How My Anxiety Helped Me to Find Myself

            I’m pretty sure that most of you know that I operate and manage my own small business but did you know that I also suffer from depression and anxiety?  Well, it’s very true and, although it is somethings that I have learned manage and live with, it is still a part of who I am.  Following my passion has done a great deal to help “stabilize” my moods but there are still some days when – no matter what I need to do – it can still be hard to muster to energy to get out of bed.  I know that I’m not the only one that goes through this so I have decided to share a little bit of my story.

            I came to age in a time before words like “depression” and “anxiety” really existed in the mainstream.  I suffered from real mood swings and spent most of my high school years generally feeling unhappy and negative. (But then again, didn’t we all?)  Don’t get me wrong; I was very social, played sports, made good grades, went to parties, etc. but I was doing a lot of “going through the motions” and never felt as though I was being true to myself.  Then a few years later, my depression manifested itself physically and, let’s just say that expression “listen to your gut” became all too real for me.

            That was the beginning of an over decade long journey to “find myself” with many rough patches along the way.  To make a long story short, thanks to listening to my gut, I am where I am now. And yes, I am happier and more fulfilled but that doesn’t mean that somedays I still don’t want to crawl into a hole without quite knowing why.  I used to get very anxious when these feelings would come on and start worrying if my “symptoms” would be coming back, worry about all the things I need to get done; and, as you can imagine that tended to spiral out of control. Now, I understand that there isn’t always a reason that I’m feeling less motivated or energetic.  Rather than fight the feeling I can (sort of) embrace them and take the as an opportunity to slow down and reflect on what is happening in my life.  Am I getting enough sleep, exercise and nutrition?

            As a solopreneur it can be very easy getting overwhelmed.  Just writing this little-read blog on-time gives me anxiety. I’ve already asked myself why on earth I decided to do this, lol.  But, as mentioned previously, instead of fighting or avoiding my emotions I treat them like my business partner and let them help guide me.  Perhaps one of the biggest things I’ve learned these past years is when to ask for help – and I could still do better at that.

            I can honestly say that without my “issues” Upcycle Hawai‘i would not exist. I am grateful that a portion of my brain would not allow me to be content just “clocking in” and “clocking out”. Harnessing my drive and finding my passion have ignited my spark for life.  I am even more grateful to my family and friends who supported me through more than one melt-down.

            I know, however, that it is not all smooth sailing ahead.  I decided to write this blog because I have actually been in a “funk” lately and can’t explain why.  I’ve tried ice cream, exercise and doggie cuddles but nothing seems to be the cure… but that is likely because there is no cure.  That’s the crux of depression and anxiety; there is no cause and effect, it just is.  For now, I’m okay with that, it’s just another one of life’s challenges.  Now, when times like this happen I can recognize my feelings, share my challenges with those close to me and the forge ahead. In fact, just writing this down is a bit therapeutic so thank you for reading.

            If you are someone experiencing similar emotions or challenges – it’s okay. Life itself is a challenge and we each need to decide whether or not to show up every day.  Sadness, depression and anxiety are not permanent and can often be signs to ourselves of changes that we need to make.  I urge you to listen to your gut and see where it will take you.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to pursue something that makes you truly happy. The struggles won’t end but it will be much more worth the effort.

Mattie LarsonComment