Here for You Zine and Resources
Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty expert level at the whole anxiety thing. The first time I finally saw a therapist, when I was 19 (22 years ago), I was diagnosed with a long list of mental health disorders including: post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disordered, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and depression. Later came some OCD, and the agoraphobia came and went a few times, but has been many years since it showed up. Between then and now, I have done a ton of work around my trauma, and utilizing some wonderful trauma therapies (like EMDR, EFT, and Internal Family Systems) while developing and honing skills to help me move through and with my anxiety. All to say, that between my lived experience and my professional work in mental health and social services, I’ve picked up some helpful tools along the way and I want to share them with you.
My hope is that zine will be a helpful resource to you when you’re feeling anxious or heading into a potential stressful situation. The tools and information I share in this book are just a few of the things that might help you move through anxiety.
With that said, I have some news for you. As much as we tend to want to get rid of Anxiety, Anxiety just wants to be our friend. I know that this can be annoying to hear, because who likes anxiety? Most folk don’t want anxiety around. At its best, Anxiety is an annoying sibling, nagging, “look at me, look at me”- at its worst, anxiety is a rhinoceros, chasing you around the roof of a skyscraper… not something with which you typically want to cuddle. However, that might be exactly want your anxiety needs.
Hear me out.
Anxiety is often our body’s way of telling us that something is off and, “please pay attention to me”. Unfortunately, anxiety doesn’t have super-evolved communication skills, and the way it talks to us is obnoxious at best. Some ways anxiety speaks in our bodies might look like: racing thoughts, distractedness, disassociation (feeling “outside” of our bodies), heart palpitations/ racing heartbeat, feeling like we can’t breathe well, perspiration, paranoia, shaking/ tremors, and so on. These can be amplified when having full-blown panic attacks. However, this communication from our Anxiety is usually just trying to tell us that there is something we need to give our attention.
Sometimes those things are basic needs, like feeding/ hydrating our body and getting enough sleep (I know, easier said than done).
Sometimes our body is reacting in ways that are holding or trying to expel nervous energy- maybe we are worried about a job interview, or a fight we had with our partner, or money…
Oftentimes, if we have experienced traumatic situations, our body holds onto the energy and can come out at some inconvenient times. Personally, I have countless experiences of feeling super-intense anxiety and not knowing why- everything around me was seeming normal and safe. However, I know now, that probably what was happening in those times is that subconsciously, old trauma was being triggered and reacting, so my body was telling me that I was unsafe, even though that wasn’t true. Our body is a good friend. Well meaning, though sometimes it misunderstands.
But that’s ok. Because there are ways that we can communicate with our anxiety and body to help regulate* our nervous system, ease the stress in our bodies, ad become grounded and present in the moment.
So - let’s do this.
XO, Your fan,