It’s confirmed. Your anxiety is out of control. It’s a disorder. So, what do you do now?
- Separate yourself from the anxiety.
- Nourish your body properly for the condition.
- Love your organs.
- Rest your brain with meditation.
- Avoid blaming yourself.
It’s time to figure out how you’re going to heal. No matter who or what your plan includes, (MD’s, Integrative doctors, Naturopaths, therapists, blood tests, supplements, diet, pharmaceutical drugs, yoga or an exorcism) the above list will help you get back to normal, faster.
You Are Not Your Disorder. You Gotta Keep Em Separated.
It’s been 25 years since I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, this diagnosis was made by my family doctor based on a few general questions. Nothing more.
After she shut down my weak attempt to find out why this was happening to me, I gave in to her authority and internalized the new label.
I became one with this new disorder of mine and adopted all the stigma that came with it (there was lots back in the 1990’s).
I was defective, weak, damaged and sentenced to a life-long stay in anxiety jail.
All of a sudden everything I could or couldn’t do was based on the disorder.
At first the diagnosis seemed like a relief, an explanation. It later became a limitation, a permanent cap on my capabilities.
Internalizing the anxiety label is hard on one’s self esteem to put it lightly and ultimately affects your healing outcome.
Yes, this is a serious disorder that may not have an obvious cause or solution, but that doesn’t mean it’s who you are.
Don’t do like I did. Set yourself up for success and keep the disorder separate from who you are.
How does one do that, you may ask.
By becoming conscious of your thoughts and words.
Consider reversing a common example people use when it comes to battling the stigma of getting help for mental health.
“It’s the same as getting help for a broken arm.”
Ok, great. No one internalizes having a broken arm do they?
No one has a broken arm forever and is known as “that guy with broken-arm disorder” for all eternity. It’s just something that happened to them.
It’s temporary and can be fixed. Same with an anxiety disorder. Tell yourself that.
Don’t tell yourself that you are in this for life. Be aware of the chatter in your mind.
Anxiety and Nutrient Deficiencies. Nourish Yourself.
When it comes to anxiety and nutritional deficiencies, it’s a bit of a what came first, the chicken or the egg situation.
Nutritional deficiencies can cause anxiety and anxiety can cause deficiencies.
Either way, you’ll want to take seriously what you put in your mouth. People with anxiety disorders tend to be low in certain vitamins and minerals.
After scouring the internet for lists of anxiety related deficiencies and cross-referencing their contents for repeats, I’ve settled on this list from Jordan Fallis of Optimal Living Dynamics.
Of course, always consult with your healthcare practitioner when it comes to consuming these nutrients, foods and supplements.
Here’s a summary.
|Magnesium||spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, dark chocolate, bananas, supplements, epsom salt baths|
|Zinc||oysters, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, cashews, mushrooms, spinach, supplements|
|Vitamin B6||potatoes, bananas, chicken, supplements|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||cold water fish such as salmon, black cod, sablefish, sardines, herring, supplements (krill oil)|
|Choline||grass-fed beef liver, egg yolks, supplements|
|Selenium||Brazil nuts, wild-caught seafood, pastured eggs, grass-fed meat, supplements|
|Iron||cooked beef liver, spirulina, dark chocolate, spinach, sardines, pistachios and raisins|
|Vitamin D||sunlight, cod liver oil, supplements|
When my anxiety got out of control, I was eating like crap, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol regularly.
I’d like to blame these harmful behaviours on my being young and naive but in reality I hadn’t learned to respect my mind and body.
I also had no real clue about what our minds and bodies need to operate properly.
Sharing this knowledge is not a priority in our society/ school systems and we really need to question why that is.
Although I don’t believe my lifestyle caused my disorder, my habits certainly didn’t help things and made them way worse.
Nourish your cells.
Your body loves you and it’s always trying to recalibrate and bring you into balance and health, despite what you may do to it.
Love Your Organs.
Through my 20+ years of searching for anxiety solutions, there has been one very common thread.
I’ve seen and tried countless; diets, articles, websites, books, naturopaths, energy healers, integrative doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors and so many of them have stressed the importance of proper organ function for solid mental health.
I can speak from experience that after taking good care of my elimination organs (liver, kidneys) consistently over a couple months, whether it be increasing my intake of fresh produce, taking supportive supplements or partaking in a cleanse , my anxiety, sadness and anger drastically decrease if not disappear altogether.
For example, the best cleanse I have ever done for anger is the 3-6-9 Liver Rescue from the Medical Medium. It was amazing. I felt like a new person once it was over.
