Anxiety. It’s a personal, isn’t it? I don’t often talk about personal stuff on my blog. I guess I can be a bit private…I enjoy reading these types of posts of other people’s blogs, but I rarely feel comfortable sharing my own, more personal, life. I love talking about what I’m wearing, what I’ve been eating, reading, tech I’ve been using…etc. etc. etc…but never anything too personal. I guess I’ve never wanted anyone to use anything against me in some way…I don’t trust easily. But I’m going to give it a go for this post.
I have referred to the fact that I occasionally get anxiety here, but never gone into detail. So, I will a little more. I’m writing in hope that it helps someone else who suffers with anxiety and I maybe hope it’s cathartic for me too.
Anxiety has been the topic du jour in blogging lately. Lots of people admitting they have it and finding the courage to talk about it. Bravo to them. You realise that many many people suffer from some sort of anxiety (and I don’t mean just being a bit worried about something) in their lifetime…it’s not ‘trendy’…as someone people say…it’s frustrating, can cause horrible physical symptoms (panic attacks, IBS, back and shoulder problems and many more) and everyone’s is different.
Sure, maybe a few people say they have anxiety when they just have a few ‘normal’ worries (what IS a normal worry? It’s all relative and personal)…but I would hope that the people declaring anxiety to be trendy don’t end up trivialising those with full-on genuine anxiety. Those that have panic attacks at just the wrong time that they cover up for fear of looking stupid, those whose stomach feels so acidic that they can’t eat for days, those who can’t understand why their mind is seemingly working against them and presenting every little worry as a massive catastrophe. The list goes on. Those people. There’s lots of those people…us. People with seemingly ‘perfect’ lives, or at least, good lives affected by anxiety. Zoella is a well publicised anxiety sufferer, many bloggers are* it seems (does that make us more likely to blog? to have an outlet? maybe…)
* I’ve added a list of links at the bottom of this post to lots of advice from other bloggers and organisations.
In my exp., when I open up about my anxiety and depression, more than half of those I tell say “me too.”
— Wolf in the City (@jessatkinsonxo) February 4, 2016
I’ve suffered from anxiety for years. My mum had it too. Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s a learned behaviour, maybe it’s a result of difficult situations. Maybe it’s all three. Lots of people have had difficult situations, and I’ve certainly had my fair share. A parent dying young, a marriage to a man I thought was wonderful (and still do) but who wasn’t right for me (and I wasn’t right for him) – whilst we had many many great times, we also made each other very unhappy. He had a parent that died young too. We helped each other through those times…they were horrible, horrible times. The marriage ended terribly with bad feeling on both sides. It left me (and I’m sure him) very bruised and it took me quite a while to feel true happiness again. When I did come out of the fog, I realised my anxiety was much better and I very happily married my second husband. I figured my anxiety was mainly driven by being very unhappy and not realising it.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself during my years on this planet. I’ve learnt that I can deal with horrible things, usually in a very calm manner. I’m a strong person. And I’m a much stronger person in my relationships now, I don’t feel I need someone anymore. My life, overall, doesn’t cause me to be anxious any longer. That’s lovely…
…however, I do still have triggers which affect my anxiety.
A big one for me, I’ve realised lately, is anything to do with houses. We didn’t have a house as kids that was very stable. Lots of council houses which my mum made the best of, but they never felt like home really. My early years were spent sat outside council offices where my mum would try to persuade them into giving us a house which at least had some heating. Our housing situation was precarious for quite a while it scared me as a kid. This has made me very fearful of anything going wrong with a house. I’m so appreciative to have a decent house these days that I go into panic mode as soon as anything goes wrong. I turn from my usual strong calm self into a little girl who wants to bury her head in the sand and not deal with any of it. I also find getting work done to the house is pretty traumatic, even pretty basic stuff like conservatories. I feel like I lose all of my intelligence and I cower. I turn into that scared little girl I was when I was five year old and I get very anxious.
So, I knew I’d find selling the house I’ve been in now for twelve years fairly stressful. I really didn’t bargain on how much though. We found our dream house when we had just started looking and it’s been a fairly painful process trying to secure the sale. I put my house on the market very quickly and that’s come with its own challenges. Endless questions from solicitors, having to sort through my loft which has lots of stuff from both my deceased parents and ex-husband. Both the buy of the new house and the sale of my current house has left me feeling totally emotionally wrung out and very on-edge. Every little thing is blown out of all proportion in my head and I constantly feel faint and sick as a dog.
Anxiety: making it impossible to tell the difference between a minor problem and a catastrophe since the development of the frontal lobe!
— Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) July 27, 2015
I honestly want it all to go away and to move into our new house, forgetting it all happened. I hate all the limbo, I just want to be safe in a house that is stable and strong. I don’t want to deal with solicitors any longer because I realise they just remind me of being 21 again, dealing with the death of my mother, becoming legal guardian of my brother and being totally overwhelmed and frightened.
What doesn’t help either is that I’m fairly critical of myself…I tell myself off for not dealing with it all better….for not being a ‘better adult’. For not being thicker skinned, for not being calmer, for not finding the whole situation totally overwhelming.
That’s the thing with difficult situations, they do move on.
Life changes fast. So does your mental state.
I know this to be true in the past and I’m trying to remind myself of that now.
I’m currently using all my mindfulness techniques I’ve learned previously, they do help. I’m drinking camomile tea like there’s no tomorrow and I’m trying to talk as much as I can to my friends about how I’m feeling. I’m blessed with some fantastic friends, but I do tend to bottle things up. My friend Cat has been checking in on me every few days just with a friendly “hey, how are you doing?” message and this has really helped. It gives me chance to have a little vent to someone who understands. She can’t fix any of it for me (I wish she could step into my shoes and handle it for me!…but it definitely helps). I’ve made sure to tell her it’s helping.
Talking is the best thing for anxiety, this is what I’ve found in the past anyway. If you have anxiety, talk to someone. If you don’t have friends you can talk to…go to your doctor and talk about your options for seeing a counsellor. There’s a lot of communities online (bloggers, forums and more) who are very supportive.
— Time to Change (@TimetoChange) December 15, 2015
If you don’t feel like you can talk…then write. Betty & Co covers how free-writing 750 words into this app can help. It’s a variation on a creative process called ‘Morning Pages’.
Here’s to kicking anxiety’s ass and to being supportive of each other x
— Fashion Panic (@fashion_panic00) January 27, 2016