Where I am in the world the seasons are stuck between autumn and winter. So, Wutumn. An awkward transition where the weather seems just as confused as we are. It seems even trees experience the same fashion dilemma as to what to wear at this time or rather what leaves to drop. Even TV adverts have got their months muddled up with new Instagram filtered Christmas ads coming too early that for me the truth of it all seems hidden under a pile of Frozen wrapping paper and M&S food.
I have been thinking a lot. Yeh over-thinking is my thing. Of what to write. I have everything and nothing to write about but, I was getting anxious (spoiler there). And as they do all those mean bean thoughts bunched together and formed a mob against me in my mind. Alone I hosted a pity party where I just drowned in these thoughts. Let the guilt build and build to the point when it too became fuel for the nasty negatives.
So, today I went for a walk. The same usual walk I take. Nothing too adventurous. To what all we humans seek to do: which is to find inspiration. So, as I took my jumpy jumpy dog around a small path, I saw a golden leaf (one of the few left) rocking like a cradle side to side before it hit the ground. You say it’s just a leaf. I know and I will get to that in a minute. Something struck me about it but, before I could tap it into my iPhone notes my dog decided it needed the loo. Not the best timing, but still I remembered it. Not that you really wanted to know the whole loo situation of course, sorry!
Well as I looked at this blank screen I began to think. Again with the thinking. We are the last leaves to fall – off the tree. Fall in this metaphor does not mean death, but that does not mean that we can’t believe it to be. See it as this instead. We are the leaves on the tree. Use your imagination here (imagining bugs life) – it can be any tree you want as long as it has leaves. Instead of the fall being death think of it as an opportunity. But, with all opportunities there is the unknown. So, we wait watch the other leaves fall before us time and time again. We cling on and on until the tree finally forces us off. What is the moral here?
Well for me it is this. We who get anxious more than others like not just to wait, but sometimes to hide until it is the inevitable. Where there is no longer a dark corner to sneak into or a door to run out of. We are scared of falling. Likely have visualised all the horrible things, every eventuality other than happy ones like a dramatic film trailer in our heads. But, what if we didn’t consider it as falling but flying. Floating through the air has got to be a metaphor for happiness, right? For that leaf I saw had a gentle landing.
Perhaps we need to fall in order to pursue are dreams. Although to us fear can mean different things if not an overgeneralised everything. We fear change the most. That is natural. But, we can’t control it. Just like how the tree or the leaf has to change with the seasons or adapt with the climate. Like the protagonist in a story there is always a realisation of something. It is time for us to float in the air, after all no-one likes being the last one to fall. It’s pretty lonely. Trust me I know.
If you liked today’s post or think it might help someone else please give it a sharey. I have a new instagram account which is _hello_anxiety. I will be posting frequent inspirational quotes to get us all in the mood and changing those anxiety driven minds of ours.
Hope your day has been swell and anxiety free. If not so great here is a virtual hug ( ) and well done for getting through it!
You know the feeling. It’s the I have waited so long in this queue and then sent to the back feeling. The labelled feeling like the sell-by-date on food.
That’s what ‘it’ makes us feel like. And what is this ‘it’ exactly? One word NHS. If you have dared to ask the NHS for help – like moi by now you should know how le crape it is. The acronym may as well stand for ‘Not Happening Soon’, because of the crazy amount of time it takes to be referred. Now I’m not disregarding the good work NHS people do – but seriously the waiting times *Cough government? (By the way I’m on round #2)
Calling the clinic was hard. Why? Because, I got so nervous (as per) that I had to write down what it was I needed to say. Nervous that I could feel my heart picking up and my palms begin to sweat. But, I did it. The reason. I had been screened. Unfortunately not a ticket to the cinema – but of those of you who have gone through the system before will know it is when you lardeedar about ‘what’s wrong’ and fill in the same questionnaire, 1-10s and all that. Which is fine and well and good. But, that must have been over 3 weeks ago and I hadn’t heard a peep out of them since. So what were they planning to do with me? They had left me out to dry.
