get to a place where you truly want to get better.
Acceptance goes hand in hand with therapy & positive self-talk and motivating yourself to reorient your thoughts. In order to accept, you need to know that what you’re going through gets better but also that what you’re going through is there and is your reality. Instead of suppressing it and repressing it, face it. I speak from experience when I say that inevitably, repression comes to the surface one day or another. Your body eventually reaches a point where it can’t take it anymore.
So when something happens, GRIEVE & do so properly. Eat the chocolate. Bawl your eyes out. Eat the tub of ice cream. Do what you have to do to let the emotions out. Once you let them out, know that the emotion is harboured within you & you need to feel it every now & then if it comes to the surface. DON’T REPRESS IT. Feel the sadness when you have to. Take something from every experience & ask yourself what it taught you.
CBD oil is the most recent addition to my routine, but also what seems to be one of the most effective. I know, you’re probably thinking, there’s lots of controversy regarding CBD because of its source: the cannabis plant. Whether or not you try it is a personal choice. I was skeptical about trying it at first, but based on the results so far, I’m so happy I took the leap of faith.
I take it without THC (the naturally occurring compound in cannabis that produces psychoactive effects) & diluted with MCT oil but there are many types & strengths based on what you’re looking to accomplish. I prefer taking it without THC as it doesn’t have a psychoactive effect & research has shown THC can actually trigger anxiety in people who are already prone to it, induce sleep & increase appetite, whereas CBD on its own doesn’t have these effects.
CBD works for anxiety & other mental health disorders for a few reasons, but before we dive in, it’s important to mention that most research describing how CBD works is pre-clinical & based on animal studies. Mice are not men & results from animal studies don’t always neatly transfer to human therapies, but pre-clinical research provides insight that moves us in the right direction.
- Anxiety & depression are often treated with meds that target the serotonin production system (this is where the term SSRIs comes from, also known as, serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, such as Prozac & Zoloft). They work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, which increases availability of serotonin in the synaptic space. This helps brain cells transmit more serotonin signals, which can reduce anxiety and boost mood in certain case.
- Similar to SSRIs, but in a completely natural way, CBD targets the serotonin production system. Animal studies show that CBD enhances the transmission of 5-HT1A & may affect serotonin more than SSRIs. Researchers have even noted that the anti-anxiety effects of CBD would solve some of the main limitations of current antidepressant therapies.
- The hippocampus is a major brain area, and plays a critical role in a variety of brain functions. It’s most famous for its role in memory formation and cognition. Brain scans of patients suffering from depression or anxiety often show a smaller hippocampus, and successful treatment of depression is associated with the birth of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus. Animal studies show that repeated administration of CBD helps the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which can be useful for treating anxiety & depression.
- Brazilian researchers conducted a small double-blind study of patients suffering from generalized social anxiety. After consuming CBD, participants reported a significant decrease in anxiety. Researchers validated patients’ subjective reports by performing brain scans showing cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with an anti-anxiety effect.
- In another small study, patients suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder perform a simulated public speaking test. Participants reported significantly less anxiety, findings supported by objective anxiety indicators like heart rate and blood pressure. Researchers concluded, “[CBD] significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance,” whereas the placebo group experienced “higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, [and] discomfort.”
- While more research, including large randomized-control trials (RCTs) is needed to examine the long-term effects and potential for CBD, its demonstrated efficacy and highly favourable safety profile (particularly when compared to currently available drugs) make it a viable alternative or adjunct to currently available pharmaceuticals.
Aside from making anxiety more manageable, some of the other benefits of CBD include:
- soothing symptoms of OCD, depression, panic disorder, insomnia & PTSD
- anti-inflammatory & pain relief
- fights cancer due to antioxidant content
- relieves nausea
- helps treat neurological disorders
- heart & respiratory health
- gut healing
Writing, blogging & sharing my story
Sharing my story through my blog & my Instagram account & being open about my struggles with anxiety, grief, divorce & anorexia after years of repressing my truths has been the most rewarding experience of my life. It has allowed me to explore sides of myself that I did not even know existed, allowed me to create friendships with people I cherish without even having met them face to face, to help others going through the same thing as me & to vocalize my thought processes & emotions instead of doing what I used to do best: repressing them until I explode.
Writing blog posts, whether they be about health & nutrition, fitness, recipes or about my struggles in general is also very calming & really helps me disconnect & soothe my mind. It also provides a huge release to be able to get my thoughts down on paper & work through them.
If you haven’t already, check out my Instagram @kellyinthektich for daily vlogs, health & nutrition tips, holistic & alliterative remedies for common issues that we all deal with, fitness motivation, eating disorder recovery tips, struggles & information, anxiety-related posts & beauty & skincare reviews.
Eating a clean & well-balanced diet full of important nutrients & vitamins, like B-vitamins, magnesium & omega-3s can make an almost immediate difference in your mood, energy levels & sleep patterns!
There is definitely a connection between diet choices & psychology, physiology & behaviour. Consuming too many or too little calories can increase anxiety symptoms & other emotional disorders. Poor diet can also lead to many anxiety symptoms, such as moodiness, fatigue, abnormal blood sugar levels, which cause nervousness & jitters.
For these reasons, eating anti-inflammatory foods can be a good start as a natural remedy for anxiety because they are important for the neurotransmitters responsible for synthesizing & balancing mood & stress response.
