At contourandconfessions we want to approach the idea of beauty blogging from a different angle than most. We are firm believers that beauty starts from the inside…out, which is how we derived the name “contourandconfessions”. An educative combination of both beauty and wellness tips. We hope to reach out to our readers in a way that helps them achieve both inner and outer beauty, with a focus on total body wellness and a sense of self.
Being that we both suffer from different forms of anxiety, we decided that this disorder will be our first “confession” post. So here goes nothing.
Chelsea’s personal experience:
I have always openly discussed my struggle with anxiety – simply because I know that there are a lot of people out there who can relate. However, I have never really opened up about w h y it is I suffer from it. Throughout my life I have always had to remain resilient, stay strong, keep it together, & keep pushing during some of the worst of times imaginable. You can ask anyone who knows me personally, & they will tell u that, that is one my defining characters: strength. I even have it tattooed on me. But having that strength and resilience is the same reason is why I have never really expressed the causing factors behind my anxiety. That would involve me removing my tough outer shell or “suit of armor” to do so. I have never been the type to seek sympathy from others, throw myself pity parties, or play the victim. But sadly enough, that mindset and disassociation with my reality – is the exact reason why I suffer from generalized/panic disorder anxiety.
At 25, I’ve been through a lot and I’ve seen a lot. Adoption, suffered from child abuse up until the age of 15, experienced tragic deaths and homicides within my family, seen my father in and out of prison & nearly shot to death outside my home, countless physical altercations, anger management classes, mental abuse from partners, trust issues, severe health issues – & the list goes on. But, all of these are things I rarely discuss or choose to identify with.
Why – I have always took on this mentality of keeping it together and being strong for everyone around me before being strong for myself. I’m the oldest sibling and the oldest grandchild so at times I feel obligated to do so. But the truth is – most times I’m really dying inside. The whole “sweep it under the rug” approach I have adapted over the years has really caught up to me more so now than ever that I am in my adulthood years.
Feel & release.
If your’re going to worry don’t pray. If your’re going to pray, don’t worry.
When I really sit and put it all into perspective I’ve suffered from anxiety to a degree all of my life. I can remember in elementary school getting hives every year when it came time for EOG’s (yall remember those? #throwback) – anxiety
Up until I was 13-14 yrs. old I would get deathly sick every year during Christmas time, like clockwork. (too much excitement. too many people. overwhelmed) – anxiety
My last year and half of college, I suffered from extremely bad insomnia combined with intense itching and obsessive picking disorder. Dr’s tried to prescribe me different medications that did not work, insisting it was related to other healthcare issues. – it was really just my anxiety
As I have gotten older my anxiety has took a turn for the worst. I now occasionally experience full blown panic/anxiety attacks that either end in; me fearing I need to go to the ER due to shortness of breath, nose bleeds, vomiting, or crying uncontrollably until I pass out into a deep sleep. Once it got to these extremes, I had no choice but to do something about it. But that is how exactly how anxiety & most other mental disorders work. We disassociate so much with what is we have going on at the moment and don’t identify with it. We don’t express it. We bottle up tons of emotions. And, mentally – we clock out. Until: our body gives us a wake-up call. My panic attacks are really just my body’s way of telling me, bih: #getyourlife. Don’t make this mistake. This is why it’s so important to listen to your body. It relates a lot back to our message in Massage: 101 about really being at one with yourself and being connected and in tune with your body.
So how do I cope: Meditation has saved my life. I had to quickly learn to be able to be comfortable and alone in my own company and really be at one with my thoughts. Being in tune and connected to your thoughts is the easiest way to learn how to control them. Meditating, for me is so helpful, because I literally have moments where I have to tell myself to stop thinking. just S T O P. I used to consider myself a “metacognitive” thinker until i realized this form of thinking was always associated with my anxiety. Constantly thinking about what I’m thinking. Thinking about why I’m thinking about what I’m thinking. Wondering what everyone else is thinking. And playing out the 5.6345657 billion outcomes – in my head that can arise from just one situation. You catch my drift.
It’s one thing to have those anxious moments and feelings of being overwhelmed – but to be in a constant state of it is a whole different ball game. It is physically and mentally draining. (which is why I sleep like a newborn, and I do mean sleep, and I mean anywhere – like i will deadass sleep in the club. yes i have done that in real life) But all jokes aside, it is a full time job alongside just merely trying to exist.
