My Reasons for Practicing Witchcraft (heavy topic)

I had a discussion with someone the other day and I thought this was a great topic to talk about.

People have asked me why I practice. Some of the questions I’ve been asked, “Why do you do all these “crazy hippie” things?” “Why do you like rocks?” “Why are you chanting? Are
you keeping demons away?” – chuckle Well yes, I am sort of keeping demons away!

**The article below, I wrote to try to explain the ugliness of Anxiety and Panic Disorder. Some content below may be upsetting to some or triggering, so proceed with caution.
:warning:

It IS however, the MAIN reason I started practicing witchy ways.

The Ugly Truth About Panic & Anxiety

I try hard to be a positive person. MOST of the time I do pretty well staying positive and living a positive life; which is very challenging sometimes considering the world we live in today!

But, I am writing this today to let you know that sometimes it’s OK to not be ’ OK '. Someone who has struggled with anxiety & panic disorder for most of her life has had many moments of " not-ok-ness ". (Yeah, I made this word up.)

There is such a stigma against anxiety and panic that I have only really started talking about it publicly within the last 5 to 6 years. At first I was embarrassed. If people knew about my disorder, I’d be viewed as weak and I wasn’t having that! But, over time I got the courage to openly speak about it as I saw it was helping others who were suffering my same fate.

My anxiety, over the years, has been mostly silent. You wouldn’t even notice a change on the outside of my person, but sometimes I’m honestly so anxious I can’t even manage simple tasks. People have called me lazy or unfocused, when the reality is, I’m just overwhelmed. It feels like I am trying to hold together 50,000 puzzle pieces with no hands.

I get nervous about everything. Sometimes I literally don’t know why I’m anxious. I just am, and no-one seems to understand that. Sometimes outside factors persuade the edginess to come forth; this is a normal part of life, we are human, when bad things happen we are supposed to feel the things… and the rest of the nonsense, not so much. It is what it is; it’s nonsense that can’t be explained in the moment that it’s happening. All the anxiety brain knows at that moment is overwhelming fear.

Sometimes my anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but my need for wanting to control it. It’s not rational thinking by any means, but it is what anxiety brains do. There’s just so much going on in my mind, that sometimes I can’t keep up with what’s going on around me.

Anxiety makes you sit there and overthink everything in your life. At times it makes you think people in your life are leaving you. You begin to feel abandoned, and not worthy of anything good. You begin to feel unloved; like your existence doesn’t even matter. The fact that many people around you don’t even recognize or have the patience for your illness only makes everything worse.

The thing about an anxiety disorder is that you KNOW deep down what you are thinking is stupid. You know it with all your heart & soul that what you are thinking is irrational and that it should just roll off you.

No big deal, right? Wrong .

That is where the disorder kicks in. Suddenly the small things are very big things, and it keeps growing in your head, overflowing into your chest, and then trying to escape from under your skin. Before you know it, every cell is alive and screaming. You know with all your heart that you’re being ridiculous, and you hate every minute of feeling this way, but it assaults you once again as quick as a cobra strike.

You wish at that very moment you could shed off your skin and leave it behind just so you couldn’t feel that feeling any longer. Anything would feel better at that moment than feeling what you are feeling.

Anxiety is terrible, you could be having an attack, and no one would even know or notice. It’s not always about breathing heavy, shaking or crying. It can be an inward thing. It feels like your brain is malfunctioning and you can’t process your own thoughts.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it manifests and cuts a gash into which all other thoughts are drained and voided. The only thing that is felt is absolute dread. The sensation of losing control over your own body is unbearable. It only encourages the panic to rise even more. Every cell feeling like it’s being seized and choked out.

It’s not wanting to live anymore, but afraid to die. It’s feeling detached from reality but knowing you are IN reality.

It’s a knot in your stomach and the feeling you can’t take a full breath of air, you feel as if you are drowning but there is no water to be found. It’s the feeling of your skin being overly sensitive, a feeling like every nerve in your body is on fire. You long for someone to help you, but recoil at their touch.

