“My body feels like there are a million little people inside; half of them are punching to get out and half are just desperately trying to nap,” I confessed to my husband, unsure how to explain what anxiety physically feels like for me.
While I was seemingly functioning like my “typical self” from an outsider’s perspective (i.e., feeding myself and the kids, doing laundry, showering, etc.), my body was experiencing the physical manifestations of anxiety and depression. Being The Mom, I powered through the week, suppressing my intense chronic neck and back pain. By the time the sun went down each night I succumbed to sleep before my head met the pillow.
Asking for help
Having gone through feeling like this before I knew what I had to do: release the stress and anxiety being held captive in my body. And the way I do that is to cry. The scream-into-my-pillow-can’t-catch-my-breath kind of cry. I told my husband I needed this moment and he didn’t hesitate taking over kid duty.
The way I was feeling mostly stemmed from missing my dad. It’s been almost two years since he died. And I was mad. I was angry that my kids are missing out on his silly songs and effervescent personality. In between muffling screams I told God that I’m angry. And I told God I’m thankful He’s listening to me. And I asked Him to “help me”. Help me do what exactly? I’m not sure. But He knows what’s in my heart.
Honoring + Healing
After honoring my mind and body for the rest of the evening, my body felt healed. While my neck and back were sore, I was no longer in pain. With the support of both my doctor and my husband, I also chose to bump up my antidepressants a notch. Who knows if it’ll be long-term? But it’s necessary for this season. And that’s okay.
Are you taking time to listen to your body? To your mind? Like coffee and my soul, the two are inseparable. If you’re harboring stress, anxiety, or depression, your body will physically let you know. The relief comes when you get quiet enough to accept the discovery.
For more information on how our bodies can hold in stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma, I suggest reading The Body Keeps the Score.