The Two Weeks That Changed My Life

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Oh look, a post I never thought I’d write. Prep yourselves because it’s going to be a long one (and a personal one).

 

the two weeks that changed my life

 

 

 

Anxiety. Some have it, some don’t. Some understand, some don’t. Some are crippled by it, some aren’t. Some think it’s all just people being over-dramatic…those people obviously don’t have it. Anxiety is a little beast that controlled my life for far too long and now that it’s controls have loosened I can safely say that it gets better. So if you’re going through it, just know that you’re definitely not alone and you have more control over your anxiety than you could ever imagine. Take the reins back.

 

About 3 months ago, I was one of the most skeptical people about anxiety in terms of it getting better. I would always think to myself “but does it really get better? Does it? Does it?! ….I doubt it.”

 

I was one of those people that would read other people’s ‘success’ stories about how they overcame their anxiety and I’d think to myself, that’s awesome that they could do that, but I’m a different case. My anxiety is a special kind of hell, and it’s just not possible for me to flick it off like a switch.

 

I’m not going to go into depth about what kind of anxiety I struggled with or how it affected my life because honestly that post would be such a debbie downer and might be triggering for some people. Plus, to be honest this post is enough of a soul spill for me at this stage.

 

the two weeks that changed my life

 
 

I started getting anxiety when I was in my final year of high school, during a maths exam actually. I thought I was having a heart attack and was going to die right there on my damn maths papers (how depressing would that be…to die in a maths exam, ugh). Turns out I was having a panic attack (I knew I hated maths!) and from then on I started having trouble with anxiety.

The height of my issues was when my anxiety got to a very life-consuming point and this lasted for about 1 year or so and I was very complacent. Not complacent because I was happy with how I was living or how much anxiety was affecting my life, but complacent because I felt overwhelmed and stuck. I felt like I was in a situation that I couldn’t control so I had no choice but to be complacent. It was like someone telling me to break through a cement wall with my index finger, it just wasn’t possible.

So there I was, living my life and feeling like a shell of myself. I know people have trouble with comparing themselves to other people, but just imagine comparing yourself with yourself and still feeling inadequate. You can’t win. I was comparing my present self with me from a few years ago and I felt awful because I didn’t even recognise myself anymore. It’s a feeling I can’t even begin to describe.

I don’t know what exactly made me reach this point or what triggered this intense feeling but I was sitting at home one night and I just thought to myself “Shit…I don’t want to live like this forever.” Living with heavy anxiety, you sort of end up existing day to day and you feel like SURELY you’re not going to still be like that, living with heavy anxiety when you’re 40, of course not! Then I realised oh crap, if I don’t start making changes now then I really am just going to be like this when I’m older and nothing will have changed. I’m not just going to wake up one day at a certain age and my anxiety issues will be gone. It was a petrifying thought. That’s when the list began.

 

Conquering Your Anxiety

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I’m a list maker, I make one every day so I guess it makes sense that a list is the catalyst that changed my life. I went straight to my laptop, wrote a big list of my main fears (AKA things I was afraid of doing because of anxiety and things that my anxiety held me back from doing) and I made a table that spanned over two weeks. Under each day in the table, I listed a few things that I had to do from the big list of my main fears and with each day, I had to do more and more of what severely scared me. By scared me, I mean just the thought of doing these things would make me panic and recoil. So actually doing them was….I don’t actually have a word to describe it but it was bloody difficult. I set a date for when I wanted to start this list and then it was on.

So the two weeks came and I was nervous as hell. At the start I’m not going to lie, it was really difficult but I kept gritting my teeth and getting through it. I kept it up, ticking things off each day and I GOT THROUGH IT! As I was doing things during the two weeks, I imagined the worst possible thing that my anxiety told me would happen and I did a petrifying thing and took that chance. For reference, the worst possible thing that my anxiety told me would happen is that I would die (yep, die) so you can imagine how difficult it was to keep doing things on my list, even when I thought that they would lead me to die. Honestly it started off really bad but the more things I did, the easier it got.

