I had been meaning to write an update to managing my anxiety, but had put it off and hadn’t quite known why. But today, waking with the worst anxiety I have experienced in a while – I realise I didn’t want to revisit ‘anxiety’ when I was feeling at my best.
Lately I have been ‘on a roll’ in some ways, I’ve made new friends, been asked to photograph various things, progressed in my yoga, booked my space for Yoga Teacher Training, generally socialising and feeling happy. I almost felt unstoppable, free and ready for life’s challenges. One of those challenges was to get a job, after being off with ill health for around a year. I applied for a part time position and was shocked to be offered the position. I had two weeks until I started, which I had floated through, happy I felt calm and ‘top of my game’, and then today. It hit me. I was going back to work.
And this is where I write from today, my terrified self, feeling trapped to the confines of my bed, tears and tiredness and unable to think clearly. The only thoughts that get through are ‘what if I mess up’, ‘what if they don’t like me’, ‘what if I can’t do it’, ‘what if I have a panic attack mid shift’, ‘what if I will never be able to do this’.
I thought I needed reassurance, texting friends and family but not feeling any better with their replies as lovely and boosting as they were. This was down to me and me alone to get over. When you’re in the throes of an anxiety attack, it feels impossible to win against the insistent war of negativity flowing through your body and your mind.
And so, I got up. I made the sugariest tea ever (4 HEAPED teaspoons- don’t judge!), grabbed my laptop and typed. It really does calm you, to get your thoughts out on paper (or word document!). Yes thoughts are still whirring in your mind, but they feel more organised – like you are Marie Kondo-ing them. Do they bring me joy? Hell No. So therefore, I need to declutter them from my body.
Tomorrow is a big deal for me. For anyone starting a new position it would feel a big deal, so when you have been in a bubble of safety for a while it feels even worse. But I need to remember, I can do this. I did the interview, I thought I would never be able to do that. And I did. I was chosen, I was liked, and I have come so far. Why give up now?
I made a list of ‘Avoidances’ through my CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions, my number 1 was Interview / Job. It was where a lot of my anxiety stemmed from. The others, though I can still struggle with, I have managed in my own way. I am here, a day before I start my position and everything screams at me that I can’t do it. I ignore the encouragement from my loved ones, putting it down that ‘they are just being nice’.
No. They believe in you. YOU believe in you, you applied for the job, you have fought this battle for a long time, you have made goals that you never thought you would make. You have surrounded yourself with the most supportive tribe of friends and family who love you no matter what. You are enough. You can do this!
And so, sugary tea in hand – yoga mat in the other – Cyndi Lauper on full blast – I am going to put my tears and my fears to one side. Yes, they will sit side by side with me, but won’t take over, more of a little tap on the shoulder to say they are there. But we can either ignore them or turn around and believe everything they say. Why do we want to listen to negativity when there is positivity? Which would you choose?
I have to remember that without my anxiety, I wouldn’t have found yoga, I wouldn’t have realised my dream of being a yoga teacher, I wouldn’t have met some of the friends that have really saved me this year, I wouldn’t have progressed with my photography and been hired for jobs, I wouldn’t have started to help out with one of my best friend’s businesses that I adore, I wouldn’t have realised you can live on less, that you don’t need materialistic things to be happy and find yourself, I wouldn’t have found out who really isn’t there when you’re at your lowest, I wouldn’t have had the lovely memories with my parents who looked after me, took me out when I felt useless and never judged me once, instead encouraged me and made me feel so loved. They never once made me feel they were disappointed that I didn’t have a job, that I couldn’t even do the simplest of things. They made me feel normal when I felt far from it.
I need to thank my anxiety, it changed my life – but actually for the better. I saw a quote that sums it up perfectly:
‘May the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary – Xan Oku’
I hope this ‘brain dump’ can help others, know that you aren’t alone with your anxieties and that we can challenge them.
‘Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you now that the side you are used to is better than the one to come? – Rumi