So, I had to call. I want help. So, I did – to then be told to ring another number (which is the worse news for someone with social anxiety!). Eventually I made myself do it. Not only was it annoying to hear clear gossiping in the background (I could hear every word), but that I would have to wait 4 months till I can get therapy. I am on a waiting list, among other people and would have to wait until I get to the top – which let’s face it could take longer. It was like I was another body slung onto the heap.
This is not good enough! Not just for me, but for everybody. People can have downward spirals in a matter of hours, days – not months. You will know this. They need help. We need help. When we decide we need help or can get help (which lets face it can be a pretty daunting set of steps) – we do it because we feel as if we need help now. For a lot of people getting help feels like the last resort.
The harsh reality is that people are not getting help quick enough. Like I said it is not necessarily a matter of months, but more hours, days, weeks. I will be able to wait that long. However, I can’t say the same for others. What happens if its too long and someone commits sucide, hurts themselves badly or gets themselves in a heap of trouble? Not only does this potentially cost the NHS more? And also the legal system due to consequence – gosh even social services. It has a domino effect. Not to mention the distress of loved ones who may not have even have known someone suffered mentally.
So, even the idea of saving ‘money’ hasn’t fazed the government – the very heart of politics. There needs to be change. Suicide, self-destruction, panic, the feeling of doom can all be prevented with help. It doesn’t have to get that far. People shouldn’t have to hurt themselves to get attention or to be prioritized (in some cases). You and me shouldn’t have to feel insignificant by being added to a ‘list’ of people and made to feel as if you are competing. Everyone deserves help. You do.
The real ‘trew’ is that there should be nothing last minute about the mental health system. Everybody should be allowed access if needed. If people were educated about it earlier or if people were offered help earlier it could prevent a lot of occurrences (crime, injuries, loss, waste of money). People should be allowed help on the day no matter how big or small the problem feels like. We all need support at some point.
Together we must take a stand!
Today I was… anxious (as if that wasn’t obvious). Why? Because for once I didn’t say no.
Now usually in my anxietyac ways I would neither say yes or no, sound familiar? I normally can’t say no because I feel obligated to say yes. However, I don’t say yes either because I want to say no. Do you get me? So, I normally end up beating around the bush and coming out with the same tentative if not repetitive lines like: I can do or perhaps.
So a few days a go I finally said yes. My dad had booked me onto a soup course (because I’ve been cookin’ up a storm recently), to go to on my billybob. For once I said yes to make myself have to meet and talk to people. But, that wasn’t enough to stop the hit of regret or the depression seep under my skin. What had I done?
I couldn’t back out now. I had to do it (again I always feel obligated to do things -part of the whole judgement thing I have going on). When I got there. Sat on my own. I honestly felt stupid. Shaky. Judged. I got my mental crystal ball out and started to predict they saw me as this too quiet – awkward girl and I was embarrassed of myself.
Not only this, though today I felt particularly introverted. I had a weird chest which my mind kept on telling me that I was going to get a panic attack and humiliate myself.
Well I survived. Even on small social events an instinct tells us that we won’t survive, that we won’t be able to cope. Perhaps that is just our fight and flight on overdrive. I stuck at it.
In the end I settled down. I even managed to hold several conversations and became more relaxed as the rest of the course went on. So, what are the two things I have learnt from the experience. One is that you don’t have to keep pleasing everyone. For whatever reason with my social anxiety I expect others to expect how you should behave. I have made decisions based on what other people think i.e. holding on when you desperately need the loo (you don’t want to be rude) or feeling as if you have to eat everything offered to you even if you don’t want it. And the second is that we fear the anticipation more than anything else.
So, that is my anxious story of the day. Hopefully by taking these steps together and challenging ourselves even though our bodies tell us not to – we can get closer to saying goodbye to anxiety once and for all. So my next tip is the quote to feel the fear and do it anyway (all within good reason).