As the two weeks went along I did more and more things and after everything my anxiety said would happen to me and all the bad things I thought would happen….nothing did. Years of anxiety and one solid year of pretty crippling anxiety, I faced my fears and NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. All I can say is anxiety, you bloody liar.

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How to tackle your anxiety

 

 

It’s been around 2 months since the two week list ended and I am not the same person I was. To clarify, I’m not ‘cured’ or completely anxiety free and although the two weeks are finished I’m still trucking along daily, doing mini lists and doing more and more things every day that scare me, but it’s like I have a new lease on life. I don’t want to stop doing things that scare me until I feel like I am the version of myself that I want to be. It feels like I was wearing anxiety goggles and now someone is slowly cleaning the lenses and taking the goggles off (does that make sense?) and it all started with only two weeks, which is mind boggling.

If you suffer with anxiety, you know how strong it’s grip can be and my main motivation for change against those feelings (and hopefully this can be your motivation too) was being tired. Fed up and tired.

After every panic, every worrisome thought, everything you don’t do that you want to do but don’t feel like you can because of anxiety, I felt an overwhelming feeling of tiredness. I was just really sick of it all and I was tired of feeling like I didn’t have any control over my own life. I didn’t want to look back on my life and think wow, anxiety really just wrecked all of that now didn’t it? I wanted to write my own stories and make my own choices and not have this third party (anxiety) making choices for me. If you are dealing with anxiety, feel alone, feel isolated, feel ashamed or embarrassed, like no one else could possibly understand what you’re going through, I have been there and as I start to come out from that place, all I can say is to trust yourself and not your anxiety.

My motto? Feel the fear and do it anyway.

 

 

If you’re struggling with anxiety or something similar and feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, feel free to reach out or email me because you’re definitely not alone and trust me when I say, there is NO judgement here.
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37 comments so far.

37 responses to “The Two Weeks That Changed My Life”

  1. Yara Mel says:

    Slowly things will get in full control! You’re already strong by writing it all 🙂
    The pictures are amazing as usual!!

    http://www.desiringsme.com/fall-outfits-camel-coat/

  2. Such a beautiful post girl, thank you for sharing! I’m so glad you have found a way to manage your anxiety and that its working for you, I can only imagine how you feel when you start accomplishing all those things you didn’t think you could! I’m trying to work through my anxiety too but haven’t made it as far as you have, so I’m going to re-read this and hopefully see if I can take some pointers from it, too.

    Ashleigh x
    http://www.ashleighdmello.com

    • thesundaymode says:

      Honestly even you just saying that you might re-read this and take points from it, that makes my day right there. It’s still a struggle to keep facing my fears/anxieties but I just try and remember the end goal!

  3. Ellie says:

    Oh wow!<3
    I really, really appreciate your courage to speak out about this!<3
    Thank you so, so much!<3
    That means so much to many of us and gives us the courage to talk about it more and not be embarrassed about it!<3

    http://www.blogellive.com

    • thesundaymode says:

      Wow that comment means the world to me, thank you! Even though it’s hard to talk about, there are so many people out there struggling with anxiety- I would hate for anyone to ever feel like they can’t talk about what they’re struggling with.

  4. Shell says:

    Thank you Julia for having the courage to talk about your own anxiety condition. I’ve been brave enough to discuss mine over at my own blog & it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I did. I still battle with it all the time & there’s many things I need to work on, but if I compare my current self to my younger self I am better in certain areas. I might have to take some pointers from you & start my own list of fears & tackle them head on.

    Shell // The Novice Life

    • thesundaymode says:

      I mean it’s not a fun thing to tackle your fears head on but…it is effective because there’s no hiding or shying away from it and making up reasons why you can’t. Thank you for your lovely comment Shell 🙂

      I do feel like a weight has been lifted as well, it’s kind of refreshing to spill a bit more of my personal side onto the blog.

