Sunday, 7 October 2018

A Week of Anxiety

Hi Everyone

Image result for anxiety quotes

I mentioned in yesterday's post that it had been a bit of a mare of a week, and to be honest, that's an understatement. I've had anxiety, migraines and sheer terror.   But I'm still standing.

Staying standing is quite the achievement.   Anxiety is paralysing, and scares the crap out of you.  All you want to do is hide under the duvet, or stop the world so that you can jump off.  Cruel fact - the only way to escape anxiety is to plough through it and confront the very thing that terrifies you.   As Winston Churchill said, when you're going through hell, keep going.

Image result for anxiety quotes

I find with my anxiety that the worst moments are before I keep going.   It's when I'm paralysed, incapable of action, mind spiralling on all the hideous possibilities that might await me.   Usually, once I've taken the first step, I'm "fine".   Not ok, but it feels like control starts to trickle back.

I liken this moment to the scene at the end of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where he has to cross that massive chasm to get to the Holy Grail.  There is no bridge, no walkway, no obvious way to "keep going", so he has to take a leap of faith.  And the moment he lifts his foot in the air and plants it down, a path appears.

Image result for anxiety quotes

Anxiety has so much in common with this. We stand on the edge of that chasm, paralysed, no way of getting across, terrified to get across, scared of staying put, getting more and more frantic.   We then do something that Matt Haig calls "catastrophising", where we imagine the worst possible outcome to our situation, or rather, the only possible outcome IS the worst possible outcome.

Image result for anxiety quotes

My terror this week came from knowing my tenancy is up for renewal, and it will only be renewed if I pass the next house inspection.  I had suggested a date for this in a couple of weeks time, to give me chance to get everything ship-shape (one of the realities of living with mental health issues is that it's hard to summon the energy for washing up and scrubbing floors; plus, Crumpets are not naturally tidy creatures).   That night, I panicked.  It's one of the worst terrors I've ever had.   It went something like this ....

what if they don't agree to my date

oh god, what if they say they're coming this weekend

well that doesn't give me enough time

the house will never be tidy enough

I won't pass the inspection

they won't renew the tenancy

they'll kick me out.  

I can't just move somewhere else because I don't have the spare cash to fund a deposit and the referencing fees

and fuck me, I certainly don't have the energy to pack everything up

oh my god I'm going to be homeless

Beth will have to go and live with her father

I'll end up sleeping in my car

I might as well die

Image result for anxiety quotes

See, from simple situation to suicide in a single bound.  And that's what it's like inside The Bell Jar. However, this week, there WAS a difference, and I credit Matt Haig (again) with this.   In his amazing book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, he talks about how we consume ourselves with worrying about a million different possibilities, when actually only one thing is true and real - the here and now.

So, too scattered to eat or think or do anything, I went to bed early with my trusty Radio 5 Live (if I listen to other voices, I can't hear my own.)    I snuggled down to sleep (even though it was only 8pm, mentally I was exhausted).   I felt my mind lean towards the terror, addicted.   I reminded myself there was nothing I could do, and worrying would not help.   I focussed very much on my breathing, and after about 20 minutes of repeating this, I managed to fall asleep.

It's taken me 30 years to learn this.

Image result for anxiety quotes

Anxiety feeds off us.  It feed off our powerlessness, making us more powerless as a result.  The only way to defeat it is to starve it.  Now, not for a minute am I pretending that's an easy thing to do, but you have to learn to indulge it a little, so that you can then triumph over it.  It's a little like the dieter who can stick to the diet if they have one small square of chocolate a day.   In the past, I've been made redundant (wow, you can imagine the catastrophising THAT produced), and in both cases, I allowed myself 1 day to wallow.  To succumb to the tears, the anger, the fear, the need to hide under the duvet.   I made a deal.   I would do this for one day, and then I would get up and solve the problem.

Image result for elizabeth taylor quotes you just do it

It worked for me, I can't say if it will work for you, but the hardest thing (and it's also the only thing) is to try and find a way to exercise power over a controlling beast, even though you're at your weakest.  Knowing your enemy, naming your enemy, is step 1.

Step 2 and beyond, that's what some of us spend a lifetime learning.

Sending you love and a massive hug if you've had a bad week too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips