Be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a battle.
My lifelong battle has been against anxiety.
If I had to describe it in physical form, I’d call it the blob. It starts in a small drops, seemingly from nowhere. It quickly gains size, the drops clumping up, layering fear and panic over my mind, whether founded or unfounded. The worst thing about my experience with anxiety is feeling physical symptoms and not knowing what gurgled in my subconscious or unconscious to cause them. Anxiety can hit me at any time and some of the worst moments are in the morning.
I wake up, my mind files to remember where I am and sometimes a wave of panic goes through my body. I’m usually at home…it’s a good place. I’m safe. But for whatever reason, my mind quickly grabs onto something to fear. Most of the time, it’s general anxiety. Sometimes I can make out what the fear of the moment is. I try to quell the panic by immediately running through my gratitude sequence. I give thanks to see another day, thanks for my health, thankful I’m able to get up and out of bed, thanks for my family, a home, and so on. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to have concern. There may be a family situation happening like the times my granny has been hospitalized, or something pressing that I forgot to do. Even if I am able to ‘talk myself off the ledge,’ the anxiety usually bubbles up again within the hour as I’m getting ready for the day.
Anxiety wins almost every time. I feel like I can’t handle what the day will bring. Sometimes I’m walking around the house as I get ready, fighting tears. I feel so frustrated that I feel anxious and hopeless, especially when my mind can’t pin point a specific reason. I feel like a loser. I know it’s not true. I’m more than capable, but telling myself that doesn’t change the false beliefs. I’m thankful to my husband and often feel apologetic because he can’t help me. He does what he can. He listens, encourages self-care and has never told me that my fears are irrational. Those are big helps and I usually feel better as the day goes on. I’m more or less anxiety free on the days I work acting jobs, but there can be many days in-between work days.
Over the years, I have sought a number of (ahem) remedies. Meditation was a big help. Of all the things I’ve tried, Qi Gong seemed to have the biggest impact. I own Lee Holden’s Qi Gong for Beginners and Qi Gong for Weight Loss. Amazon has them for double the price than Exercise To Heal. The daily practice of Qi Gong stabilized my mood the most; more than meditation. Notice I said daily practice. When I didn’t practice regularly, I didn’t get the benefits. It’s not easy for me to keep a routine because my work isn’t on a set schedule. I practiced Qi Gong as often as I could, but that changed when I got pregnant with Mini G. I was worried, in general, during the pregnancy and sometimes felt easily irritated by repetitive questions or strong opinions. There’s nothing like people asking what you’re going to do with your breasts after your baby is born, aka the are you going to breastfeed question. Throw in cloth diapering pressure and I was ready to tell folks where to go!
I will always remember being in the bank parking lot, talking to a friend on the phone and feeling very angry with irritation. She told me to get a bottle of lavender and inhale it. She said I have permission to have all of the imaginary conversations I wanted with people in my head, but to stay calm by sniffing the lavender. I went to the health store and bought a bottle. I did some reading online about blends, but I got overwhelmed because I didn’t know what questions to ask Google School of Medicine about how oils were obtained, how to determine good quality, etc… The lavender made me feel better enough, so I kept with it. On occasion, I crossed paths online with essential oils information, but I didn’t investigate. Who has time for in-depth research until we have a need for it? Even then, we don’t always have time.
I figured anxiety is a part of my life and I just had to figure out how to live with it. Good days. Bad days. The problem with exercise as a solution is if I don’t exercise, I don’t feel good. If I don’t feel good, I am not motivated to exercise. Time can also be a constraint. I’ve consistently used lavender, but didn’t visit essential oils again until I had Crohn’s related anemia. My experience with mild Crohn’s, as my gastro called it, is a story for another day. For now let’s just say…lemongrass!
This past July was one of my worst months for anxiety. Just really ugly. When I felt super panicked, I would walk the track at the park. I will power walk in whatever I have on at the moment. I don’t need a workout outfit because that’s a self-imposed obstacle. Real obstacles are not having the time or the mental fortitude to get out there. Other than walking when I was freaking out, I wasn’t even bothering to seek new solutions to my anxiety and wasn’t remembering former ones like Qi Gong. I should add that once my anxiety goes into panic attack mode, I’m paralyzed. Even if I want to do something that makes sense and I know is good for me, I can’t physically get myself to do it.
