Guest author: Jess Oakes
I don’t remember my anxiety ever being this bad to the point where I just wanted to break down in tears all the time. To the point where it almost just consumes me–actually it does—it totally consumes me most days. I can tell you the main two reasons for it: There are a million factors–but two big ones.
My business and being a Mother.
The two biggest factors in this entire thing are my business probably being the bigger one of the two, but motherhood as a close second. Then there’s the every day other stresses of life: Our current infertility journey and all the other little worries. My business is rough, though. In general, owning your own business is probably one of the hardest things you can do. Now make it in the industry I’m in, blogging/social media, some days it will literally eat you alive. I work so hard, so incredibly hard. In fact, some weeks I see my daughter, Blake, for only a couple of hours a day because she’s with a sitter or my Mom. All of my hard work will either be a total let down, a lesson learned or reap a few rewards. This industry is terrifying, it’s consuming and it’s pretty darn rough on your self-esteem. Last night I literally had the worst of these attacks of all because I sat there and compared all of my hard work to someone else’s. I compared my numbers to theirs; I felt like a failure. I was a failure. I couldn’t breathe, I was angry, I was sad. I picked myself apart until I fell asleep.
That’s been the norm lately.
Now, motherhood? Motherhood is a whole different ballpark. I literally worry all day long. Some nights I can’t sleep and will lie awake checking the monitor from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. I get discouraged when I fail at something and that just makes the whole thing worse. I constantly feel like I’m not good enough and play that same comparison game. I look at my sweet girl’s relationship with everyone else and think, “Wow, she really loves them more.” I worry about her future, our future and everything in between.
But in reality, it all comes back down to the same problem. I thought there were two main causes, but really there’s just one.
The reason I have such BAD anxiety is because I play the comparison game.
The comparison game is this sick and twisted game where you sit there, scroll through your social media, look at the people around you or whatever else and you compare yourself to them. You compare your life to theirs: your home, your money, your car, your wants, your dreams, your everything. It will literally eat you up. You’ll focus more and more on it and before you even realize it, it’s consumed you. You’re sad, you’re pissed, you’re mad at the people around you and rather than being happy for the people you’re comparing yourself to; you start to develop a serious hate for them. Your entire day starts to get worse and before you know it, you find yourself doing it every single day. You’ll have a good day every once in awhile, but for the most part, you’re trying to keep up with everyone around you, have the best of the best, be the best of the best and be “perfect.”
What in the actual hell?
Right? I reread that back to myself and thought, “Are you kidding me?”
That is actually what’s been causing my anxiety to be absolutely through the roof. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had anxiety my entire life and I’ve learned how to deal with it. However, since starting down the comparison game spiral it’s on a whole new level.
So now what? I’ve figured out the problem. Now let’s fix it.
So 2017, here we are. Today’s the first day and we’re starting off right. Here’s how it’s going to go down:
1. You don’t need to be looking at anyone else’s numbers. Same goes with everything else in life. If you’re starting to feel bad for yourself on Pinterest—GET OFF PINTEREST.
2. If it’s consuming you, make a change from the beginning before it ruins you and before it’s a big ordeal.
3. Remember, you’re doing your best and that’s all that matters. Find happiness in the things you DO have, not the things you don’t but desire.
4. In motherhood, the love your child has for you shouldn’t even be a question or thought in your head, so push that s—t out.
5. Make a game plan, make changes, write it out. How are we gonna fix this for ourselves? What can we cut out or stop doing?
6. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, your wants, your baby and your family. You make the rules to your life, you just have to enforce them.
7. Embrace the normal worries of life; anxiety is going to happen. You just have to learn how to handle it well and get you out before the funk kicks in.
2017 is here and ain’t nothin’ stoppin’ me from making some serious changes. Changes that are going to bring me the true meaning of happiness.
Jess Oakes is the author and creator of Positively Oakes, she can be found chasing her busy toddler around and most likely with a Dr. Pepper in hand!