wE'Re AlL mAd HeRe

Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Panic… and the rest!

The Christmas bug

I have only one word to say; Norovirus. Four days of my life consumed in a haze of sickness, misery and chronic fatigue. On Tuesday I went for a ‘lie down’ and woke up three hours later. How does that happen?!
I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby on at least three occasions. My mum rang the doctors on my behalf – I live in London but I’m still registered up North. Yes I know this is ridiculous, but I really like my doctor.. he gives me drugs! I expect to get a bollocking about that when I go home.
Anyway, I think the  conversation went something like:

Mum: I’m ringing on behalf of my child, she’s very ill and we don’t know what to do.. blah blah blah..
Receptionist: Oh dear, I’ll see if a doctor is available. How old is your child?
Mum: She’s 28
Receptionist: Whaaaaaaaaaa?

Look, there shouldn’t be an age limit on the word child. I might be a fully grown woman, but I’m technically still my mum’s child! Needless to say, the receptionist wasn’t much help after that.

I’m on the mend now at least and have regained the use of my brain (ish.) I had some epic illness induced dreams though.. The best one being – my dad secretly had super powers and passed them down to me via a ring (which was too small for some reason.) Basically I could stop evil people from moving just by pointing at them, AND when the sun was up I could use its energy to fly. I was flying all over the place and at one point Judy Dench was on my back, which seems a bit odd now. But other than that everything was totally feasible!

Still three good things came out of this week:

  1. It was a four day detox. Granted it was against my will, but a detox is a detox.
  2. I was too ill to feel anxious or stressed, so that was a nice break for my brain.
  3. I received an email from John Grohol of Psych Central awarding me their Best of the Web Blog award (look for the widget.) I had no idea that I’d even been nominated, so that was a lovely surprise! Although I did double check a few times to make sure that I hadn’t dreamt it during one of my hazes. But yes, I’m really touched.

ANYWAY, the count-down to Christmas has begun. How are we all feeling? This will probably be my last post until the new year, as I intend to have a break… Although I may do a video later – you lucky sods!

One of the biggest issues I have during the Christmas period is laziness. Not the good kind.. as in remaining glued to the couch unless I desperately need the loo OR the house is on fire. I mean in regards to ‘what’s good for me.’ I’ve mentioned countless times that I sometimes lack the drive to help myself. Why? Well because quite frankly I don’t want to. It’s an effort and I can’t be bothered. Why should I have to get up at 6am and run three times a week just to keep my adrenalin levels down? Or listen to my Headspace app every day to stay balanced? Why should I have to experience horrendous panic attacks when all I want to do is hide? Sometimes I just want to normal, without having to constantly ‘work’ on things.
Ironically it’s when I’m at my most anxious that I really don’t want to help myself. This is mainly because the activities that help also force me to face the anxious feelings I’ve been trying to ignore. Despite knowing everything that I do, the anxiety trick still catches me out. Avoidance feels so much safer than accepting those feelings. FYI – facing anxiety will initially make you feel worse as this essentially ‘opens the floodgates’ – but it also removes the thoughts which cause those feelings.

To a certain extent I think that such hissy fits are acceptable now and again. I compare it to those who constantly have to battle with their weight. An old colleague of mine would sometimes despair around Christmas; I wish I could eat what I want without feeling guilty. I’ll have to diet for weeks to lose the Christmas weight. Swings and roundabouts I suppose. My dramas are not unique. We don’t want to do the things that are good for us because they require effort.

Here are the main issues that I will need to watch out for:

  1. Not doing any exercise
  2. Drinking excessively for days in a row (it messes with my serotonin levels and lowers my mood.)
  3. Not doing Headspace

Realistically, I’m not going to set a rigorous schedule because I won’t stick to it and naturally I do deserve some down time! However, for my own well-being it’s important that I do a few things. So if like me you struggle with laziness over the holiday period then why not try tackling it in a different way? Change things up a little. For example:

