ANXIETY. THE BEAST.
By the time this journey began, I thought I'd already been through my darkest time. I was wrong. I had about 2 months without a cigarette. I got very sick. I hate western medicine, so I avoid going to a regular M.D unless it's really bad. I think I had some shows coming up, including a wedding to perform at. So I went to the doctor, he gave me some antibiotic I'd never taken before. I had a serious reaction to it. I thought I was dying. I had tunnel vision. I was on the bathroom floor, on my hands and knees. What was happening to me?? I was having a severe panic attack. Even typing this story out gives me the creeps. Long story short, that anxiety attack, never went away. I kept waking up in the morning, expecting to feel better, but I didn't. I felt the feeling like, your texting on the freeway, while driving, and you look up to see you're about to slam into someone sitting at a dead stop in front of you. My nervous system was blown out. But it wasn't all the medications doing. The medication was just the catalyst, the catalyst to bursting my anxiety bubble wide open. Anxiety that had been there since I was a kid. Anxiety I had forgotten about after years of drugs, masking it, burying it, concealing it from myself. I started to remember being a kid, and feeling these same sensations in my body. The fear, the fight or flight adrenaline running through me. Because I'd always been a sensitive human, I feel other peoples feelings. I took on other people's shit, and it became my shit. I was tortured by it at some points, and now, at 33, it came back with a vengeance.
I no longer had my last crutch, cigarettes, to puff away those uncomfortable moments. Now, I was left with just me. Me and feelings. Feelings were coming, and I didn't know how to process them! Like being a newborn baby! The fact is, my nervous system had to re-boot. And I was scared, and a mess. But even though I had these super terrifying, uncomfortable feelings occurring minute to minute, I still found a way to get on airplanes, to perform, to get my meetings, to live. Sometimes it felt like I was going to die. Like I couldn't catch my breath. Like some 400 pound man was standing on my solar plexus. I started praying like never before. I opened my damn mouth to anyone who would listen. VERY IMPORTANT, I opened my mouth to everyone in my life. Strangers, whoever. You have to talk about these feelings. The more you talk, the better you feel. That's where you start. Don't keep these things to yourself. The more I talked, the more I realized how much I was nowhere near alone! So many people deal with "anxiety" on a daily basis. SO many. And as I spoke up, special people started appearing in my life. To teach me, to guide me, to push me.
First, I was introduced to a woman who I still consider one of my biggest teachers and healers. Her name is Vanessa. What is she? What does she do? Simply put, she's a healer. She's a teacher. She taught me how to meditate. Meditate in a way that made sense to me. Meditation is one of my biggest tools against the dreaded feelings of anxiety. I meditate once a day, for 20 minutes. And it does a world of difference. It grounds me. It's spiritual fitness. What I do in my meditation, was taught to me by Vanessa. She took me through guided meditation for months, before I started guiding myself through my own. I highly advise finding someone to guide you through a few, before you try it yourself, because it makes it easier to accomplish goals. But everyone's different! Vanessa taught me a lot more than just how to meditate, too much to explain here. But the meditation practice is the most important to tool for the anxiety battle.
Exercise. RUN, JUMP, SWIM, LIFT WEIGHTS! Tire your body out, build your body up! I found exercise to be very helpful in taming overwhelming feelings. Work that nervous system. Yoga is fantastic as well.
PROTEIN. Protein and grounding foods, such as potatoes, root vegetables, and many other foods known to calm the nervous system help. But making sure you're not protein deprived, especially in stressful situations like getting on an airplane, is key. You don't ever want to leave your body shaky from not eating enough protein, when your already a sensitive person. Out of all the natural remedies for anxiety out there, I found a pair of homeopathics that work the best. Google homeopathic medicine if your curious as to how it works.
*Argentum Nitricum 30c
*Gelsemium Sempervirens 30c
*Ignatia Amara 30c
Also, Magnesium. Magnesium calms the nervous system. A friend of mine gave this tip a while back on tour, and I started taking Calcium Magnesium supplements from Whole Foods, and they worked very well for me. You can buy the homeopathic meds at Whole Foods as well. Lavender tea is still something I drink every night to shut me down easier.
When I was at the peak of my anxious hell, I was willing to do ANYTHING that might help me. I was introduced to a man, a yogi, by the name of Shiva, an East Indian man who lives in Hawaii, and helps people all over the world learn how to conquer many different challenges. I remember getting on the phone with him for the first time, and could barely understand him through his thick accent, but he made me laugh. I told him my issues with anxiety were ruling my life, and the first thing he wanted me to do, was come to Hawaii, and go skydiving with him. I was like, ARE YOU NUTS MAN?? I would never sky dive. It sacred me more than any other thing I could imagine. The rest, is history. I met with him. He talked to me about anxiety in a way I never looked at it before. A pattern, a loop in my brain, that I was caught in. A pattern I needed to replace with a new pattern, rather than END that old pattern all together. He taught me, by adjusting a few simple postural wrongs, I could alleviate that pressure on my solar plexus. By pushing my shoulders back, chest up, by walking "proudly," that feeling was lessened. Anxiety can't thrive in that area, if you're constantly walking with that proud posture. He was a coach for me. Someone I could call whenever I felt that beast creeping back in. He helped me a lot. And eventually, I jumped out of that airplane. I still cannot believe I did that.
It all boils down to the simple fact, that we are human. We feel feelings. Some of us have more sensitive nervous systems, more sensitive bodies than others. Some of us pick up other peoples energies, and make them our own. Which is un-healthy. Ive learned to look at "anxiety" as nothing more than a feeling, or an indication that I'm taking on too much of other people, places and things energy. I ground out all that excess energy in my meditation every morning. I do the work in order to never get to a place like I was when this journey began. I have more work to do, for life, but I'm eternally grateful for the journey itself, because I'm stronger than Ive ever been, and I hope to help others get to that place of strength by sharing about it every chance I get. much love.!
Vanessa Castro : www.vanessacastro@me
Shiva : 808-386-2515