This post is not sponsored, I just really loved his cleanse.
So, why are our organs so important to our emotional wellbeing?
Using the example of the liver, Anthony William, the Medical Medium explains;
The liver has many responsibilities, all of which are critical to you staying alive. One of the liver’s responsibilities is to purify and filter out harmful substances.
It also neutralizes poisons, which means it stops toxins from being as harmful as they really are. That way, the toxins don’t harm your body as much when they leave the liver.
When the liver becomes sluggish from years and decades of desperately protecting you, it loses its ability to neutralize, and the result is that people become sick or symptomatic and start to age before their time.
I’ve come to also believe that along with toxins, emotions also become trapped in our organs and contribute to ongoing emotional imbalances like excessive anxiety.
If you’d to nerd-out for a moment over this, check out this this great study called Understanding Mind-Body Interaction from the Perspective of East Asian Medicine, authored by Ye-Seul Lee, Yeonhee Ryu, Won-Mo Jung, Jungjoo Kim, Taehyung Lee, and Younbyoung Chae.
They used the “Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (tf-idf) Method” to quantify the significance of organ systems (liver, heart, spleen, kidneys, gallbladder and lungs) relative to seven different emotions (anger, happiness, thoughtfulness, sadness, fear, surprise, anxiety) through the classical medical text of DongUiBoGam.
The study concluded that;
The organ systems were highly associated with emotions. Specific to my point here; anger showed superior tf-idf values with the liver, sadness showed superior tf-idf values with the heart and lungs, fear showed superior tf-idf values with the kidney and anxiety showed superior tf-idf values with the heart and lungs.
I believe it’s the neutralizing and lessening of toxins and trapped emotions that improves my mental state.
This view isn’t mainstream or widely accepted, but after years of failed pharmaceutical symptom management, organ cleansing has worked for me.
Organ care does have to be consistent and on-going to feel the improvements. Treat them like a cherished pet. The work is well worth it.
Rest Your Mind With Meditation
Quieting your thoughts can seem totally impossible when you have an anxiety disorder.
In the past, whenever I tried to meditate, my thoughts just seemed to jump around even more than usual and I became frustrated trying to herd them.
My inability to relax made me even more anxious. I felt like a failure.
Then I discovered guided meditation.
First recommended by an osteopath, I found myself irritated by most of the guided meditations I tried.
Their voices were annoying or the background sounds too distracting.
Then I found Michael Sealy. His recordings on YouTube have enabled me to relax and find sleep on the most anxious of nights.
He has a great voice, fantastic imagery and offers meditations on so many topics relating to anxiety.
This is one of my favourites:
For a bit of science behind how meditation works; researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center published a 2013 study identifying brain regions activated by mindfulness meditation.
They found that anxiety was significantly reduced in every session that their subjects meditated and through brain imaging, saw that meditation-related anxiety relief is associated with activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula.
These areas of the brain are linked to control over worry and anxiety and activation of these areas through is directly linked to anxiety relief.
Guided meditation is just as effective, if not more so, than winging it on your own. I especially love it for falling asleep.
Successfully quieting your mind chatter whilst suffering from excessive anxiety is a big victory and gives hope and a taste of how much healing is actually possible.
Avoid Blaming Yourself
Despite the great advances mental illness has made in terms of its general acceptance, I still feel like there is alot of shame and self-loathing hanging around.
I remember feeling so embarrassed and ashamed when I was told I had an anxiety disorder.
These feelings were made even worse by people close to me telling me to “shake it off” and that I was “better than this.”
I blamed myself 100% for having this issue and despaired at my weakness and inability to find a way out.
I love this article by Healthline’s mental health and chronic conditions editor, Sam Dylan Finch.
He talks about the ways people with mental health challenges are gaslit into self-blame and offers his observations regarding the feedback he’s received regarding his mental health challenges;
“My “failure” to live a functional and happy life had nothing to do with the biological, psychological, and sociological factors that contribute to mental health. Instead, it always seemed to circle back to me and an apparent lack of willpower that kept me down.”
He wrote that article in 2019. I had the identical experience in the late 90’s. Apparently, not much has changed.
Blaming yourself for something that is not your fault will keep you from recovering and healing.
I wasted years berating myself for being “weak”, instead of getting to the bottom of my anxiety. As it turned out, my disorder ended up having a hidden, physical cause.
So, skip the blame game! Your anxiety is a symptom of a deeper issue. Be patient with yourself as you figure out what is going on.