I’ve mentioned here before that I have struggled with anxiety throughout my life. It’s something that’s always with me, just below the surface, ready to bubble over if I don’t take care of the right things. Even though I don’t talk about it in depth here, it’s one of the main reasons that drives my work.
My Story with Anxiety
Even though I had been anxious for as long as I could remember, it really showed up after my daughter, Mira, was born. I was prepared for the possibility of PPD a few weeks after her birth, but I felt great then. But, then 9 months after her birth, I quit breastfeeding, started back on birth control meds, started a new job, and the anxious thoughts became unbearable. I didn’t realize at the time that postpartum could hit so long after the birth. But it did, and I was consumed with the thought of what if I become one of those moms who snaps and hurts her baby. There was a famous case of a mom doing just that when I was pregnant and I was terrified that it could happen to me, too. I was scared to be alone with Mira because what if? At the time, I didn’t realize my anxiety was actually postpartum OCD. Medicine, therapy and support thankfully helped ease the anxiety and allowed me to return to caring for her without being consumed with anxiety.
I’ve had other times since then when my anxiety has become overwhelming too. But the one underlying issue with my anxiety has always been that I don’t fully trust myself. I have feared that there is something wrong with me or my brain that would cause me to ‘lose it’, whatever that meant. I always incorrectly thought that if I don’t trust myself fully, the reason that I feel that way is there MUST be something wrong with me or something inherent untrustworthy about myself.
Learning my Enneagram Type
When I started hand lettering, one of the reasons I was so drawn to it is my belief that the words we tell ourselves becomes what we believe about ourselves. Words are powerful and can either lift you up or tear you down, so the words you believe about yourself are so important. Then, I heard about the Enneagram and quickly tried to determine my type.
When I first learned my Enneagram type, Type 6, I read that 6s have a failure of confidence and trust in themselves and their own mind or judgments. They don’t believe they can handle life’s challenges on their own. I read that over and over because it was like someone was describing exactly what I believed about myself. There wasn’t something actually untrustworthy about me! Just because I worried that there was didn’t mean it was true. It was an emotional and belief-shifting moment. Understanding myself through the Enneagram helped heal me in a way I wasn’t expecting.
How the Enneagram has Helped
Even though I still have anxiety that shows up, knowing that my lack of trust is common in Type 6s and just part of the way we think has helped keep it much more manageable. I can see the positive side of being the way I am. When I shared my first ever enneagram graphic on my Instagram account at the end of July 2019, it resonated with y’all too. That graphic was created to explore more about my own type, but you guys wanted more, so I ended up doing all of the types. And, that is what shifted my account to more enneagram content. I believe in the power of self-discovery and self-understanding and how much it can change lives.
So, if you struggle with anxiety too, I just want to remind you that there is nothing wrong with you. And learning more about yourself, whether thru the Enneagram or another self-understanding tool, will help you develop the confidence that you are okay. I want you to have that belief-shifting moment too, that’s why I show up here every day. You are going to be okay! The more you can understand yourself and give yourself grace, the smaller your anxiety will feel. I hope that we can learn more about ourselves together and extend grace to one another while we are all on this journey together.