It’s also super important to eat healthy fats, unrefined carbs & lean protein, as well as vitamin B & magnesium-rich foods, foods high in calcium & omega-3s. Here some ideas of brain-healthy foods to incorporate: wild-caught fish, salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, chicken, nutritional yeast, eggs, fermented yogurt/kefir, leafy greens such as spinach, kale & collard greens, fresh veggies (celery, broccoli, beets), fresh fruits (blueberries, pineapple & bananas), healthy fats (avocado, coconut & olive oil), beans (black beans, chickpeas, fave beans), legumes (lentils & peas), nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans), seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp) & unrefined grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, farro, freekeh, amaranth & gluten-free oats.
What you choose not to eat is just as important as what you choose to eat. In general, but more importantly, if you suffer from a diagnosed mental health condition, it’s important to avoid sugary & processed foods!
Foods that have a high glycemic index can contribute to or worsen symptoms of anxiety & depression. This is because sugar & refined carbs can lead to blood sugar highs & lows throughout the day, which often trigger anxiety, lead to nervousness & fatigue, mood swings & highs & lows in energy levels, making it harder to get anxiety symptoms in check. They also contribute to inflammation & alter the brain structure & neurotransmitter function. Try your best to stay away from refined foods, such as pastries & cookies, sweetened beverages, fast & fried foods, processed meat & refined grains, as well as partially hydrogenated oils.
Lastly, if you notice that you consume a lot of coffee throughout the day, to the point where you might just be abusing it, try to cut back & replace your coffee with raw cacao or matcha. You’ll still get a similar energy-boosting effect without the crash & fall & it’ll take less of a toll on your adrenal glands, which are intrinsically related to levels of stress, anxiety & the way the body responds to them.
Research has shown that magnesium deficiency can increase symptoms of anxiety & depression. Magnesium helps relax our muscles & is vital to help regulate certain hormones that are crucial for calming the nervous system. The reason for this is because when our magnesium levels are deficient, cortisol levels soar.
Briefly, cortisol is a stress hormone & for optimal health, our bodies need to be able to maintain regular & balanced levels of it. Too much cortisol, which is generally triggered by stress &/or anxiety is obviously not a good thing. BUT, if we don’t have enough, our bodies are unable to handle stress & anxiety effectively. Taking magnesium supplements daily helps balance cortisol levels & keep them in check so our bodies can respond to stress OPTIMALLY!
Magnesium also helps with promoting healthy digestion & reducing muscle soreness.
TIP: When looking for a supplement, look for magnesium citrate, chelate & chloride, which are forms that our bodies absorb better. (I take citrate!).
B vitamins are essential for proper energy production & stress management. They serve as a natural remedy for anxiety because they work to boost mood, balance blood sugar levels & maintain a healthy nervous system.
Keep in mind that ALL 8 FORMS OF B-vitamins are necessary for proper brain functioning. Interestingly, research has shown that those suffering from anxiety &/or depression have lower levels of all B-vitamins.
When looking for a B-complex vitamin, always make sure that it is made without ANY synthetic or artificial colours & fillers & that it contains all 8 forms (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12).
Two of the most important B-vitamins for anxiety are B-6 & B-12.
Symptoms of B6-deficiency include anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings, muscle pains & fatigue.
B12 is essential for fighting chronic stress, mood disorders & depression. It also helps improve concentration, energy levels & allows the nervous system to function properly. (So many of us are deficient in B12, because we eliminate so many of the foods that contain it from our diet, sometimes, for very good reasons (such as red meat) & the issue is that when we are not compensating for that with other foods high in B12 or proper supplementation, we end up being deficient!
Vitamin D deficiency is actually a common occurrence in most people (especially during the winter due to the fact that in most climates, our skin is unable to absorb the sun’s rays & convert them into vitamin D from October-April).
Vitamin D, however, plays a vital role in mental health & well-being. In fact, people suffering from seasonal affective disorder or depression during the winter months have been found to have very low vitamin D levels during this time. Unfortunately, anxiety is often a symptom of said disorders & recent studies have shown that vitamin D has receptors in the brain that play a part in overall mentality & mood.
When buying a vitamin D supplement, always make sure that it’s a combination of vitamin D3 (the type our skin naturally produces when exposed to natural sunlight) & K2, which helps prevent over calcification & ensures proper absorption of the vitamin.
I hope this post was helpful! This is just me being really honest with you guys about my mental health issues, ups, downs & struggles & sharing what has worked for me. I’m still not 100% there & I don’t know if I or anyone ever will be. I believe we are ALL on our own personal journeys, and those journeys are constant. We all have our struggles & this is why it’s so important to be kind & to help one another out whenever possible!
None of these things have cured my anxiety entirely. I still get anxious. I still get triggered. I still have attacks every now & then. But, it’s not about finding a 360 permanent fix. It’s about constantly working to build & strengthen the most important relationship in the world. There’s only ONE relationship that’s forever permanent throughout the entirety of your life & it’s your relationship with YOURSELF. If it’s tainted with feelings of self-hate, negativity, guilt, dislike & emotional distance, every relationship around you suffers. My message to you today & always is to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF & do what you need to do to find mental stability.
What does your mental health need for you to feel your best? WHATEVER IT IS, PRACTICE IT. Even if it’s scary. Even if you’re unsure. Even if you don’t know if it’ll work. Take a chance. Be open-minded to alternative ways, whether they be exercise-related, natural herbs/supplements &/or mindfulness.
At the end of the day, what helps you cope doesn’t have to be the norm, standard or what helps your brother, sister or best friend. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive therapy, most complicated mind work or most peaceful meditation session. What matters is that what helps you cope is EFFECTIVE enough to let you TAKE CONTROL of the anxiety as opposed to letting it CONTROL you.