Master of Anxiety: I am the Ocean

I graduated last week! I now have a bachelor degree in psychology. The past three years have been hard. The past three weeks might have been the hardest. I decided to start my master with a clean slate. However, with the amount of baggage I have, or well, anyone has, you can't just start over. So I changed my plan and decided to do some digging. What baggage should I take with me and what should I leave behind? And could I actually do that?

A REALLY BIG shout out to Adriene from Yoga with Adriene, she was a huge help for me. I did Revolution last month and it helped me so much. I lost 5 kilos, which is a nice extra, would anyone be interested in losing weight with yoga. I should also mention, being vegan might have also helped. But it wasn't only physical. It was also mentally letting go.

I think all college students will feel with me when I say that I had my fair share of break downs. Those moments when you just really can't keep going, that state of being frozen. That's how it felt for me. Being frozen, in front of a rushing train and sometimes actually feeling it crushing me. One of the reasons why I was offline for so long was also because I couldn't share my story. I'm still not ready, but I want to share this: in my first year I was in therapy. During the day I studied about mental illnesses and their treatments, in the evenings I learned how real they are. In my second year I stressed so much that I couldn't do anything during the summer, because I was so tired. I enjoyed looking at the trees on the mountain, with my brain turned off. My third year was a bit better, because I knew how close I was to losing it again. I did my best to avoid stress, but sometimes you can't avoid certain things. Last week when I finally got my diploma, a huge weight fell from my heart, my mind and I felt free.

For a moment. Because my master was lurking around the corner. First I wanted to know why on Earth I signed up for this. The reason behind my stress was never learning, it was all that came with it. Second, how could I handle those things now? Again, Adriene helped me big time with that, yoga has wonderful tools to keep you going, in a balanced way. Also, to question the things you do, to be mindful about how you go about things with your body and mind. So how was I doing? If you would have asked me that a week ago, I would have said: I feel amazing. I feel in control. And then BAM this anxiety kicked me in the butt again.

Today was the first day of my master and I slept maybe 4 hours last night. I just couldn't get my mind to stillness and calmness. To give an example what kind of things I can worry about at 3 in the morning: "What if there are not enough chairs in the room? Will I have to stand the whole time? And how will I take notes without my laptop then? What if they just send me away because the room is full?" Seriously. Ridiculous.

When I woke up, I decided to take the mantra "I am excited" for today and did a great yoga flow just to try it out. I noticed that my fear was more present than my excitement. I was really excited to go to uni again and learn new things, but somehow my fear of not having a chair and other unreasonable things were stronger. Then I came up with a new mantra: "I will be the master of anxiety." That's how I left home this morning. I would not only be the master of science, but also the master of anxiety.

I had a wonderful day! The problem was, which has been similar for years, instead of acknowledging my anxiety, sometimes I push it aside and tell myself I'm fine. Which doesn't work. It just makes the anxiety build up and make it so strong it kicks you in the butt. At the end of the day, my anxiety won. I got a headache, I got very tired (something I had last year as well, it makes doing anything useful really hard and painful) so I decided to retreat. Observe and learn. If I want to become the master of anxiety, I should learn more about it and apply my knowledge in other situations. Of course I've been trying the last three years as well, but anxiety is like the ocean. Sometimes it's all calm, other times the waves ruin whole cities. And even when the water is calm, if you throw a stone in it, you will see the ripples. In this example, if I'm the ocean, anxiety is like rocks. One little rock can cause a whole flood. And as much as I want to, I can't control those stupid rocks. But, I do realise that I am bigger than them. Expecting a month of yoga to make all the anxiety go away is like expecting a six pack after one sit up. However, I believe that with some work, I'll be able to control it better. At least, I have to believe in that, right? For now, I'll just keep breathing and keep my head above the water. Observe and learn, instead of Ignore and accept.

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