Stop finding blame for my anxiety

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There are a few people in my life who’ve used my lifestyle as reasons for my anxiety and the related symptoms.

  • I’m nauseous all the time because I make dishwasher detergent instead of buying a commercial brand.
  • My exhaustion is from not eating a proper diet.
  • The anxiety is because my home is messy.
  • I’m physically weak and that causes my joint pain, so I need to work out more.

Sorry to burst your bubbles, but my dishwasher detergent is chemical-free so it’s probably healthier than commercial brands. I eat tons of fresh fruit and veggies, proteins and grains and vitamins while not consuming many processed foods and drinking a shit ton of water (Yup, I officially measured). I have panic attacks even when my home is clean and exercise makes my joint feel worse. Plus, the way I can lift and toss and wrestle my nephews is proof enough to me that I’m not that weak.

People always want to offer solutions to someone who is feeling ill. While, often, my experience has been that the intention is kind, it hasn’t been so with my anxiety. These suggestions of the root cause of my anxiety are malicious and hostile, as if it’s my fault I’m fucked.

I’m so tired of it. It’s probably easy to assume from the fact that I’m a vegan eco-feminist that I have a lot of opinions on the way other people live their lives. But I keep them to myself. So, please, kindly do the same when it comes to how my lifestyle impacts my mental health or I’ll unleash all my judgment on you.


One thing that I will admit does contribute to my anxiety is my tendency to pile way too much onto my plate and then refuse to drop anything.

Calming down with my new pals

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April enjoying a snack of hay.

A week ago, I arrived at Forever MicroRanch Sanctuary to spend a couple of weeks with the animals and get to know the other humans who I am working with here.

I arrived a ball of anxiety, but that slowly faded over the first few days.

I’ve done many new things. I’ve spent time with horses and chickens, who used to make me uneasy but now I am comfortable around. I cut down a couple of dead trees and planted more than 40 baby trees. My muscles are sore. I’m scratched up and I have a bruised foot from where I dropped a bucket of water.

But I’m so freaking happy and relaxed.

There’s a lot to do here, but the biggest priority is making sure that all the beings on this property are happy and well taken care of. That means stopping throughout the day to chase the dogs around, walk the mini horses and pet the cats. It also means laying down a pitch fork to pick up Lyle the chicken when he comes running over for a snuggle.

I haven’t worked much in the last week, and from a financial standpoint I really need to get back to the keyboard, but I’ve discovered that animal company, physical work and fresh air do a lot to lessen my anxiety.

Here are just a few of my many friends out here at Forever MicroRanch Sanctuary.

Sleep

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I know sleep is important. But I also know that I can run fine off of six hours of sleep a night. At least that’s what I thought.

A combination of sleeping only three to six hours a night, not eating a good breakfast with iron and protein (very important for a vegan) and hitting my head on a locker a couple weeks ago left me in pretty rough shape.

Doing freelance work as a journalist, I always have dozens of things on my to-do list and multiple places to go a day. So passing out from exhaustion and not taking proper care of myself is not okay. It’s not professional. It’s not healthy. But it is a good wake-up call.

I’ve come to a point where I’m so busy I need to schedule sleep into my life. So starting this week, I’m going to make sure to be in bed by 9:00 p.m. every night with an iron and protein packed smoothie waiting for me in the fridge when Working Titles wakes me up on my phone at 4:30 a.m.