Anxiety? It is a pain in the…

Mental Health

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Photo: Nick Illot

Today anxiety had me in it’s firm holding hands and I am sorry to say I did nothing about it…

Anxiety. It is a word we are all familiar with. And no matter how many times someone exclaims ‘people throw the word Anxiety around without knowing what it means’, everyone has experienced it. Whether it is the pre-presentation clam up or the cold sweat and almost false full body shut down prior to losing someone or something you have loved so dearly, it has been a guest within your mental humble abode. That’s ok.

There is something that is getting me incredibly frustrated, however. This little reoccurring visitor has recently checked in, handed the Passport over as a room deposit and decided it best they stay. I am the first in the queue when it comes to being in the company of forever beautiful family and friends but this is a long line I would much rather be at the back of.

This is very ‘negative Nelly’ so far. Hold on it’s going to add up.

Let us call Anxiety ‘A’. Because I probably say the blasted word 100 times or more in a day. And if I stand corrected so do many others. ‘A’ hits me like the channel train in the morning when I slowly brush my pearly pegs and ponder over the many tasks and challenges I ought to be completing today. It lays across my chest like a lazy feline when I am studying hard and hear the ever tempting echo of my close friends socialising in the other room. It alerts it’s presence when I am simply least prepared. If you presume I am going to tell you why? I can’t. Because, like so many, I don’t know. ‘A’ is a mystery to me.

There is one thing I have learnt through my time spent alongside ‘A”s determined grasp recently and this is it.

You will be ok. This will not be forever and for goodness sake, do listen to others. 

I have spent so many long, cold and blurred days dismissing the golden advice my Mother, Father, friends and family so lovingly provided and reflecting back, God only knows why. ‘A’ fools you into thinking that this experience your sharing with it is a one man band. Soooo wrong. Take all the shoulders to cry like Bridget Jones on a bad day. If your best friend says ‘call me whenever you need me’ then DO IT!

‘A’ has conviction in every time it makes you say ‘no, I am so tired’ to an edgy night out in Camden that would have been spent drinking Off license wine and hitting the Domino’s on the corner after (by this point you are in full belief you need chicken dippers AND garlic bread with the large pizza, rightly so!). It has success every time you avoid the morning gym sesh because you are unsure if there will be a mild meltdown that ‘no one will understand’ when you can’t get the entrance turnstile to work.

How do we stop this? After all, this is not what we wanted?

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Berlin last July. Anxiety was subsided entirely here. Assisted by regular nights out and Currywurst.

I have learned that even when you are the most mentally exhausted you could possibly be in this day and age, you must simply find that last ounce of courage to counteract the nasties of ‘A’. Call your best friend, watch Made in Chelsea because Binky Felstead’s pregnancy has mildly shocked you and you’ve suddenly become a super fan. Hold your dog tight as they expel their bad breath onto your face (be careful as sometimes my alsatian’s breath can be ‘a’ provoking it smells that much of Bakers). You are living this life because you are worth every penny more than ‘A’ can compare to.

It is ok to be dependent on anything. If that is what gets you through then lean like the tower of Piza on a particularly slanty day.

I know, we are not all so fortunate.

I am aware that, unlike myself, some of us suffering from the tight choke hold of  ‘A’ do not have the resources to feel able to depend anywhere. I have never been in this solo situation so I can only empathize. But I can imagine it is the hardest experience.

One thing ‘A’ can do is wipe your memory of everything that looked, felt, tasted, smelt and simply was great. If you are alone and in a whirlwind of palpation, sweat and panic- think of the goal that you oh’ so desire. The job you are solidly working unpaid work experience hours for or the longed for City break in Dublin you can see yourself looking pretty darn amazing in. These thoughts are positive and can carry you sometimes as good as one of us normal old humans can.

As I stated in my last blog post A degree doesn’t define you’, I am CERTAINLY not a life whisperer and anything I pop down here in wisdom is from my own experience. I write these blogs almost as reassurance to myself  I suppose.

I hope that they are simply relatable.

Short but sweet.

There is a saying my Mum explained that my Grandad would always apply to any situation of stress, doubt, anxiety, or worry and it was simply this.

Don’t let the Bastards get you down. 

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A blurry polaroid of my Mum as a New order loving teen and my dear Grandad who I would have adored the much desired for chance to meet. Lots of wisdom beneath that gardener’s hat!

Yes, you are right in thinking that the Bastard is Anxiety. Be that warrior you know you can be. If in doubt cheese it out. The show must go on! Any musical related saying you can think of tends to help you right out. Tonight, writing this short and choppy post, I have struggled with my anxiety tolerance. I have let it come in, pop the kettle on and fetch a magazine. Usually, I am stronger. Instead of letting the anxiety take it’s soul draining toll, I felt the least I could attempt was to share with you that I have it. The person next to you has it. Linda from next door has it and that is ok. It is how you ask it to politely leave that matters. If you have to tell the bloomin’ annoying thing to ‘sling it’s hook’.

Your well-being is the top priority and always will be!

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