  • In regards to exercise I’ve asked my mum to dig the Wii fit out from its hiding place. Some of those games are genuine work outs.. just try the step class or the hula hoop game! So much fun too. I’m also going to drag my mum or dad out for a twenty minute walk one morning. It’s a good way to exercise and have a natter. Plus, Rigby will need to be walked which is a good excuse. Dancing is a good one too, either on your own or in a club, really get those hips moving. Seriously I love a good boogie when I’m on my own! Ten minutes a day of any exercise will do.
  • I won’t lie, I do like a drink and have no intention of holding back on Christmas Day. However, on Boxing Day I will make an effort to stick to my limit by adding lemonade to wine and having soft drinks. It’s more a habit than anything else. My family tend to sit in the living room and drink wine… and I LOVE it. However, it has negative results and I accept that. I’ll be stricter this year.
  • There’s no way to negotiate Headspace, as it has to be done correctly. Therefore, I will make a solid effort to do it every morning. I might even make my mum do it too… and Rigby. It’s only 10 minutes a day, so what am I moaning about really?

In a nutshell, the whole thing is just about being organised and thinking creatively. Try and re-associate your techniques with fun/positive things rather than a chore. If I feel the need to complete a CBT thought chart, then I will be sure to reward myself with something yummy afterwards. I’m thinking cheese, it’s always cheese.

One final thing. If you don’t want to be happy 24/7 then don’t be. It’s unnatural anyway… seriously who is happy all the time?! I don’t care if it’s Christmas, a summer holiday or your birthday.. humans do not feel ecstatic twenty four hours a day and that’s OK. Don’t try to feel or be anything but yourself. On the one hand I wouldn’t recommend announcing at the dinner table; I’m really freaking miserable and I hate myself – as that might be a buzz killer for the rest of the group –  BUT if you need to take yourself away for ten minutes and feel bad then do it, there’s no shame in accepting your emotions. (I mean that in a non hippy shit way.) Repressing everything will make you feel worse in the long run, so embrace them and then leave them behind in that room, at least for a while.

I wish everyone a very happy and relaxing Christmas. 🙂
Take care of yourselves (that means be kind!) And I’ll be back in 2015.

Lots of love
x x x x

Categories: Social Anxiety

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6 replies

  1. thanks clare for making me feel better about my anxiety, your blogs are always a timely reminder to what i can put in practice. gearing up for the social aspects of christmas i’m going to try to embrace a short jog every day & take a 10 minute breather when i need it. happy christmas!

  2. Thank you so much for your blog. You always seem to say the things I need to hear just at the right time! I have been worrying about going home for Christmas and having to deal with a different routine ie. no routine at all! Making a few small rules sounds like a good idea. I’m also very bad at repressing feelings, which always ends up in stress and a panic attack….. it’s a long learning curve.
    Merry Christmas xxx

    • My pleasure Jennie, I’m so glad that you find it helpful. Yes I also have a bad habit of ‘letting things build up’ – let’s both promise to give ourselves atleast a quiet 20 minutes on Christmas Day to decompress. Merry Christmas to you too xx

  3. Exercise is the key for me and when I skip it for a while the wheels come off. Once I’m out running I really enjoy it – it’s the getting out there that’s difficult especially when it’s dark, wet and cold like at the moment.

    Having a goal helps (like with most things) so I enter races (I’m usually near the back) and have a training plan which helps me focus. So far so good. Since the latest training plan was out in place I’ve missed no sessions and my anxiety is back down to manageable levels.

    I couldn’t make headspace work for me. On,y listened to the first one and got incredibly stressed listening to number 2 so gave up. Now having regular CBT sessions and putting actions in place off the back of this. Have also switched meds to sertralin which seems to be working better than citalopram for me.

    Why am I writing such a lengthy post? Stumbling across your blog a few months ago persuaded me to try to sort myself out before I did something silly. So thank you – your words and experiences and the courage to blog about it have really helped me.

    Merry Christmas – I hope you have a good one


    • Hi Andy.. I dont even know where to begin, im so moved by your comment. Thank you for the kind words, im really glad that you find my blog useful. One of the main reasons I write is to help others realise that anxiety can be maintained.
      It sounds as though you have a very proactive approach and solid coping techniques. I wish you all the best with the running!
      Merry Christmas 🙂

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