  5. Thank you for writing such a personal post! It is great to hear other peoples stories and I hope one day anxiety will leave you alone for good! <3

    http://www.hairwonderfulday.com

  6. phoebe says:

    I really appreciate this weeks post. You have written beautifully from your heart and I feel that your words will have far-reaching positive effects on many people.
    Also, I see that you have made many changes on your blog, again, congratulations on your progression and as always – fabulous photos and I love the vibe of the clothes and the location 🙂

    • thesundaymode says:

      I can only hope so Phoebe, it was very nerve-wracking sharing a personal post like this online with…well, anyone who comes along and reads it!

      Thanks for noticing the changes Phoebe! I’ve moved to WordPress.org and although I’m still working out some issues, I much prefer it to Blogger 🙂

  7. Thank you for sharing something so personal with us, your writing is beautiful. I used to and sometimes still get anxiety. I’ve been working on relaxing and learning to let things go, especially when it comes to having everything perfect. Yoga has really helped me as well as meditation.

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

    • thesundaymode says:

      Thank you, that’s really nice of you to say 🙂

      That’s something I’m working on at the moment as well (trying to let things go) because I’m starting to work out that it’s better to just do things than to get things perfect- you end up missing out on too many things! I’ve tried Yoga in the past and I haven’t found it’s really for me, but I do like meditation so thanks for the reminder because I’m going to start meditating again!

  8. Lisa Autumn says:

    Girl you don’t know how much I saw of myself in this post. I have struggled with anxiety for years now. The main thing that makes it so diffocult are my panic attacks that kept me from living life for the longest time. In the end medication really helped, I rarely have an attack anymore and if I do then only a mild version which lasts not that long. But the anxious feelings are still there. I absolutrely love how you handled this by making a list.. I will try and make my own. Thank you so much for inspiring me!

    xx Lisa | lisaautumn.com

    • thesundaymode says:

      That’s incredible Lisa I can’t believe just sharing my story has inspired you- that makes me unbelievably proud and it makes publishing this post so worth it.

      I’m so sorry that you’ve had to struggle with anxiety as well but it’s so awesome that you rarely have attacks anymore- that’s a huge milestone!

  9. Seppy says:

    This is one of the best blogposts I’ve read in a while.

    I’m SO proud of you for pushing through the fear. I can totally understand how even sitting and thinking about WHY something gives you anxiety will…give you anxiety! That takes courage and strength to sit through that. And then to follow through, wow. You’re amazing!! Such an inspiration!! I can’t express enough how proud I am that you did this whole process by yourself!!!

    http://www.elleisforlove.com

    • thesundaymode says:

      Wow that’s a huge compliment, thank you!

      It was (and still is!) hard to push through things that quite honestly scare the crap out of me, and even though I started this list myself I feel like because of the support of awesome people like you, doing more things that scare me will be much easier! 🙂 x

  10. Paula says:

    This is such an honest post, Julia. Anxiety can be so crippling, for me, no one really could relate to my struggles and growing up I felt like there’s something wrong with me. I’m so happy that you’re doing better now, it’s such a good feeling. I’m also so happy that people talk about things like these because for a very long time, I didn’t even have a word for what I was struggling with. I find that it’s just something you have to continue to work on and doing things that scare you does help so much. Loved this post!

    Paula
    Thirteen Thoughts

    • thesundaymode says:

      Thanks Paula, I can relate to those feelings as well. It’s awful when you feel like no one quite understands what you’re going through.

      It makes me really happy that more and more people are sharing their stories, struggles and journeys as well. I figure if I was younger, like you I would’ve so appreciated to read a post where someone talked about their anxiety- so I knew I wasn’t alone and wasn’t insane!

  11. Gabrielle says:

    ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ is one of my all-time favourite quotes. I’m so happy to hear you pushed through your anxiety! Funnily enough, I made a similar list a few years ago and it felt SO good after having pushed through so many of the things that were making life more difficult than it needed to be. Great post!

    aglassofice.com
    x

    • thesundaymode says:

      It’s a brilliant quote isn’t it? I actually first heard it from Estee Lalonde’s ‘Bloom’ book and it really stuck with me.

