I want it all. I really do. I want to be free from anxiety. I want to have endless energy. I want to be fit enough to chase my kids around the yard. I want the Earth to be taken care of. I want peace. But, at the same time sometimes I want to lay on the couch all day and watch Netflix. I don’t always feel like recycling the peanut butter jar because it takes too much time. And, I want to eat a dozen donuts on the reg. Now what?
This is called cognitive dissonance. It’s defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change. .
I spent years wanting, wishing, and hoping. And that was about it. I wanted my anxiety to go away but not to the point that it interrupted anything. In college, I thought I wanted it so badly that I found a doctor who prescribed medication to help me with the constant edge. But, other than swallowing a pill (that I had no idea how to use or what it did exactly) I continued at the same lifestyle. Extremely late nights, horrible diet consisting of mostly sugar/carbs/caffiene/nicotine, massive amounts of alcohol, and zero mental work on what was causing the anxiety. It’s probably no surprise that the medication “didn’t work” and that I stopped using it-choosing my lifestyle over my mental health.
A quick google search would have done the trick. There are plenty of free resources that would have given me the sound advice that if I want to feel better I need to start with the basics. Sleep, diet (including alcohol), exercise, and mindset.
But my issues felt unsolvable and those 4 things felt too simple. So I neglected the basics and wasted years focusing on things I can’t control like what people would think, what might happen if (insert hard thing), and what chemical can I use right this second that will make these feelings go away. Cycle. Starts. Over.
When I read, May Cause Miracles I learned that the ego, the part of the brain that holds us back, is extremely convincing. It told me things like “it’s too hard” “you can’t” “you’re not good enough” “you don’t have a problem” “you will always be anxious and miserable” “stop complaining” “this is how it is” “this is life” “you are different” and so many other horrible things.
So I went on believing that small voice while ignoring the loud screams of my body telling me to stop. I brushed off the physical symptoms and justified my every move. I even went as far as to tell myself that I deserved to treat my body like shit by drinking too much, eating that extra piece of cake, and taking a break from exercise. How was that going to make me feel better?
I am no expert in health but luckily I don’t have to be. Annie Grace told me what I need to know about the effects of alcohol on my health. Gabby Bernstein has helped me realign with the understanding that doing the right the thing for myself isn’t sacrifice at all. And, I have read dozens of studies like this one and this one on the effects of sleep and diet on anxiety and depression.
I have been called a “health freak” “too sensitive” “boring” “the killer of fun” and all kinds of other things. But my “do whatever I want” lifestyle was really getting in the way of any kind of living and instead kept me complacent and stagnate.
The messages out there about basic health are complicated. We have created so many cans and can’ts, do’s and don’ts, and everything is contradictory. It can feel scary and overwhelming which is what creates so much resistance. Big business has made massive profit from trying to sell us health and wellness. No wonder we have cognitive dissonance right?!?!
Go outside. Take a walk. Drink water. Lay off the chemicals. Go to sleep. Check in with your self talk. Tell your ego to shut the f up. Learn about your medications and how to use them properly. Be honest with your therapist. Ask for help (for the love of God, ask for help!). And, if you need a friend to guide you along-I am here…..Right there with you understanding many of those horrible feelings that you think no one would understand.
I have the life that I want but I learned the hard way and that there are no short cuts. I have said it before-but I had to learn to push past what I right now and focus on what I want (which seem to always be in conflict of one another). As Rachel Hollis says, it is life or death!! When I drank I was dying. I was killing my creativity, my energy, my ability, my motivation, my relationships, my experiences, my service, and so much more.
Now, I have a clear mind, a strong body to lift the kids, more time to do things I love, and my anxiety is no longer controlling me. This isn’t saying that I feel great everyday. In fact, sometimes I have to do all this work feel meh. That sucks. But it’s nothing in comparison to how I used to live.