Last Friday I was talking to someone who seemed curious about anxiety. She asked a lot of questions (despite hardly knowing me) and sadly came across as ignorant and insensitive… although I’m sure she’s just lovely normally! After listening to my story she said; “I’m so thankful my kids don’t have anything like that. We really can’t be doing with any nonsense in our house.” I smiled politely and waited for her to walk away or fall backwards down the stairs…. either would suit. Sadly she continued by saying “It seems like you’ve tried everything and none of it has worked. You’re not cured.” At this point I laughed and said “I’m still here aren’t i? Still swimming” (Thank you Dorie for that mantra.)
Thinking about it now I suppose an element of what she said is true, I have tried a great deal of things and unfortunately many haven’t work for me. Such as:
- Hypnotherapy – It made me feel worse. I either got the giggles or became stressed because I couldn’t relax! But if it works for you then fantastic.
- Meditation (See above)
- Acupuncture – ouch!
- Camomile tea – seriously? Although as a sub tip I find that Peppermint tea is useful for calming nausea and stomach cramps caused by anxiety and stress. It actually works!
I suppose it depends on your definition of ‘worked.’ It’s true I still struggle with anxiety and I’m currently battling the lovely addition of panic attacks… but I’m still here! I don’t spend every moment of my day in agony (unless I’m menstruating, in which case stay back.) I’ve found things which do work for me and I use them when needed.
Furthermore, in this scenario I would also like to question what ‘cured’ even means by definition. Does it mean to be happy all the time, fulfilled, ecstatic? Being happy 100% of the time is a flawed concept because it’s completely unattainable. I strongly believe that if you spend your life trying to be happy all the time then you’ll always be unhappy, things will always be out of reach. Of course I believe in ambition and the desire to improve our position, but I also think that balance is important. Some days we’re happy, some days we’re content, some days we’re sad and others we’re pissed off. THIS IS NORMAL!
To be honest, the main issue I have at the moment is motivation. I find that I frequently don’t want to do anything except stare into space or lie on my bed. This actually leads into my second point.
After ten years of experience I’m noticing that my anxiety tends to come in waves and runs in cycles. Certain months of the year are harder than others and specific things can spark it. Traditionally Mid October to late January are difficult months. I’ll wake up some mornings feeling low and distressed without reason and then it’ll occur to me; ‘ahh it’s that time.’ Nevermind Seasonal Affective Disorder.. I have Seasonal Anxiety Disorder!
I find that I feel more tired than usual, I’m lazy and my moods are low. Even though I know that certain things will help improve my current mind-set I simply won’t entertain the thought of doing them. I want to lie around and watch every single episode of Awkward (an amazing American teen show which I’ve just discovered on LoveFilm.. I’m obsessed!) So why is this I wonder… why don’t I want to help myself? Why is the brain so stubbornly set against me?
I do have strict rules though.. I’m allowed to behave that way for 24 hours and then I literally force myself to get off the couch and into the gym. I don’t believe that you should lie with your demons for too long as they’ll keep you sedated.. you can come to love and feel safe with them even though they’ll make you miserable. It’s important to get up and do something.. distract the brain.
Finally, one other good and yet simple piece of advice I’ll give you… are you listening? (Whoever is reading this.) On the bad days, do like Dorie does and ‘just keep swimming.’ We do five minutes at a time. Don’t think about tomorrow, this evening or the future, just focus on what you’re doing right now and keep going.
Apologies.. this has been quite a disjointed one!