For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an anxious person. And I don’t just mean that I worry—that’s a normal (if not somewhat useless) human emotion. I mean that, when I’m deep in the throes of anxiety, I experience both physical manifestations, such as labored breathing, sweating, and shaking, as well as all-consuming irrational thoughts. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. It’s debilitating, frustrating, and—as I’ve discovered—manageable with the right tools.
It took years of cognitive behavioral therapy, in addition to meditation and yoga practices, to develop a suite of coping mechanisms that could consistently bring me back to myself. But these strategies are not always perfect. I’ve failed to call on them during many anxious moments—and most of all, in the years since I became a mother, with worries that seem to multiply with every passing day.