      That’s incredible that you made a list as well and got through it, more power to you!

  12. Louise says:

    Anxiety is horrible. Someone said to me “it’s not real, it’s an excuse” and I was shocked! xx

    • thesundaymode says:

      Wow, who said that? If they’re from the older generations then I feel like the have somewhat of an excuse because things like anxiety were just never talked about back then.

      If someone from our gen or younger generations said that then just wow, they must be so uneducated on mental health!

  13. Jessica says:

    I’m really fortunate not to suffer from anxiety myself, but pushing yourself to get past it is a pretty incredible thing to do. I have friends who take medication for their anxiety, and different things are going to work for different people, but just taking back control and telling yourself that you can do it is a really impressive and awesome thing to do. I really hope it continues to get better and you feel like you’re in a place where you have your life back. It can’t be easy, but you were completely right in thinking that you have to take charge of the situation and address it before it’s ever going to get better, because it’s the same with anything, and nothing is worse than living in fear your whole life.

    littlehenrylee.net

    • thesundaymode says:

      Thanks for the support Jessica, I’m ridiculously jealous that you don’t suffer from anxiety but at the same time, good for you girl! Enjoy that freedom.

  14. Honeypot Blogs says:

    This is such an important post for anyone struggling with anxiety! Everybody deals with anxiety differently and it’s great to read different coping methods! Really inspiring post!!xx

    http://www.honeypotblogs.com

  15. Cherie says:

    What a powerful post, Julia! Firstly, kudos of getting through your list in the first place and MAKING IT OUT ALIVE. Ya did it. Also secondly, I am frickin’ inspired by this – I can relate (possibly not in the same way but in the same strand, maybe?) to what you mean about comparing yourself to yourself and that is a seriously horrible feeling. I used to be worse and things got a bit better but recently, work and stressing out has made my circumstances less than ideal and I almost had a break down at home -_- ugh. Not fun…

    That said, I’m going to try to do something similar! I’m a bad list-maker, but I’ll have to think of things that’s holding me back… and just do it.

    Cherie ✿ delicately.xyz

    • thesundaymode says:

      Thanks Cherie! Yes do it Cherie, make that list girl! Not gonna lie I was pretty shocked to make it through mine alive but it’s a brilliant feeling to be on the other side of it.

      Glad you could relate to comparing yourself to yourself, it’s such an odd thing and an awful feeling that I feel like so many people just wouldn’t even understand.

  16. maria says:

    I am so sorry to hear that you have been suffering with anxiety because as someone who has had it for years, I know how destructive it can be and stop you from feeling like yourself. However, the technique you used is amazing and I am glad to hear that you have managed to find something that works for you – I used a similar thing to battle my anxiety, by forcing myself into situations that would purposely evoke it and overtime the anxiety actually declined. You’re very brave and should be incredibly proud of yourself! Also, the photos in this are gorgeous:)

    Maria | http://whatismaria.com

  17. Sabiha says:

    So great of you to be so honest and open up like this and glad to hear that you have found your coping mechanisms too x

    http://www.franklyflawless.com

  18. What an amazing post! It’s becoming a lot more acceptable for people to talk about their anxiety these days, but it’s still definitely not easy and not everybody gets it. But seriously, it really can hold you back in life. I totalllllly get that. I love how you conquered it with list making. So smart. Thank you for sharing, Julia! 🙂

    xo,
    Andrea | Hustle and Hearts

    • thesundaymode says:

      Oh for sure, as much as I’d love to think that there’s no taboo and that everyone gets it, unfortunately there are still a lot of people out there who just don’t understand anxiety, at all.

  19. Oh, wow. What an inspiring post. I can’t imagine what it must have took, staring down that horrible list on the first day, to get on with the challenge that you had set yourself – but I imagine it must be such a boost to know that you have it in you to do pretty much anything you set your mind to now!

    Also, that’s an absolutely dreamy coat – in fact, I love this whole look on you.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Lis / last year’s girl x

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