Some of you may know that one of my new year’s resolutions is to try and use some of my experiences with grief and anxiety to help others. I feel that what I have been through, and am still going through should be put to some use, so I have decided to do a series of posts specifically about my anxiety and the journey I have been on and some of the things I have tried and experienced, ranging from CBT through to books I’ve read and technology and apps. I plan on writing about 5 posts in total over the coming weeks/months. What I will say is that I am by no means an expert on anxiety and treating it, everyone is different so what I find works for me may not work for everyone else. I just hope that someone may read this at some point and think ‘wow I’m not alone, I am not a freak and things can get easier’.
I thought the best place to start is trying to put down into words about my anxiety, what I deal with day to day. I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to writing it down, in fact I’ve almost shut the computer off about 4 times… so here it goes.
I find my anxiety comes in two forms, the first is about people’s views and opinions of me and the second, and more frequent is the constant fear of something bad happening to me or the people I care about. I realise these are both things that everyone worries about at some stage, but my worry is extreme at times.
Let’s start with the first type, which has also spawned one of my other resolutions for this year. I find I stew on things, specifically conversations with people or incidents that have happened. For example, I can make a flippant comment or joke to someone and you will find me lying awake at 4am thinking ‘have I offended them, do they think I’m an idiot’. I find that ever since an ex-boyfriend told me I came across arrogant when people first meet me I have a terrible anxiety around meeting new people and how they view me, I often worry about people talking about me behind my back. It is not that I crave being liked, I get that not every person is everyone’s cup of tea, it’s more that I will make a bad impression due to my own stupidity. That is one of the main reasons why sharing this blog as a whole is proving difficult for me, I am writing about stuff that matters to me, things I like and are important to me but I worry by sharing it people will judge me for not using it as a platform for talking about important social issues and things – they will view me as a silly girl talking about makeup and fashion and stuff.
The second type I find much more difficult to keep under control. I often get worried about things either happening to myself or specifically Hubby or Twiglet (our cat). Here are some examples to try and explain it of things that have happened recently or stick in my mind from when my anxiety was at its height. I often daydream about awful things happening and how people would react if I was hurt, silly things like when I’m walking down the stairs I visualise myself falling down and how hurt I would be. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve lost both my parents, but I have such a strong bond with Hubby that I find myself a nervous, anxious wreck every time he steps on a plane. The entire flight I will check BBC News or Sky News in case of any news of plane accidents because I genuinely don’t know how I would cope without him. I am lucky enough to have a husband who constantly does little things to show me he loves me, and he says it every day but when I am in the throes of an anxiety episode I often find myself having to ask him, and I convince myself that he is angry at me, for something I said or did which I can’t even rationally pinpoint.
Then there is the anxiety around Twiglet. Now, there may be some of you who think…’it’s just a cat, get a grip’ but I have a strong bond with Twiglet. She has been around through hard times and she is such a comfort to me, and although she is the cause of some of my anxiety, she is also the perfect antidote and can calm me like nothing else.
Some examples of the worries I have, when she was a kitten I was convinced she would try and drink out the toilet and drown, or somehow get out (she is a house cat) and never come back, this fear is so great I have now several OCD style checks I have to do before I leave the house and if I don’t do them properly I will struggle all day.
Even this week when taking medication, I had to get out of bed in the night to move it from the living room, just in case she ingested it and was unwell.
One thing I can say about anxiety is, it’s not rational. I have zero grounds to believe that any of the above will happen to those people I love, but it is there. It wakes me up in the night at times, it distracts me during the day when I am really bad. It is tough, and frustrating because half of my brain knows it is ridiculous and the other half just can’t help it.
This is what I deal with daily, but at my peak I was suffering from both anxiety and depression and it felt like I was living in the middle of a dark cloud. I used to cancel plans and not leave the house, get out of bed, dressed or shower – I have come a long way in managing my anxiety and understanding it and in the coming posts I will talk about my experiences.
Until next time
Little Lemon x