The Tannehill Homestead
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My Anxiety Battle Before & After Minimalism

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Hi friend! Today, I want to talk about something extremely personal to me. I want to talk about my anxiety battle. It is something struggle with almost everyday. I have panic attacks, loose countless hours of sleep, create unnecessary arguments, etc. My anxiety was the worst in 2015. So much happened, and feeling constant pressure from every area of my life.

It is so hard for me to talk about this, because no one knows how bad it is, except for my husband. But I cannot keep writing about minimalism without sharing this part of my story. So let’s open the door to my biggest struggle.

I want to talk about my anxiety battle. It is something struggle with almost everyday. I have panic attacks, loose countless hours of sleep, create unnecessary arguments, etc. My anxiety was the worst in 2015. So much happened, and feeling constant pressure from every area of my life.

My Anxiety Battle Before Minimalism…

My anxiety dates back to when I was a child. Worrying if an argument between my parents would end them [which it didn’t], if I made good grades in school, if I was good enough to be someone’s friend, etc. As I grew into a teenager, things got worse. My hormones only fed my anxiety. I started to feel like I was not worthy of certain things, so I started to self-sabotage my life. By the time I was a senior in high school, I knew certain things triggered my anxiety, so I stayed away from those specific things. It got easier to cope with for a little while.

One of the biggest obstacles that came with my anxiety was learning that I was capable of receiving unconditional love from my husband. He fights so hard for my love, but my anxiety added a huge strain at points and times. Luckily, he is a great person who only wants to help me in any way that possible. He is not the best at opening up and saying the right words, but when you receive flowers with a note saying, “Just Because,” it says everything to you need it to. He is great with helping me recognize when my anxiety levels are high. Which leads me into the toughest year of my life…

Last year, a lot happened with deciding if the next phase of our life was possible. We discussed the first four months on whether or not it was the right time. I loved my home. It was the perfect first home that I was able to put my heart into making our home. Giving it away was really hard for me.

[Side note: Have you seen the shows that move homes? That’s what I really wanted to do!]

Truth is our first home did not have enough land to help make our dreams come true. My anxiety over this decision was so difficult to cope with at times. I knew what the right thing was to do, but I did not want to do it. We did find about 19 acres for sale, and decided to grab it before it sold. The property didn’t have a house, water, electricity, or any amenities to mention, but it had potential.

Upon finding this land, we staged our home and sold it 3 days after listing it! Staging and selling the house was crazy busy. I took two weeks to clear most of the clutter, donate what we no longer wanted, and clean it everyday thoroughly to be sure it always stayed fresh for any possible showings. As soon as we had a contract on the house, I began sorting through everything that was still in the house, which seemed to be a lot more than I took out when staging the house.

At this point, I decided to have a garage sale, because I had enough things to make some extra money. The only furniture we took with us was our bedroom, guest bedroom, and desk. We sold everything else. Our last night in the home was a disaster! We had half of what we needed packed up and needed to pack up the rest. At one point, I was so done with the process that I started shoving things in trash bags, because we ran out of boxes. The night we moved out was not any better. It took my husband and I until 1:30 AM to get everything out of the house, into storage or take with us to my in laws.

I thought I had gotten rid of a lot of things, but we still had a lot. With that now on my mind, I began to wonder if decluttering would really help my anxiety, because it had not yet.

In the time of living with my in laws, I realized my anxiety also came from sensory. I could not hardly go anywhere without feeling overwhelmed by everything. We had a clothes rack, several boxes, and a couple of trash bags full of the things we needed with us. Grocery shopping made me feel awful. I began to feel like I had made a huge mistake.

The two months we lived with my in laws, while we built our shop with our apartment, was the darkest part of my emotional health. I lost weight without trying, so mean and moody, and just sick of it all. Done with who I was, where I was, and the life I was living; I wanted it to be over! [It probably did not help when I started finding my first gray hairs either!]

After we moved, I was still unhappy, but I tried my best to work on my emotions. I decided nothing was coming into our living space without being sorted to see what we needed in our space. This process took roughly 3 months to complete, and I noticed a weight starting to lift. I started realizing how much we did not need. I stopped almost 80% of these things from coming into our home and taking up unnecessary space!

