I couldn’t be more delighted to introduce today’s guest blogger, Jen Standing. Jen is a wellness coach and a blogger at Standing Strong Wellness. In today’s post, she brings a ton of insight to the table as she shares about her personal journey with anxiety. All I can really say is that I am so grateful for this girl, for her blog, and for the fact that our paths have magically crossed through the world of blogging!
I used to think that there was a cure for this monster I called anxiety. In my young adulthood, I yearned for answers about this thing that seemed to plague me. Determined to find the answers, I set off on the journey that’s lead me to where I am with my anxiety today.
I began a bachelors degree in Psychology with the utmost optimism that this would give me all the tools I needed to know to help people, and to help myself, to squish anxiety like a bug and no longer allow it to affect my life. In class, I would learn the names to describe many things. But without any practical knowledge, I found that these were more or less just words on paper—they didn’t mean anything to me. And when the instructors would try to explain what it was like to have anxiety, as well as potential treatments, I rolled my eyes at the obvious lack of personal experience with the issue.
When I finally graduated, I knew I wanted to connect with the community of people struggling with mental health issues up close and personal. So I volunteered on a Distress Centre call line and talked to strangers in the middle of the night about their deepest, darkest shadows. Connecting with people under such circumstances gave me insight into how vulnerable we really are as humans. I came to understand that people who struggle mentally aren’t broken, and I wasn’t either. They’re just people. Finally, I found emotions behind the words I had learned—but I still hadn’t found the cure.
Ever resilient, I used myself as a guinea pig of sorts to figure out what could help with anxiety. I noted for myself that sleep is important. And that exercise helped a lot. But surprisingly, eating a healthier diet was the number one thing that seemed to make a difference. When I ate a humungous slice of cake, I felt upset. When I ate well, I felt my very best. When I tried to explain this to people, I felt like people thought I was crazy.
When I started my Certification in Holistic Nutrition this year, I was suddenly surrounded by a group of people who believed me, and also had their own stories of how good quality foods had changed their lives too. I finally started to realize that I was onto something. Something big. And as I am closer to graduating with my certification, I realize that I am still pursuing that same dream I had years ago, but with a few extra lessons along the way… and here’s what I learned.
Anxiety is different for everyone. Our anxiety might look alike, but everyone experiences it differently.
There is no cure. There doesn’t need to be a cure. Because people with anxiety aren’t faulty. They are amazing. They have gone through some of the scariest things imaginable and get through them like the badasses they are. People with anxiety are warriors.
There are certain things that can help, but don’t try to fix an anxious person. People with anxiety don’t need to be fixed. And they don’t need someone to solve their problems. They need support while they figure out what works for them.
Lastly: having anxiety is not a curse; it’s a blessing. I’ve come to realize that for myself, and I’ve come to see that in others. It makes us strong and resilient. It makes us more sensitive, more aware, it just makes us more.
If I want to leave you with any message, it’s this: What is anxiety? Anxiety is a string that ties a bunch of awesome, ridiculous, courageous human beings together and brings us together in community. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.