It wasn’t until recently that I learned that quite a few people I know suffer from anxiety. It was not until recently that I discovered that I am one of those people.
Disclaimer – This post was written in partnership with TELUS as part of their #TELUS_partner program. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.
This is probably one of the toughest, most honest, most raw, most revealing posts I have ever written. I’m open and honest online, but I choose to keep really personal matters private. There’s something so raw about posts like these and being vulnerable and this open is terrifying.
The interesting thing about anxiety is that for many, it’s something that is not discussed openly (or at all). There is still a stigma when it comes to issues like that. I know I struggle with trying to maintain that I’ve got everything under control all the time. In actuality, I really don’t. I’ll be honest with you. Friends, family, community members, fellow parents, and others seem to think that I’ve got my act together. Sure, I make home-cooked, from scratch meals for my family on a daily basis. I help my husband on the farm, I chauffeur my daughter to her clubs and activities. I just want to make sure my family is happy and taken care of.
I love my job and am really good at what I do. I love curating content, researching hot topics and trends, crafting posts, working on editorial calendars, engaging with clients’ followers, replying to queries, analyzing metrics/analytics, and all that jazz. In fact, I love my work to a fault. I’m a bit of a perfectionist to the point where I can’t sleep sometimes. I want to make sure my clients are always happy.
I thought for a while whether I should make this public knowledge, because this is far too personal for me to divulge, however, there’s a sense of freedom in being able to talk about things.
A few months ago, I thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke. I had really bad chest pains, I couldn’t breathe, I had a horrible headache that would not go away, I was dizzy, I felt nauseous, my hands were tingly. I really thought I was experiencing a heart attack or stroke. I told John he needed to call 911 or take me to the hospital, because I was dying!
After seeing a doctor and everything being okay, it turned out what I was experiencing was…an anxiety attack. I was in shock. How could I be experiencing anxiety? I didn’t have anxiety. I wasn’t stressed. Was I? Plus, those symptoms presented as heart attack or stroke symptoms. Right?
Living with anxiety and I didn’t even know it.
It actually makes sense though.
I did not realize that this is ME until that event in my life took place two months ago and changed everything for me. I had NO idea it was anxiety until I saw my healthcare provider. I always thought I was just:
– detail oriented (didn’t realize I was a bit obsessive and when it came to doing things, it had to be PERFECT)
– outgoing (I thought I just wanted to be inclusive and welcome everyone, not realizing I am indeed just really people pleasing to a fault)
– a go-go-go kind of person (my close friend always says I cannot just sit down and relax. I always have to be doing something. Even when it comes to having a tea and a visit, she said I cannot just sit and be still and enjoy doing nothing)
– super helpful (turns out I cannot say no to people because I don’t want to let anyone down)
– hard working (yep, basically I don’t like failure. Crazy because I tell my kid that we learn from our mistakes and failures)
– perform best under pressure (I never understood this one because I hate being under pressure. The truth is I over plan and overthink things)
– extremely loyal (I just have poor boundaries)
Now that I am aware of these issues, I am able to properly address them. That means setting boundaries, learning how to say no, and learning to put myself before others more.
I was also made aware of my triggers, and this means I need to remove myself from situations or relationships that cause my anxiety attacks. Some I cannot remove from my life completely, but I can certainly limit my interactions with those who cause me stress.
From FOMO to JOMO
Admittedly, I have always suffered from FOMO. Perhaps not exactly Fear of Missing Out, but rather not wanting to disappoint or let anyone down. I tried not to miss friends’ events because I wanted to support them. I hosted countless dinner parties and social events, because I wanted to extend my hospitality and make people realize how special they are to us. Eventually, it all takes its toll on a person’s body.
I recently discovered JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out), and am embracing my downtime. I had a chat with my 10 year old daughter and encouraged her to cut back on joining activities this year. Instead of me driving her to activities every night of the week, we will settle on two activities so I only have to drive her two nights a week.
TELUS Happiness Workshop
TELUS is a huge advocate for well-being and when I was in Vancouver with TELUS this past summer for the TELUS Creator Summit, we learned about their Happiness Workshop for a balanced digital life. TELUS puts students’ digital well-being first when it comes to their new workshop.
TELUS Wise happiness engages teen students in a conversation about building and maintaining a healthy relationship with technology and offers tips on ensuring resiliency and well-being in our connected world.
Duration: 60 minutes
Read more about what I learned at the Creator Summit here.
I’ve been learning to enjoy more time unplugged. It’s a bit challenging at times since my job is 99% online. I’m setting boundaries where I hadn’t set before. I’m spending more time enjoying just chilling out and spending time with my family. I’m learning to say no if I don’t feel up to doing things. I’m learning that it’s okay to say no. Saying no has always been a big issue for me. Again, it goes back to that people pleaser thing and not wanting to let people down. A friend told me that I need to just say no, and people will have to find someone else to do things for them or do it themselves.
I’m teaching my daughter to embrace the joy of missing out too, and that she doesn’t need to be the crazy social butterfly that she is. She wants to participate in every single activity offered, go to every single sleepover or party she is invited to, etc. She is much like her mama.
It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but I’m getting there.
I’m embracing the JOMO and kicking anxiety’s butt.
Thanks for sharing. Far more people have anxiety than you may realize. Thanks for being brave and sharing something so personal with us. Sounds like you are on the right track with the JOMO – first time I heard of that!