Hey, how are you?
I know that answering that question may be a little harder than what some may imagine. You’re not sure whether to be honest and tell somebody that you are tearing yourself apart on the inside just to function normally today, or that ‘you’re fine’. I get that. Sometimes we’ve got to pick our battles. Sometimes the person asking, doesn’t really want to know. They’re just ‘being polite’ (in my opinion, it’s polite to just not ask if you’re not interested to know the answer).
You’ve made it through this before.
These thoughts swirling around are not new.
You’re not the only one who thinks these thoughts.
You are not alone. *cue Michael Jackson*
No, but seriously. You’re not alone.
Sometimes I forget that I have anxiety. I go through such long periods where it doesn’t rear its ugly head at all, and life is just peachy. But other times, like these last few weeks for example, anxiety has not let me out of its sight. For whatever reason, we’re bum buddies. Way back in my early 20’s when anxiety and I were first properly introduced, I sought out a Psychologist after a pretty major panic episode. She was fantastic, her name was Manuela and I will never forget her. She lent me this book to read called ‘Living with IT’ by Bev Aisbett which was all about how when you give IT attention, IT grows bigger. But when you get on with your life and carry on with activities even when IT is there, IT will shrink and shrink until IT no longer bothers showing up. Much like what they say about bullies, because IT is a bully.
There’s something to be said of this. People always says that they envy the courageous; the people who climb mountains and jump out of planes, maybe even people who start their own businesses or leave their horrible boyfriend/girlfriend. And certainly, these people are courageous. But these people are courageous for a few moments, a few hours, or a few days.
YOU, my friend, are courageous all day every day. Know why?
Every day, all day, you are battling your own thoughts (what you believe to be your better judgement) just so that you appear to function as a ‘normal’ human.
You force yourself to take the train, even though you don’t like feeling ‘trapped’ and are worried it will stop midway and you’ll be ‘stuck’ until it moves again.
You force yourself to take the elevator and not the stairs, (because it’s not efficient to use stairs to get to level 31…) even though your heart is pounding out of your chest the entire trip up.
You force yourself to go to them gym, even though people MAY look at you and critique your form (in their head) on the odd occasion.
You force yourself to go to the shopping centre, even though you might have a panic attack which would be so embarrassing and totally life-ending.
These are just a FEW examples of what you might be facing, and that’s only like a two-hour window of your morning.
GO YOU! Look at you, still living and doing things despite your fear. If that’s not courageous, I honestly don’t know what is.
These are genuinely common fears. And I will tell you right now – I’ve thought them all myself and experienced the panic that rises because of them. But what I also know is that I did those things anyway, because I refuse to be a hermit and not live this life to its biggest potential. Never once have I experienced a panic attack where I’ve noticed anybody judging me or resulting in life-ending rumours about me. Whether I’m too pre-occupied panicking, or whether it just purely didn’t result in that, it doesn’t matter. As far as I’m concerned, it’s crossed off the ‘worthy of worry’ list. Certainly though, there are people who don’t understand anxiety or having a panic attack, lucky them – they obviously haven’t experienced one. I think these people deserve their own blog, I’ll write it for them another day.
Recently I was told by a friend that they won’t go on planes anymore, after a near-crash incident overseas. And I really feel for them. I’m positive it would take me a long while to get back on the wagon after that experience too. But it made me sad to learn that they have resigned themselves to land-travel only, for the rest of their lives. And they’ve got a long life yet to live. This, for me, comes back to IT. If you’re letting IT control what activities you’re getting up to everyday, then you’re letting IT win.
I know that sometimes you might not have it in you, and I understand that sometimes you’ve just got to lay low. But for the most part, I implore you to just do it anyway. If you can, you must. You might have a panic attack (and trust me, I get anxious about having panic attacks too) – but if that’s the worst thing that happens, which it likely will be, then heck – you’ve just flown to Hawaii, baby!
Sitting here thinking about it, poor Isaac, he cops calls and messages from me all the time when I’m on the edge of panic. But in saying that, it’s always when I’m just about to take the leap and do it anyway, or when I’m halfway through it (like when the train stops in the middle of the track between stations, it makes me extremely uncomfortable, yes – that example is a current personal one). And I’m really proud of that. I can’t think of any recent instances where I’ve just been like – nope. Nah. Not doing it. And I think that is the best possible thing about anxiety; you don’t know absolute relief and relaxation, until after you have just conquered something that you’ve been anxious about.
So, my anxious friend, are you a worrier or a warrior? #GADWarrior
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