A year ago I vowed to my 21-year-old self ‘This time next year you’ll be sorted and feeling gazillion times better than now’. In hindsight, it was a lot to ask. After all, Anxiety doesn’t vanish overnight.
It is 00.54 and I am propped up in bed with the harsh ring of celebs on Big Brother gossiping about themselves and having kitchen meltdowns. I can hear Mum’s Ipad echoing across the landing and the cat is due to come and nibble at my socks any minute now (a nocturnal activity Mr.Darcy meticulously carries out to the dismay of my sleepy toes). I wish I could fall back to the slumber of the night and hope that the rise of the morning and the awakening of my AWFUL alarm (beachside, of course, iPhone owners you’ll know) doesn’t come too soon. Why?
I am still meeting and spending time with anxiety (the bugger). I am still struggling to not let A in.
This time last year I really forced a moment to recognise that A had riddled my everyday living to the point where making sure I parked near enough to the ticket machine was a MAJOR obstacle (convenient though, the walk was always v short). Speaking to a friend required sincere preparation and saying goodbye was followed by a marathon of rumination. CBT came to my aid and working my socks off and back on for the degree also helped combat the reoccurrence of a truly annoying ‘friend’. I promised through all of this…
In a year, I’d be ok.
But still, 365 days on and just a little older (watch it, it’s only been a year and I’ve ONLY got a line or two), I have the same pattern of anxiety.
What I have come to eagerly accept is that where I had been trying to eradicate anxiety and ‘fix’ myself, this simply was the wrongwrongwrong approach. I have to cope with it and soothe the big growly A when it comes knocking. Then the pressure to have a perfect mindset is off (tadaaah). If you are beating yourself up because you spent the last 20 minutes sat behind the wheel burning your mind with the replay of the conversation you just had with your old school friend(ish) in the local Greggs and you swore you’d stop doing this to yourself, please don’t. Because myself… along with so many of us will be ruminating Rhonda’s doing the EXACT same stressing.
I am still not ok with Anxiety. If I am honest it is frustrating I can’t urge A to evacuate. Really infuriating because it makes me feel as though I am wasting precious time being a more anxious version of myself. The thing is, there is no time wasted when you can accept that anxiety is sat by your side and just for this moment, you can get by.
The littlest things help.
1.) Challenging those nasty old A thoughts…
If I am sat having a heavenly hot chocolate solo and the self-conscious battering begins I have begun to properly apply a CBT tactic which is to question those doubtful worries. Do I benefit from worrying like this? Is this genuine or just a fallout from feeling out of sorts? Am I hormonal? Am I tired?… basically, challenging the worry to highlight that it is just a feeling or thought? It’s taken me MORE than a while to master this and believe me, my focus is nowhere near that of a yoga expert (although I can do a mean ‘warrior 2’ ooh aaah). But it gives me half a handle of the monster in question.
2.) It isn’t just me…
We can feel so so alone when A riddles us from head to toe but there is a HUGE chance that a lovely so and so a few metres from you is feeling exactly the same. Ok, yeah I hear ya- it’d be odd to slap ya hand on their back and say ‘I know how you feel’ but it becomes a wave of comfort to know that this restricting, palpitation inducing and tiring emotion you’re fighting with is one most of us are also sparring with. Guys and Dolls, we are in this together.
3.) Get mooooving!
When I am eating more Krispy Kremes than I am sweating in the gym (working my big muscles… not) A escalates to almighty levels. I have taken upon myself to do some investigative research (modern-day Sherlock) and Cortisol is a hormone often labeled as the ‘stress hormone’ and v closely associated with Anxiety. Now I have not one ickle amount of medical knowledge but during these un-sporty periods, I tend to eat far more than I ever fancy when being as active as Sporty Spice on a slow day. ODDLY ENOUGH, carb urges are a common effect of a rise in cortisol along with many other effects (I haven’t tagged a page because I am not sure on whats correctomundo). In the last fortnight, I have been doing ‘Yoga with Adrienne‘ FREEEEE on Youtube each morning I can for 10-40 minutes and oh my A has not been hanging around. The video I adore to follow is the ‘New Beginnings’ one (here is the linkiloo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL5xfikyJgI). A particular fave part is when you have to put your ‘heart’ to the sun and stretch like you’ve just woken up! This is just bloody splendid and ya know what? I feel like I am in control. Feeling in control of your mood and day is also really helpful when combatting those antsy moments.
I still get the days where nothing feels good or right other than worrying over and over in the mind. But I have tactics now to keep the struggle at bay and I couldn’t recommend this enough. Don’t tire your beautiful self out trying to get rid of the heavy feels and having a big go at yourself for failing to succeed against it again. For as long as we are human and feel, learn and live- it may just be an unwanted visitor that we let in for that quick cup of tea. But not all the way in so it can cause chaos, just at the door so we can determine how it behaves and where we want it to stay.
This really is your moment, and you’ve done so brilliantly thus far. Reach out and don’t be afraid. Support can be soothing in every way. Your human and not being ok is ok.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, comment below! I still have LOTS to understand.
** If you need to seek further help I have always had fantastic support from my GP (SEE THEM!) and there are services such as; Mind. I will pop some links below!