UNITED STATES—I suffer from terrible anxiety people. I honestly have an idea what triggered it, but I feel like as I get older it has gotten slightly worst. It does concern me greatly as I have spoken to a therapist about it and the advice she gave me has helped when I actually apply it. The goal is to focus on ME and not everyone else. I tend to be a fixer, but it has to be a point where I discover I cannot fix everything and I cannot always help others.

Hell, I used to go months and years without taking time off from work and then it hit me: WHY?! Work is work; it’s always going to be there. It doesn’t just disappear, but at the same time your life cannot be all about work because guess what that leads to stress and that stress is going to lead to anxiety. Finding a balance between work and my personal life is critical to easing my anxiety flare-ups.

I mean when you can’t sleep at night because of work that says something about your work load and that is a something that you have to be concerned about. Work should NOT add up to your stress level, yes it’s stressful, but at the same time you have to be aware of the things that trigger you people. I think it all goes back to September 2010, Labor Day when I was robbed at gunpoint. I remember the day like it happened yesterday, but at the same time I think what transpired that day has led to my anxiety people.

I used to be able to walk about my life and do things without constantly looking over my shoulder and being warned about what might transpire. That has since changed people because I have that heightened alert around complete strangers and if I feel something is slightly off it immediately becomes a trigger for me that causes me to react quicker and with an intensity that I did not have before.

Before you even ask, yes I have spoken to a therapist about the incident, about the issue and how it impacted me. Has things gotten better in the last decade? Yes, absolutely, but I think when you experienced a certain trauma it has an impact on how you operate. Yes, you heal, yes it gets better, but you never forget. The notion we store memories are dangerous because you can always go back to that point in your life where that trauma was initiated. I think sometimes many of us wish we could just turn off memories or eliminate them completely.

Trauma leads to stress which ultimately leads to anxiety. People have noted perhaps consider taking medication and I’m completely against it as I don’t want something as a crutch to help me operate on a daily basis. I want to be in control of how I function in life and I’m doing things to make those improvements. As for work, I’ve finally reached a point where I have accepted when I’m off of work I’m off. There is no more trying to do more than I can when I just don’t have the time. There are only so many hours in a day, and I can only do what I can do with that time.

When I have additional time and I feel like doing more I will do more, but beyond that I’m NOT doing more. I cannot keep adding to my plate because it is so high at this point if I add more things are going to tip and spill all over the place people. My anxiety is a struggle for me, I’m working on it; it is a work in progress it is NOT going to dissipate overnight. I know I’m not the only person who struggles with anxiety, but to those that do I feel your pain and just know it gets better in time. It all starts with you just putting yourself first. Take a moment for peace, take time to take you mind off the things that stress you out and ultimately lead to your anxiety.