Minimalism looks different for each person.
For us, it looks like 3 plates.
It looks like 3 bowls,
& 1 spork.
For us, it doesn't look like plain white walls and fitting all of our possessions into a suitcase.
I have been interested in minimalism for the better part of my life.
Part of it was intrigue, but now I know that part of it was a yearning for something simple, something simple in my world that was always full of panic.
My name is Hudler, and I have panic disorder as well as social anxiety disorder.
Just a couple of short years ago I was a wreck. I was suffering from no fewer than two, and upwards of six, panic attacks each day. They were debilitating and were destroying my life. Things began to take a positive turn when I spoke with someone who helped me to take the stigma away from being medicated. I had tried all kinds of "natural" methods - passion flower, kava, magnesium. All worked in some ways, but they were really just bandaids. Bandaids that couldn't cover up the fact that I had a mental illness and shit like that doesn't really help actual anxiety and panic disorder. Do they help ease situation anxiety? It's anecdotal, but from my experience, yes. But clinical anxiety is so much more than that.
After this person, and a couple of others, helped me over the "I don't want to be medicated" hump, I began taking Zoloft.
Zoloft gave me my life back.
I will never forget the moment that it "kicked in." I was in the parking lot at the mall. I was backing out of a parking spot and realized someone was waiting to take my spot. In the past a simple situation such as this would have sent me off the deep end. I would have motioned the person on frantically, cried my eyes out, and worked my way through a 30-minute (or longer) panic attack. But this day was different. I was expecting that feeling.
...and it never came.
...and it was glorious.
But Zoloft, while fucking amazing, isn't what I'm writing about today. Today, I'm writing about how minimalism has also helped.
I have attempted to minimize my life a few times over the past half decade. Each attempt didn't work because I don't think I was ready to commit to actually getting rid of the things in my home. Part of that came from the misconception that we had to live bare bones. While I'm not overly sentimental, my husband is. There was no way that he would get rid of a lot of things.
Then I had a meltdown.
A friend's husband committed suicide and it shook my world. I didn't really know him, but I knew her so well and couldn't get past how if something like that could happen in their family, it could happen in any family. I had felt my anxiety creeping up a bit, but my therapist didn't think I needed to increase my Zoloft because she believed it to be situation anxiety. Which I now know it was.
I began thinking of her family, their mourning, and I found myself mourning the life that her kids would never experience. That made me realize that things had to change in my own life. I melted down to my husband and he agreed that whatever need to be done for my mental health would be done. On top of that, I realized that minimizing our belongings also meant saving money, and we began to also tackle the Dave Ramsey plan.
We began to cut back, and while we're not where we want to be yet, we are already seeing the benefits.
There is something calming about waking up and not finding a counter, sink, stove top, and oven rack full of dirty dishes because you simply don't have enough dishes to fill all those things.
There is something joyful about not stressing out because you've tried on 10 pair of pants and none of them fit because you now only have a few pieces you love, and they all fit you beautifully and they all match one another.
There is something appealing about not having your child whining about cleaning up his toys because now everything has it's place and is loved.
There is something peaceful about not having an entire bedroom full of clean, unfolded clothes that need to be done because now you don't have enough to fill up half your closet, much less a whole bedroom.
There is less anxiety.
There is less worry.
There is just less.