Thankfully, my husband met a woman who introduced me to dōTERRA essential oils. I sound like an ad right there, but that’s how it went down. I met her on a Thursday for lunch. She brought her snazzy oil kit and at the end, said I could try them. I had no idea what to do with most of them, but immediately looked for lavender. I rubbed a couple drops on my wrists, like I’ve done over the past 5 years and took the bottle with me to borrow. I could tell the difference between her bottle and my $18, much larger bottle that’s everpresent in the driver’s side door of my car. She didn’t get into oil quality or how it’s processed. All I know is I could immediately smell the difference and that I went home and took one of the best naps I’d had in a long time. The next night I went to a dōTERRA meeting with her and a couple other people and a couple weeks later I bought an enrollment kit with the company. When I go in, I go all in. So, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw pics from the annual dōTERRA conference in Salt Lake City that I decided to attend shortly before the dates. Peep me at the conference gala!
In Salt Lake, I bought the conference kit, which is only available…you got it…at the conference. Inside was a pack of 6 rollerballs for emotional support; Cheer, Console, Forgive, Motivate, Passion and Peace. “Cheer” resonated with me the most. I felt and feel so good using it. Here’s a snap from my Instastory the other day. I look tired and I was, but in that moment I wanted to share my good feeling:
The enrollment kit I purchased about 3 weeks prior didn’t have Cheer in it. It did have a diffuser in it. I really wanted to try that. The diffuser mix that has been awesome for me is an oil blend called On Guard + straight Lavender. I quickly noticed how much deeper I breathe when the diffuser is going. The deep breathing tells my body we are not in a panic and there’s nothing to fear. As a result of my body calming down, my mind does, too. I would’ve been happy enough to diffuse the On Guard and Lavender. The difference with the Cheer rollerball is not only do I feel more relaxed, but I feel happy.
Let’s be for real. The anxiety isn’t magically gone. It still crops up. However, I feel empowered to have a solution that’s as simple as pouring water, adding a few drops of oil and turning on the diffuser. I don’t have to change clothes, put in a DVD or walk a track to calm myself. And Cheer. Just wow. That one has surprised me that not only do I feel relaxed, but also uplifted and cheerful. Ok, up above I said that I feel happy using it, but it bears repeating. I’ve laughed more in the past month than a long, long time.
Yesterday, I had a teary morning. I haven’t had one in a few weeks since I started diffusing essential oils. I had packed my diffuser up to take and show to my mom. We have 1 by dōTERRA and two of these. It didn’t occur to me to pull one from another room and use it while I was starting my day. I usually use it before bed, when I wake up and throughout the day. But…you start feeling good and forget to do the things that helped create those good feelings. You think you can skip a moment in the new routine and it will be fine. Once I got to my mom’s, I put in lemon and peppermint essential oils. Diffused scent isn’t heavy in the air, imo. It can be very subtle, particularly if there’s open space. I felt my mood shift, though, and the number one thing I always notice is my breathing depth. The deeper the better. At that moment, I remembered my Cheer rollerball and put that on just as I would apply a rollerball cologne, on my neck and wrists. The rest of the day was great.
Is my anxiety cured? Nerp. And I’m not disappointed about that fact. I’m just happy to have a natural solution that I can have in my home or at my fingertips, at any moment of the day. I’ve just started learning about essential oils! I hope you’ll come along on my oil journey and consider starting your own. At this point, I don’t plan on starting a separate website or social media for essential oils information that I want to share. It will be mixed here on Gigi’s Gone Shopping and on my other pages. Maybe later. If you’re not interested, please skip over the posts. I’ll never know ya did, so don’t worry about hurting my feelings.
If you’re curious about essential oils and want to learn with me, check out my dōTERRA website and subscribe below.
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