wE'Re AlL mAd HeRe

Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic… and the rest!

Talk to me Cheryl!

Recently my grandma and I had a discussion that went like this:

Grandma: Things have changed too much since I was young.
Me: Thank God! Your toilet was outside, the bath was in the living room and granddad used an old bra to clean his shoes!
Grandma: Don’t be so bloody cheeky. I’m tellin ya now, things were better in my day.
Me: But you didn’t have iPhones!

I failed to convince her, mainly because she can only just about use a normal telephone, nevermind an android!
It made me think about change though. It’s rarely a celebrated concept is it? The majority of people are creatures of habit. We like routine and familiar surroundings. Why else do we buy houses if not to nest our families in an area that they will one day recognise as home? Home is a constant, it doesn’t change.
Anything that threatens to disrupt our lives in anyway, will cause distress. For example, Last year Facilities installed hand dryers in the staff toilets and removed the paper towels. The office practically erupted! People were having actual melt downs in the kitchen. Something that was deemed to be a minor change had suddenly caused mass devastation. After two months the hand dryer disappeared and the paper towels made a comeback. (I’m guessing there was a demonstration of some sort.)

I’m certainly not immune to change either. If there aren’t any bagels left in the canteen by the time I get down for breakfast then watch out. The red mist descends and affects my mood for at least 90 minutes. I’m a monster. (Yes, It’s a bagel for Christ’s sake…… but at 8:45am it means so much more!)

Change = the unknown and we all know how scary that is! What if we can’t deal with it? What if it’s awful? What if we die in a gutter somewhere?… I could go on.

Change is one of my three triggers, along with; tiredness and public speaking. On the one hand, it’s great that I’ve spotted my triggers. But on the other, I actually have to deal with them!

I mention this because I started my new job yesterday. (Hello giant change!) Fortunately, I can almost predict how my brain will react these days (famous last words.) So when I experienced three nights of very little sleep last week I wasn’t too distressed. I won’t bore you with the details but it included some fine-tuned distraction techniques such as; hot chocolate with a shot of Jack Daniels, cheese on toast, snuggles with Rigby and Boudicca the documentary (I freaking LOVE historical documentaries!) Rather than forcing myself to go to sleep I accepted the anxious thoughts and  waited until they passed. Eventually I fell asleep naturally. Sure, it’s not ideal to go to bed at 2am… but it’s better than tossing and turning. I’d much rather take control of the situation.
In regards to the new job, so far so good. The people seem nice and I’ve already proven my knowledge of the publishing world once today (thank God.) I can’t be certain that ‘my old friend’ won’t flare up again at some point, but I know that I can handle it if/when it does.

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up for handling change:

* If it’s imminent and there is nothing that you can do about it, then don’t waste your time dwelling. (Sounds bloody obvious I know, but bear with me.) Your anxiety will feed off your worried state and provide a whole catalogue of scenarios to torture you with. So as tempting as it might be, don’t curl up with it. Allow yourself 5 minutes of ‘worry time’ and then move on. Distract yourself with tasks, games or household chores. I’m shamefully addicted to Candy Crush… it really helps!
The truth is, nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future (unless you’re Dr Who,) so for all those who are not Dr Who, don’t focus on it!

* Exercise and relaxation. When feeling tense your muscles will tighten and cramp, I sometimes get horrendous stomach and chest pains. So it’s a good idea to do some cardio exercise in order to release the strain. The cardio will also reduce adrenalin and improve the mood. After a session at the gym I sometimes unwind by having a long bubble bath (with wine and Elle magazine.)

* Take things day by day. Don’t allow yourself to think about the immediate future too much. Easier said than done I know, but our fantasies and reality are often skewed. We can scare ourselves to death without actually being in the situation! The best way to deal with something is to deal with it… 5 minutes at a time and just keep moving.

* Keep talking.  Schedule time to offload to a trusted family member, partner or friend. Venting is natural therapy! Perhaps you can come up with a solution or coping technique together? However, be sure to distract yourself with fun tasks after the conversation. Don’t dwell remember.

* I repeat myself, but BE KIND TO YOURSELF. A tasty dinner, piece of chocolate cake or movie night will do the body wonders. Where is the benefit in sitting home alone and brutally criticising yourself? I can’t see any.

I really want to start singing the Cheryl Crowe song right now… but then I thought I’d leave it to her! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikjmz_SlGhg

Preparations are going well for the party. I can confirm that you will all receive a 125ml glass of wine on arrival (oh yeah!)

Categories: Anxiety

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