I dance with anxiety as part of my life. I would have once said that I struggle with it, now I say that I understand my anxiety and have a giant toolbox to help dance with my anxiety. I think I have all my life, though I didn’t recognize it as that until I was in my 30’s. I’m telling my story here with the hope that it will help you or someone you know. I struggled for so long, and now I have something that truly helps to lessen my anxiety.
In the past, anxiety would show up for me as a middle of the night wake up with heart racing, monkey mind churning about work, family, the grant I was writing or the lesson plan I didn’t have done yet. My breathing would be shallow, my tummy full of butterflies, and it would take awhile to fall back asleep. Anxiety can still show up as a tingling in my body, tension in my shoulders, heart rate increasing. Sometimes I will notice that I am frantically cleaning or organizing the kitchen. Anxiety shows up as not living in the present moment and worrying about the future regarding money and jobs- the butterflies, the tension in the neck and shoulders, they are real physical phenomena that are directly related to what I do to myself when I am anxious. I am grateful that I have never experienced anxiety, like many people do, that keeps me from functioning, driving, or working. I am grateful that I have always been a “functioning person living with anxiety” and I know that many people are suffering instead of dancing with it.
What I realize is that So. Many. People. Have. Anxiety. And, yet, it is not freely talked about. Western medicine treats it with drugs, which include so many potential harmful side-effects. Often these drugs are not even created and tested for anxiety, they are covering up the root cause and can cause side-effects that are far worse than the anxiety itself. I have observed this first hand, watching my husband be treated for years for anxiety with a variety of pharmaceutical drugs with terrible side-effects (so bad he has sworn to never take one ever again). Taking medicine for anxiety does not necessarily provide tools for navigating anxious thought patterns or the effects of anxiety. (I do recognize that some people do find support with these types of drugs.)
I have an enormous toolbox full of tools I gathered over the years with many self-care practices that help me with anxiety. These tools include: meditation, yoga nidra, reiki, yoga, acupuncture, exercise, eating right, sleep, energy work, essential oils and supplements. I have tried numerous supplements and herbal remedies. In the past, I have taken giant handfuls of pills per day, including supplements, Chinese or Western herbs and, honestly, I did not ever notice dramatic effects. Inevitably, after a solid month or two of taking handfuls of pills, I would stop because it was just not a sustainable practice for me. I tried this many times spanning a decade, trying a new handful of supplements, going through the same cycle of no dramatic effects and not keeping up with the practice because I found it didn’t make much of a difference one way or another.
In May 2015, I started taking the Alphay lingzhi mushroom blend Calm and I have found the ONE supplement that has helped with my anxiety. I don’t want to say that it is a “magic pill” because there isn’t that, right? The wonderful part about this “magic pill” is that there are NOT potential harmful side-effects, and Lingzhi mushrooms are adaptogens, so they are supporting the entire body/mind/spirit, not harming in any way. Taking these capsules is now an added daily practice that I cannot go without. Like exercise, meditation, and energy work, taking the Calm blend is one of the practices that keep me grounded, peaceful and with very infrequent and manageable anxiety. It has been almost 2 years now of regularly taking Calm or another blend of Alphay’s lingzhi capsules, and the positive effects are improved sleep, no more waking up in the middle of the night with major anxiety, and a general overall sense of calmer well-being. I notice when I forget to take my Alphay supplements, like when I traveled and my shipment arrived the day after I departed. A week later without the mushrooms, I had a day of rapid heart rate, shallow breathing and racing thoughts, even after numerous meditations throughout the day. Using lingzhi is a daily practice I will continue for the rest of my life. Especially knowing the benefits of this mushroom, I don’t know how I could not keep integrating it into my life. If you are dancing (or suffering) with anxiety in your life, let’s talk- and let’s get you some Calm so you can see (and dance) for yourself.