Those of you who are avid Girl Meets Life readers like I am have already heard of Freely Be, a newly formed nonprofit that partners existing charities with the business world to help the charities promote their cause. Freely Be’s first campaign, Kick the Habit, starts tomorrow. Because the Freely Be team explains it best, I’ll give you their description of the campaign:
Before you can change the world, you need to change your own. To share freedom, one must be free themselves. In an effort to bring that freedom, we are launching a fun FREEDOM rally- Kick the Habit.
Is there something in your life that just isn’t good for you? Addicted to smoking? Spending too much on cocktails? Taking cabs when you could be walking? Can’t stop the urge to shop?
Then its time to kick the habit!
From August 1-31 we want to hear your stories and challenge you for the month to improve YOU!
So get ready to send us your emails, videos, tweets, etc. on how you Kicked the Habit and are encouraging others to do so as well. We’ll also be opening up the Freely Forums so you can discuss your kicked habit with others who might share the same one.
Think you’ll want to take it a step further? We propose taking the finances you would use on that habit, and donate it towards a good cause. Details on that to come.
You take on the challenge – help others, help yourself. What have you got to lose (other than yellow teeth and early-onset wrinkles?)
I thought Kick the Habit sounded like a fantastic idea, so I’ve decided to participate. Throughout the month I’ll be blogging about the process to let you know how things are going (plus it will give me something to write about while I’m working to figure out where to take my running career after my first 5K!).
What habit am I trying to kick this August? Honestly, it’s not so much of a habit as it is a condition. I’ve been living with an anxiety disorder and OCD since I was about seven years old. For me, the two really go hand-in-hand. My compulsive behaviors all stem from an obviously flawed belief that if I do x, y won’t happen. For me, “y” generally means severe weather. While I occasionally get what I call “anxiety-ed out” for no reason, the vast majority of my anxiety or panic attacks are triggered by thunderstorms. Since I live in an area where thunderstorms are usually a weekly occurrence during the summer and about a bi-weekly occurrence during the spring and fall, this is a pretty big problem.
Because I can’t control the weather and thus can’t control what triggers my anxiety, over the years I turned to compulsive behavior. Even though I logically know that the color of the shirt I wear on Mondays, the parking spot I choose at work, the sandwich I decide to pack for lunch in no way influences the weather, the irrational part of my mind tells me that if I don’t wear red on Mondays, if I don’t park in the exact same spot every day, if I don’t pack a turkey sandwich for lunch, there will certainly be a horrendous thunderstorm that day. Having any of these things thrown off has at times been extremely distressing for me.
This is not okay! Earlier this summer I worked really hard on saying “no” to my OCD whenever possible. Doing this gave me a wonderful sense of freedom. For the first time that I could remember, I felt like I controlled my anxiety (at least a little bit)–it finally didn’t control me. As time has passed, though, I’ve fallen back into my old habits and have had far more near-misses with panic attacks in the past few weeks than I care to admit.
I want to live my life freely again. I expect that anxiety and OCD are something that I will struggle with my entire life. But these things don’t have to define me like I’ve let them. I am more than ready to start living the life I’ve longed to live, free from a nearly constant state of worry and stress. I know that this will be a long process: a marathon, if you will. This August will be a baby step in the right direction–maybe you could call it my first 5K 😉 .
What habit do YOU want to kick this August?