For those who suffer from anxiety, combatting your anxious thoughts can begin first thing in the morning and become an exhausting, all-day war.
Popular blogger Tiffany Jenkins of Juggling the Jenkins is well-known for her honesty and humor, having been open in the past about her struggles with addiction and the realities of raising kids. In her most recent viral video, she tackles the subject of anxiety, and it is a powerful representation of a “day in the life” of someone who regularly battles anxious thinking.
In the video, Jenkins portrays herself on a typical day, along with an alter ego she labels “Anxiety.” The alter ego is a dark, sinister version of herself wearing a black hooded cape and dark makeup. The bags under her eyes are a great representation of how exhausting anxiety can be.
The video begins with Anxiety staring Jenkins in the face first thing in the morning.
“It’s time to wake up,” Anxiety says. “We’ve got a lot to do today. We’re not going to get any of it done. But we will spend a lot of time obsessing about it.”
“Awesome, can’t wait,” Jenkins replies, with her signature sarcastic humor.
What follows is a series of events made much more difficult by the invasive anxious thoughts constantly pelted at Jenkins.
For example, when Jenkins’ daughter asks for a sleepover, Anxiety tells her that she is putting her child as risk.
“Have you not seen Chris Hansen’s To Catch a Predator [referring to the popular NBC true crime series]?” Anxiety asks.
The day goes downhill from there. Anxiety has a way of making Jenkins doubt and stress over every decision that she makes, including something as simple as answering her phone.
“Don’t answer that,” Anxiety scolds. “She’s going to want you to go do something, and then you’re going to have to put pants on.”
Anxiety makes even small tasks feel impossible and debilitating, and this video perfectly captures that in a humorous and relatable way.
At one point, Anxiety yells out, “This is too much!” to which Jenkins replies, “What? I’m not even doing anything.”
But Anxiety won’t let it rest and insists that everything is “too much, ALL of it” — until Jenkins finally agrees.
The video shows how feelings of anxiety can cause a person to constantly doubt themselves, to believe that others are judging them, or to think that something bad is certain to happen. Even at the end of the day, Anxiety tells Jenkins — after reminding her that she was supposed to start a diet that day and instead ate tacos — of all the things that she should worry about for tomorrow.
“Why don’t you stay awake for a couple more hours and think about that?” Anxiety asks, before reminding Jenkins that she will most certainly be back tomorrow.
As someone who struggles with depression (and some anxiety because they seem to be evil twins) I could definitely relate to this barrage of negative thinking. For me, it tends to manifest as negative self-talk, and on bad days, it’s relentless.
According to my therapist, my brain has trained itself to harbor these thoughts almost on auto-pilot. He said it’s like carving a sledding run into the snow. The more you travel down that way of thinking, the easier it is for your brain to take that same run (or repeat the same thoughts) again. He has taught me the importance of fighting back against these thoughts. So, that when they enter my mind, I am to immediately label them as lies, and replace them with the truth.
Jenkins tells Babble that she has struggled with anxiety for as long as she can remember.
“I came up with the idea for a video because it’s so hard to describe anxiety to somebody who doesn’t have it,” she says.
Jenkins says she has tried many different ways of coping with her anxiety throughout her life, including abusing drugs. Now sober, Jenkins has found healthy and (as she puts it) “weird” ways for coping when anxiety strikes — including meditating, keeping water beads in a bowl close by to run her hands through, rage coloring, and running around her house with a sage stick. Brilliant!
Jenkins also stresses the importance of speaking openly and honestly with loved ones, and being willing to express your needs to them.
“Having support is everything,” she says.
Amen. By sharing her struggle with others in such a powerful and creative way, Jenkins is helping others to know that they are not alone — and to keep fighting.