There is this notion by some, that it’s a lack of discipline and you can just control it. That’s not true. My anxiety is felt no matter what I do. When I say I am good at controlling it, what I really mean is, I’m good at dealing with it. I should probably stop saying that I “control” it, and start saying I “deal with it”. I literally have no control over how I feel, when it comes, how long it stays, or how intense it is. Anxiety does what it does. However, I do have control over how I manage it. Improving the situation and my attitude greatly improves the severity and length of my anxiety. So, now I’ll talk more about how I actually deal with it.
The hardest and best thing I ever did was changing my life and my attitude. Don’t misunderstand… I am still 100% me, more so than I ever was before. I decided that I didn’t like being unhappy and that I was going to fix it myself. I started to be 100% real… I love toys and cartoons, I believe animals are people, I am who I am and accept me. As I stopped catering to “normalcy” and accepting what I love and who I am, I started to love myself. My boyfriend at the time went through a lot with me. He stayed at my side through some of the darkest times, the poorest times, the sickest times (hospitals and all), and I have to say that the end rewards have been beautiful. We’ve been together for 13 years and we’re happier than we’ve ever been.
The first thing we had to do, was cut people out of our lives. We even moved to a new state. We were alone for a long while. We chose our friends carefully, and only had one really good friend, who is still like a brother to us. Then we made a couple of more good friends. Over all of this time, we chose to have a better attitude. We did a lot of talking and debating, and we collaborated on what we felt was the right attitude, the right discussions, the right reactions. This is probably why my husband and I are on the same page most of the time. We decided that we don’t have separate friends. I hated the idea of husband and wife having separate social lives. I want my husband to be my best friend literally. I want to have friends together and truly live our lives together. This was a fantastic decision. Because we share friends, people don’t typically pick sides and mettle in our relationship, because they care about both of us. It means we can get a more unbiased opinion from our friends. It means that neither one of us feels left out or lonely. Today, we have regular social events on Fridays and Saturdays. Yesterday, after my dentist visit, my hubby said our friends wanted to go to Buffalo Wild Wings, but that he won’t go if I want him home for support. They even offered for me to go too, if I felt up to it. I thought about it, but I was exhausted. I was actually feeling alright, so I told him to go have fun with our friends. This gave me time to write about the anxiety and the dentist visit without interruption. It’s not that he needs my permission to go out, it’s that he didn’t want to go without me if I needed him ❤ It’s not to say that we need permission to go out, it’s that we like to go out together. If he wants to go out and I don’t, that’s perfectly acceptable – no permission needed. However, we don’t have “guys/girls night out” in which we actively exclude each other. That’s just shitty.
We have several great friends. This took us years to accomplish, but it’s so worth it. Surrounding ourselves with stable, happy, good people made a world of difference. This helps quell anxiety when he’s out without me, because he’s with people I like and trust too.
On that same note, changing our attitudes was a hard and lengthy process. Granted, we’ve become more cautious and far less tolerant of drama and crappy friends. However, the fact that we discuss things is gold. When you sit down with your spouse and talk about how you feel, what you think, and what the best course of action is, things go smoothly about 90% of the time. I feel that we make better choices, we’re more realistic, and we’re more positive. As strange as it sounds, being more positive and less tolerant actually does work together.
So while I can’t control my anxiety or every situation, we control our lives. We control who we associate with. We control how we act. We put forth more effort into rewarding our friends, showing them we care, and think about their feelings and needs. We’ve learned to be better friends, better people, and even better pet owners.