So it’s rumoured that 1Ds Zayn Malik has had trouble with this, Taylor Swift has suffered from it and even the awesome J Law has battled it. So what is it? Resting bitch face? A rogue hairdresser?
Nope, anxiety. The A bomb.
This word has been thrown about in the last year more liberally than that GIF of Nicole Kidman clapping at the Oscars (you know the one). Whilst I’ve heard a lot of people say that they’re sick to death of hearing about anxiety, I for one am glad it’s become something people can talk about.
Everyone talks about their physical health with no worries, but when it comes to mental health, it’s still a bit of a taboo topic. But why? How are we ever supposed to treat these issues if we aren’t able to discuss them openly?
This topic is so close to my heart because my moods are known to be up and down all the time.. that’s just the way I’m wired. I can wake up in the morning full of the joys of the day and by 3 pm someone chewing loudly can make me want to hulk out. Having to battle with your own mind is the most tiresome thing in the world. A lot of the time anxiety and depression come hand in hand which is a recipe for panic-induced disaster.
When anxiety and depression tag team
In my experience depression makes you feel like you can’t do anything because you’ll mess it up. It’ll make you want to curl up and stay away from everyone. Anxiety, on the other hand, she is a mean mother trucker, she makes you worry about the things you’re not doing or feel like you should be doing. Giving you a panicked feeling, so your mind is racing and you can’t concentrate on anything. Resulting in being stuck in limbo between feeling useless and nervous all at the same time.
The more I talk about these things the more I’ve realised that actually a lot of people suffer from this and even the ones that don’t, listen and try to understand to a certain extent.
Accepting I had anxiety and making the step to go and try CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) was super difficult at first because it sort of felt like I was accepting a weakness. Something I’d been burying for years, skirting around the issue and building a fort of excuses around, instead of addressing it head-on.
Travelling was a huge deal for me, can you imagine how many scenarios my anxious brain put me through, how many things could go wrong, and all of the reasons why we shouldn’t go. It took me a long time to have the guts to just do it, and it was the best decision I ever made. Mind you can you imagine putting a girl with anxiety in a shared dorm full of randoms or at the top of a sky bridge (that cable car though?!). What could possibly go wrong hey! I mean, to be honest, I could make a pretty comprehensive list.
Don’t even get me started on meeting new people.
Will they like me, will I like them, what do I say, say something funny, be cool, make an effort, the list goes on.
Writing is something that I really, really love. Before I went travelling I wanted to blog more regularly but piled the pressure on myself and convinced myself that no-one would read my posts and who did I think I was, rambling to the digital world anyway – like anyone would care? But something clicked into place whilst I was away, it was like a weight had lifted and my writing flowed. For the first time in years.
I hadn’t realised I’d been walking around underneath an umbrella of negativity for SO long. Was my glass half empty or full? I didn’t even know where my glass was! Which probably wouldn’t make any sense to people on the outside thinking that with a great family, bf, friends and job what could I possibly find to be unhappy about?! Apparently, perfectionism is common among people suffering with anxiety, which rings true for me as all I could see through my tunnel vision, was my mistakes and downfalls. I think having anxiety has helped me in a way – to become a bit more patient and considerate of what others may be going through so I’m taking that as a positive from the whole process.
Battling my own mind
Looking back it was pretty funny trying to explain to my super confident boyfriend (now fiance) that I’d been battling my mind for a long old while, who I’m sure had just presumed that I was the queen of PMT. He has been such a rock from when I first explained how I felt, right up until today. We joke about it, because I’m a sarcastic person by nature if you can make me laugh that’s half of the battle won. So when I’m having a blue moment and Dem launches a selection of Cadburys at me, it breaks the tension and I can have a word with myself to stop being an anxious little shit.
I’ve always been horrendous at making decisions for fear of making the wrong one. I’m still bad for this and constantly end up in a loop of “I don’t mind, what do you want to do/ where do you want to eat/ where shall we sit it’s up to you” – but indecisiveness I can handle! I’m happy to be a work in progress.
You’re not alone
What I’m trying to say is that if this sounds like you, then you’re not alone and it’s much more common than you think. I still have moments when I feel down and that’s absolutely ok but remember to slow down, take every day as it comes and just remembering to BREATHE really helps. CBT worked wonders for me and I absolutely would recommend it but there are lots more day to day techniques out there to help manage an anxious mind.
Anxiety doesn’t make you weak, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it is totally manageable. In the spirit of doing what I suggest in the blog if anyone would like to know more about CBT or my experiences with anxiety please do ping me a message!