Outwardly you can literally just sit there and look completely normal, as long as no one tries to speak to you. Sometimes people think I’m a bitch or I’m irritated, but reality is, I am internally struggling and trying to hold my shit together, so I don’t completely lose myself in the darkness that is trying to engulf me and snuff my light out.

I have had people say to me, “Laurie, it’s all in your head, get over it.” Do you honestly think I WANT to feel this way? If I had a choice, I would NEVER feel these feelings again.

Just because I can’t explain the feelings causing my anxiety, doesn’t make them less valid. Just as someone not understanding those feelings makes them less valid. The mental and physical occurrences during a panic attack episode are tremendously real and unfortunately those feelings of panic usually end up fueling the already growing fire.

Most people can’t even begin to realize the strength it takes to pull yourself out of an anxiety attack. Anxiety is one of the most silent, painful experiences you could have. It makes no sense and most of the time you end up sitting alone and suffering for unknown reasons.

Most people don’t understand it or get annoyed with it. I have learned over the years, that, THAT isn’t my issue to deal with. I have my own panic issues to deal with without adding feelings of worry that I am annoying someone with it.

Over the years I have utilized many tools to help me cope with my anxiety and panic disorder. From prescription medications to meditation. Most of the time [now] I can control it and ease my panic’s ugliness back into submission. Sometimes I can’t push it down and it washes over me like a tsunami. I have learned on these occasions to embrace the glorious mess I have become. It’s OK to not be OK!

You can’t always stop the waves, but you can learn to surf them.

ALL that above it why I practice. All my “rocks”, chants, rituals, “hippie-shit” and “voodoo” keeps me sane. It keeps me grounded. It makes me feel a calming wholeness when all I feel is chaos.

This is kind of a long winded post to finally ask, why do YOU practice witchcraft?

DISCLAIMER!

I will add I am not suicidal. I am fine. Really…I am. I struggle with a mental disorder called GAD and Panic Disorder. I write about it for a few reasons; it’s therapeutic for me and if someone reads this who is struggling, they may feel better knowing they aren’t going through this alone and that they aren’t crazy.

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you just described me 200%.
I am at the point that if you don’t like what i’m doing or how i’m acting…I DON"T CARE. I am doing it for ME and to help ME, not to make anyone happy or have them like me. If I have to be in bitch mode to keep it together then so be it.

The only time I can be at ease is when I am totally alone, just me and my 3 puppers and my cat in my lap because they don’t judge how I am acting or rantting on.

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Right now I’m fighting my depression. It snuck up on me throughout the year and got worse. I realized I was feeling tired all the time and was never happy. I’m in counseling and seeing my doctor to get my medicines adjusted but sometimes praying to the Lord and Lady is the thing that helps me the most. Just … connecting, you know?

So keep on with your hippie-shit and feel better!

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Anxiety problem here, too. I haven’t seen a therapist in almost 4 years now and sometimes it’s hard… Most people don’t even believe me when I say I’m going crazy! “Silent” is a great word to describe it, Laurie! :grimacing:

Grounding spells are extremely useful, especially those who are designed to be grounding.

Here’s one: focusing on the 5 senses gets you out of your head:

  • Name 5 things you see.

  • Name 4 things you hear.

  • Name 3 things you touch.

  • Name 2 things you smell.

  • Name something you taste.

It looks simple but it can be hard to do when your mind is racing a thousand miles per second.

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I’ve done something similar. I try to find 5 blue things. 4 purple things. 3 green things. 2 yellow things. 1 red thing…it does help but it’s VERY difficult as you said to focus when your brain is set to 100000 MPH.

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@SilverBear reading that just made me cry. You’ve literally just described my life since the age of 8.