Whether they are sellotaped onto a gift, one of those annoying stickers you can’t get off a DVD or a pinned name badge, the word label has seemed to have adopted a far more metaphorical meaning. Now you’ve got people saying I don’t want to be labelled as… such and such or talking about how ‘labels’ are another form of stereotypes.
So, why am I chatting on about labels? Well, I have been thinking (as one often does) about the words or labels people put on anxiety. When you really think about it, and I mean really think about it. The amount of labels it gets are confusing. For once I’m not talking about ‘ignorant’ views or people who don’t have anxiety. Really it is how all of us choose to describe it differently.
Some will call it an illness. Perhaps a disorder. Maybe even a disease. While others will explain it as something conditioned. An overly anxious person. A trouble. A problem. Generalised anxiety. Social anxiety. Agoraphobia. Depression. Introverted. The thing is we’ve probably used all if not most of these words to define this nerve jingling thing. But, really what is it?
It’s all a bit mind boggling. If I say is an illness, does it mean I can be ‘cured’. Or perhaps I labelled it as a disease, does that mean I believe that there is no hope of getting better that it is simply something I have ‘got’. But, somehow being labelled ‘overly anxious’ doesn’t give us that medical jargon that seems to justify us. So, how do we define ourselves?
That just it. Today I can’t seem to get my head around it. However, what I can say is this. We weren’t born with this extra anxiety. Anxiety has come from experiences and events that have impacted our life in some way. Then they become bigger and bigger until perhaps we can no longer remember the original reason. So, today I don’t forgot my book of answers. However, it is definitely something to think about? How do you define or label anxiety?
Yep that little cloud has caught up with me again. I’m pretty sure that if I let it I would receive a proper drenching. It’s days like this when all you want to do is stay in your misery coma (at least that is what it’s telling me). There is nothing else my body seems to want to do, but drown in it – bask in array of the poor-me’s in the hope that guilt which stirs in my veins will go away.
Here’s a metaphor for Harry Potter fans! The lowness is like a dementor which feeds off sadness. In a way it’s like the dementor has a grasp of our soul or rather our true selves. And although, Harry was cured by some sweet tasting chocolate which most of the time can help with the blues. A square or two too many can leave us with a guilty food baby or rather ironically back to square one which was feeling low to begin with. That is what JK was getting at. I have heard many a time that dementors were symbolic of depression, and you can definitely see why.
But, chocolate was only a temporary cure like comfort eating or the bad habits we end up in. Bare with I’m not a Potter buff but have watched the movies. How does JK have Harry overcome these demons? With positivity, of course. Now, I know such a word has been used many a patronising time, but it is true. We like the character Harry have to make a decision to either let ourselves be leeched by anxiety and depression or we can realise the power that we have and give them a shove off. At the end of the day Voldemort was really defeated by love. A love that he didn’t have. All he had was fear. A power run by fear is know true power at all!
So, how do we stop those dementors or cloaking darkness from attacking us? Well this tip is simple. Though perhaps harder to follow. The sooner you realise that you hold all the cards in your life. No one else. When you look at what you have rather than what you don’t (it doesn’t matter how big or small it is – as long as it is important to you), be thankful. You are loved. If you don’t feel that way then here is a virtual hug ( ) we love you! Remember all those times where you did something you never thought you could. Look back and hold on to that proud feeling. You can do anything. You can achieve anything. Don’t think, I am not like that person so I can’t become a famous painter or whatever it is you aspire to be. They had their troubles too. You just didn’t see it. I’m struggling with writing my book. I can feel crippled with self-doubt. But, I got to keep telling myself I can do it! Keep going. Aspire for what you want to do.
Those people that you want to be like or have been jealous of or simply inspire you. They were people who felt the fear and did it anyway. Simply they were the ones that didn’t give up.
So neither should you. And although, I wasn’t expecting to do such a long Harry Potter metaphor. Here it is #Tip 3 Be Harry Potter. Defeat those dementors with positivity.
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