My message to everyone is: It’s okay to be strong & be there for others, but there also comes a time where you have to be selfish with yourself. Love yourself properly first. Most importantly, do away with the facade that showing or expressing emotions shows weakness. That could not be any further from the truth. If you or someone you know is at their weakest – it is only because they have been way too strong for way too long.
others tips for overcoming anxiety:
- adult coloring books
- aromatherapy (lavender)
- daily affirmations/crystal healing
*As you may or may not know, most prescribed medications for mental disorders are dependency drugs, highly addictive, and only temporarily relieve the suffering and do not cure the illness. Here are two vitamin supplements I like to keep close by that help reduce my symptoms :)*
Joelle’s personal experience:
Imagine this: you get behind the wheel of your car, buckle your seat belt,
adjust your mirrors, look behind you, pull back the gear shift, and pull off
to your intended location. Piece of cake, right? Well imagine trying to
do so every single day, but having the overwhelming feeling that
something terrible is going to happen… the thought that your entire life is no longer
in your control.
Still not clear enough?
Imagine getting in your car & having to take a deep breath (several in my
case) and literally having to talk yourself through every step of the way.
You check your mirrors an average of 4 times before you even contemplate
pulling off. You have a mini-concert in your car before you can even
imagine the idea of sharing the road with tons of other people.
Oh and don’t even get me started on the idea, or actual state of being on the highway. My chest feels soooo tight – that at any moment I feel like I may pass out behind the wheel. Sounds crazy, and sometimes I even wonder myself, if I am. But this is what my anxiety does to me.
What comes natural to others on a day-to-day basis, can be the biggest of struggles for someone suffering from any form of anxiety.
I remember the first time I ever had a panic attack while driving. I
was like 15 or 16 years old. I had my driver’s permit and my family was
on our way to visit my Grandmother. Well, my mom asked if I wanted to
drive, & of course being the excited teenager I was, I was 100% ready to get
behind the wheel…(or so I thought). My mom & I change seats. I check my
mirrors and make sure everyone has on their seat belt. Then, I begin to take
off for the highway. All of a sudden this overwhelming gut-wrenching
feeling (totally out of my control) comes over my body. All the cars
around me were going what to seemed to be at NASCAR speed. It felt like they were going around behind, beside, and all around me. I literally felt like I was going to
throw up. I couldn’t breath. Immediately, I wanted to stop the car in
the middle of the road. I started crying, and pleading with my mom to
“Please, tell me what to do!” I had never felt so embarrassed in my life. Not
only did I feel totally responsible for every one in the car. But I
felt like a punk ass, biotch!
That was the first time anxiety hit
Me, myself – I’ve always been the nice,
sweet, wear-my-heart-on my sleeve, type of girl. I
took my friendships, family, boyfriends, etc. very seriously. I treated everyone
with so much respect and love that I didn’t even recognize when someone
wasn’t showing me the same. I’ve always prided myself on my
relationships with people, mostly because I’ve always felt like I could
literally FEEL what other people are feeling. Overly-sensitive, so to speak. I
legit feel everything, and carrying along my feelings, along with other people’s feelings has made for: an overwhelmed Joelle.
Years of carrying and keeping those types of feelings bottled up over time has took it’s toll on me.
…And then things got worse:
July 2015, I was working as a bartender. To keep a long story short – I was
robbed at gun point, and locked away in a freezer with my co-workers. Needless to say, my life hasn’t been the same since. Shortly thereafter, I was diagnosed
with PTSD and anxiety. I was experiencing little to NO sleep. I feared
people behind me, or walking near or close to me. It made my heart beat so fast, sometimes, that I literally
feel like it was going to explode. From there, I started recognizing how bad my
hands would ache after I had been driving (from gripping the wheel so
tight) ..that still continues to this day.
I say all this to say: I can’t tell you what experience it is that
exactly triggered my anxiety, or if I have had it my entire life.
But what I can tell you for a fact, is that my anxiety is 100% real.
Anxiety comes in all forms and it’s not a cry for attention. It’s an issue
that has been brought on by experiences that we as humans go through.
Although, I can’t tell you how to treat it – I can share my
story, and hopefully let someone else who feels exactly like me know:
that it’s ok. You are not alone. The first step is identifying with it. The next step is finding
a solution that works best for YOU.
Here are some things I do to help with my anxiety:
- Adult coloring books
- Crystal Healing
- Using essential oils
Catch this video for another interpretation of what anxiety feels like to those whose suffer from it.