Thank you for sharing. It helps knowing you aren’t alone :heart::heart::heart:

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I’m sorry I made you cry! :frowning_face: I’ve had panic since I was 6…it sucks.

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It’s OK! I used to keep all my negative emotions locked up inside me, all my sadness and anger, and recently I’ve realised it makes me feel so much worse.

I’ve cried more in this half of the year than I have in my previous 29 years on earth and honestly I feel so much better for letting it out. It’s almost cathartic. :relieved:

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This is very powerful, @SilverBear. You have an amazing way with words, and your writing really resonates :heart: . You bring up a really important point too, about the stigma of anxiety/depression/other mental health concerns and how important it is to be able to talk about these things.

When I was in high school I had a horrible problem- I was sad and upset all the time, and eventually I started having awful pain in my stomach during the day. I saw so many doctors- so many clinics and hospitals and tests I went through. Finally, after many many months- one doctor told me that the cause was stress. That my turbulent emotions had turned into a physical problem. That instead of going to see physicians, I should have instead been seeing psychologists. I’ve since learned I have anxiety, and if I don’t take care of my mind, it grows out of control and affects my body in physical ways.

I’ve heard this too, so many times- but it’s NOT “just in your head”. Mental health is just as important as physical health- and oftentimes they affect and instigate each other.

Your feelings, emotions, and pain are all very valid. And practicing magick, following a religion or spirituality, meditating, or any other healthy practices that help you feel in control are valid practices :two_hearts: . Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Sending lots of love to @SilverBear, @Katt, @kasie, @Francisco, @mrs, and anyone else living with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health challenges. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help if you need it :heart:

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“When I was in high school I had a horrible problem- I was sad and upset all the time, and eventually I started having awful pain in my stomach during the day. I saw so many doctors- so many clinics and hospitals and tests I went through. Finally, after many many months- one doctor told me that the cause was stress. That my turbulent emotions had turned into a physical problem. That instead of going to see physicians, I should have instead been seeing psychologists. I’ve since learned I have anxiety, and if I don’t take care of my mind, it grows out of control and affects my body in physical ways.”

So sorry to hear this!! @TheTravelWitch :pensive: But you are absolutely right. When my aniexty gets out of control I have horrible physical effects, cold sweats, hot flushes, palpations, headaches, stomach cramps, dizziness, vomiting, diahorrea, feinting.

It’s the worst.

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The physical ‘symptoms’ of panic/anxiety are awful…many times I’d find myself sliding into a corner of a room, holding onto the walls because I felt like I was dying. I would not wish this issue on my worst enemy. Horrible things to deal with and I went many, many, many years without a diagnosis, so, for years, I just chalked it up to "Laurie is being ridiculous’ because that is what I heard my entire life. Sadly, when I think back I was six years old when I had my first panic attack and I was officially diagnosed at 45. I’ll be 50 in Sept.

I too am here for anyone who needs an ear! I can relate and empathize with the struggle.

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Sending you @TheTravelWitch lots of love in return. I really think that groups l ike this help a lot of people. I’m so thankful to have found this site.

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Awww yeah. I know how awful it can be. There are so many surprising ways that anxiety can manifest itself and wreck havoc :confounded: Sending lots of hugs and love to you, @mrs :heart:

This is so sad, and I know the feeling- getting tossed from one doctor to the next and dealing with all of the self-doubt. Which of course, just piles on the stress and makes the symptoms worse. I’m so glad you were able to (finally) get diagnosed, @SilverBear - the validation and having a label (knowing that it really isn’t “all in your head”!) can really help :slightly_smiling_face:. Sending love and warm thoughts! :heart:

Thank you, @kasie! You are so kind :heartpulse: And I agree! I am grateful to have found a place with so many understanding and warmhearted people :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Aww, you’re welcome @TheTravelWitch! You’re sweet too! You’ve totally made me feel welcomed here. :purple_heart:

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Awww thank you, @kasie! :heart: I’m so glad to hear that! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :sparkling_heart: