It’s OK to not be OK

Hi, it’s been a while, and in the wake of Kate Spades tragic death yesterday, I wanted to reach out and tell you that it’s OK to not be OK. I’ve dealt with anxiety for months now, and not just your run of the mill nervous/excited type of anxiety. More like can’t get out of bed, can’t sleep, teeth grinding, can’t deal with life type of anxiety.

We don’t talk about mental health enough, as fitness professionals or just as people. I may post lots of smiling sweaty selfie pics on Insta, or post about my fabulous workout, healthy meal or whatever, but truth be told I’ve been dealing with some hard AF issues. I’ve finally reached a point where I can get my head above water most days, but I still struggle. If you’re going through something similar, or have been through something similar know that it’s ok to be sad, depressed, anxious, angry, unhappy etc. Talk to someone, call a friend, family member, reach out to a professional. If no one told you today: you are strong, you are capable and you are loved. Reach out. Get help. No one is alone in this world, and there are resources to help you. Suicide affects people from every walk of life and it is not the answer to your struggles however large or difficult they may be.

The National Suicide Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. 

If you want to read more about my struggles, you can continue reading below. If you need someone to talk to or more importantly just listen, call me, I am here for you. I’ve sat on this blog post for months, but hope that by sharing my story someone out there will know that its ok to struggle, its ok to need and seek help. Life is not always sunshine and rainbows, but it’s the darker times that make us stronger, and let our light shine a little brighter when we come out of it.

I can’t really pinpoint ONE thing that started to make me feel anxious, but I do know that I tried hard for a long time to just ignore it and cover it up. I ate comfort foods, which led to weight gain. I traveled, which made things SO much worse at first, but eventually led me to face some pretty intense fears and allowed me to be a lot more comfortable being alone. I exercised, normally it is my go to stress relief but for a while it led to some pretty awful self talk and doubt about my abilities. I drank, A LOT, to the point of excess on several occasions. My drinking strained, hurt and ultimately broke a lot of relationships. I stopped drinking in January for Whole30, and have almost entirely given it up. The struggle with addiction is real and it is not something to be taken lightly. If you think you’re struggling with addiction get help before it’s late. There are resources and people to help you, AA is a great place to start.

There are a few things that have helped me manage and control my anxiety. What has worked for me may or may not work for you and the remedies listed are not a substitute for professional help. I urge you to speak with a professional immediately if you are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others.

Essential Oils: I diffuse a few different scents during the day to motivate or relax me depending on my need. I currently love the Tranquility roller from Young Living, especially at night, and the Deep Relief roller also YL has been a life saver for everything from muscle soreness to tension headaches. DoTerra’s Motivate and Grapefruit scents help me check things off my to do list and grind through business paperwork.

Calm Meditation App: This app is amazing, for dealing with everything from anxiety to insomnia to social media addiction to general mental health. I use it all the time and especially love the sleep stories.

Night Guard: After grinding my teeth at night for months, I finally gave in and spent the money on a night guard. My dentist custom fit one for my mouth and it not only helps me sleep better, but helps with my oral health and prevents tension headaches.

I also tried adaptogens and two CBD products that did not work as well as I would have liked.

Adaptogens: I tried Four Sigmatic’s Hot Cocoa Mix with Reishi at night a few times and while I’m not entirely sure that it helped me sleep better, drinking a hot beverage was soothing for me. I’m also currently experimenting with some other adaptogens and will post more after further use.

CBD: It seems like everyone is talking about CBD lattes, balls, bath bombs, etc. right now. I purchased two of Humboldt Apothecary’s products: the Sweet Jane (varying concentrations with THC) and Blues Away (also contains THC) tinctures. The Blues away tastes AWFUL, and I did not enjoy the effects of the THC at all, it ended up giving me crazy amounts of energy and a massive headache. The Sweet Jane has a lower concentration of THC and tastes significantly better, when taken on occasion before bed I do think it has made me sleep better. However both products contain narcotics and I did feel a ‘high’ from them. The warning labels state that you should not drive or operate heavy machinery when taking products containing THC. I may use the Sweet Jane as a last resort on occasion, but do not see myself buying or using any other products containing CBD/THC in the future.

I am so thankful that I have been able to find ways to deal with my anxiety and so grateful for the people who have supported me along the way. If you are struggling or have struggled in the past just know that I am sending you a huge virtual hug.

Life is worth LIVING.

-Briana