Once this was complete, I decided to create the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. I knew I needed to work on not just the physical clutter, but also the mental clutter filling my brain of unnecessary things. By the tenth day, I knew minimalism worked for me. I started to see my dream of living without clutter take form. My anxiety cleared up some, I was not as moody, and I started to appreciate the people around me again.

My Anxiety Battle After Minimalism…

Now that I consider myself a minimalist, I feel much better about myself and where I live. Our decision to take a step closer to our dreams no longer feels like regret. We started a small farm with chickens and piglets! Gardening is very therapeutic for me, and I enjoy seeing things grow! Follow me on Instagram for more pictures of my farm life!

 

 

 

 

 

I started taking college classes for my second bachelor’s degree, and happily announce that I got achieved a 4.0 this semester! [YAY!] Going back to school was a great decision for my family and my mental health. [Sort of obsessed with continuing my education.]

I have, also, officially declared my place tidy instead of decluttered! [More about this in Wednesday’s post!] This has really taken my household chores to a new level, and I am excited about it! I gained almost an hour a day back thanks to my new routine!

With all of these changes, my anxiety declined, sleep improved, and I enjoy life much more! My anxiety is not gone. It is a struggle I will always work to reduce, but minimalism helps me control it.

If you have any questions about my battle with anxiety or becoming a minimalist, please ask below in the comments, or send me an email by clicking HERE!

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Karin Rambo
    May 9, 2016 at 9:59 am

    I’m so happy you’re finding some peace Erin! I also struggle with anxiety (not on a massive level, but it’s still there) and it is also related to sensory. You should check out my sister in laws blog (christinakayrambo.blogspot.com). She writes a lot about anxiety and I find it really helpful to hear her story!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    May 9, 2016 at 11:02 am

    So glad to hear you’re not struggling as much anymore. Getting rid of a lot of the clutter is on my list too!

  • Reply
    KP
    May 9, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    This is such a great post – thanks for sharing such a personal story! I’ve suffered from anxiety for quite some time and I never really linked physical clutter with mental clutter until recently.
    I’m glad you are finding some relief from your anxiety with this new minimalist lifestyle!

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      May 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks, KP. It’s such a relief to be able to fix a trigger. I never thought it would be possible, but so glad it is!

  • Reply
    Christine @ The Mostly Simple Life
    May 9, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! My husband has severe anxiety that has hugely impacted our lives. I really feel like it is something that so many people experience to some degree (myself included), yet hardly anyone will talk about it. My mood and stress level change depending on how cluttered our home is. I try so hard to not acquire much stuff because it has such an effect on me and I’m sure it does on my husband as well. I’m so glad you’re in a more peaceful state of mind.

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      May 11, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Thank you, Christine! I was very hesitant to share this, but I am glad I did. I can only imagine what it is like to have severe anxiety. I am hypersensitive and have anxiety, so it can be pretty bad at times, but minimalism has definitely been my ticket to get it under control. I’ve tried medicines, but they eliminated my emotions. I feel like I am supposed to feel things and listen to my body when it gets over stressed, not block the feelings due to my anxiety.

  • Reply
    Kayla
    May 10, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Thank you so much for being strong and secure enough to share this beautifully crafted post! Your post has definitely given me something to think about just as I know it has for many of your readers! Great job!

  • Reply
    Briana
    August 9, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Erin,
    I just discovered your blog through Pinterest and I am so excited! This post could easily be about me and my own struggles with anxiety (and minimalism). I, like you, have found peace through minimalism. I am excited to keep following your blog! 🙂

    • Reply
      erin@thetannehillhomestead.com
      August 9, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Briana, you just made my day! I am so happy you found me through this post. It is probably the most difficult post I have written on my blog for many reasons. You can also subscribe to my blog so that you never miss a blog post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lei
    November 25, 2018 at 3:33 am

    Hi, have you heard of a book called Highly Sensivite Person? Look it up online – it’s got a lot of useful advice for people who are overwhelmed with clutter etc

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