Anxiety. Anxiety. As I type this I can feel knots start to form and twist in my stomach and my heart beat a little faster. What is anxiety for me? Anxiety is the uninvited visitor I have to start to welcome in and take a seat on my sofa, so to speak.
I have had an ongoing battle with anxiety since my pregnancy with my youngest Son, which was 4 years ago now. Some days, I realise how far I have come in these past 4 years and I am proud of the strength I have had and what I have managed to accomplish despite having this monster residing in me. Some days, however, I let it take over a little too much and I crumble.
I won’t go in to the symptoms I personally have with anxiety as I tend to just confide in my close friends and family with that. Besides, it is different for everyone and people experience a different range of symptoms and a different severity level.
What I will tell you though, is how many hours I have spent trawling the internet, desperate to find a “cure” or at least relief to my symptoms.
I haven’t found a cure. I know of some reliefs to symptoms though, however, I try to limit my use of these in order to build up strength myself. I am quite a determined soul and I am stubborn. Having been offered anti-depressants before, I have turned them down. I have even more of a fear of relying on them than I do of living with anxiety.
There is no cure. That is a common finding amongst the anxiety research and books I have read. There is relief. There are times where I may not feel anxiety but I think at some point in everyone’s lives, people feel it. And then it may go away for a while and then rear it’s ugly head again.
I am only 27 years old. So although anxiety I feel has ruined the best part of my 20s, I also try not to let it take the joy from my life. And I try to think positively in the fact that, this may pass for a while and I may be symptom free for a while. The DARE book by Barry McDonagh has helped me ten fold. I have implemented the instructions as well as I could, but that’s my own doing. I think if I put my head to it, even more good can come of this book. It helped me to understand anxiety a lot better. To realise that by being afraid of the anxious thoughts and feelings, it actually makes them worse as the anxiety feeds off fear. By allowing anxiety just to be then slowly I am getting there. Mindfulness has also really helped. I realise now the essence of just letting things be as it is, is so vital.
I push myself into more new situations these days and ones that would have freaked me out before. I feel the tense knot in my stomach and the panicking thoughts start to race. And I let them. Then I engage in the situation and my mind is suddenly free. And lately I have been really enjoying life. Don’t get me wrong there are some days where I just want to stay in my comfort zone, but I never allow it. I have to be cruel to myself to be kind.
Although I have suffered for 4 years, I have also had the most amazing times thanks to my understanding friends and my family. And the most important thing I can take from this is that it is good to talk about it. To confide in your friends. To tell them that you’re struggling. I realised that more people suffered than I first thought.
Life is hard. Social media doesn’t help. I find myself comparing literally everything about my life. I really shouldn’t do this. It doesn’t matter if I’m not as successful, attractive or social as others. I am my own person on my own unique journey. There is only one of me and I need to accept this more instead of comparing so much.
But life can be easier if we are kinder to ourselves. By researching anxiety I realise not only is it sadly more common than first thought, I also realised that I am giving it far more power in my life then it deserves. By allowing it to be present, by accepting it as being a part of my life and myself now, it loses its power a little.
Anxiety still has a big hold on me. I think it will do for a while. I still have some growing and learning to do. But when I’ve trawked across the internet I’ve seen so many stories of people struggling. They’ve stuck with me. So when I wrote this blog post I knew I wanted to give everyone out there an element of hope in my writings on my suffering. Anxiety is not me. I have anxiety. But I am me. Even though at times I feel like I am ME AGAINST MYSELF.
I am now allowing anxiety to take a seat next to me on this life journey and instead of desperately trying to run away from it, I am now letting it be present and I am learning to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It doesn’t define me and it will not stop me from having the best of times. It’s just an annoying bug that won’t fly off. So I hope this has helped at least one person have some hope that even though there is no cure, we can still lessen its power. We can still be ourselves.
To start with, I thought I would just write the one post and pop it on one of my blogging platforms. However, after speaking with a couple of friends, I realised that perhaps I need to dedicate a whole platform to this. Not enough people speak out about mental health. Not only that, but I have been one, frantically searching for others that suffer like myself, with the goal of seeking hope and help. Well, now I want to help and I want to be hope. I want to be full of hope. We can conquer this anxiety together. So follow me on my journey of ME AGAINST MYSELF.
Please do contact me if any of this strikes a chord. I would love to hear from you. Until the next time, thank you for reading.