Anxiety and I go back a while, I guess you could even consider us old friends. But more probably, old foes. We were never extremely close when I was small, but it was always there, in the back of my mind.
It made me question myself. Question my morals, my work, my effort. When I tried my hardest at something and gave it my all, that was when it came a little closer; inching towards me like a predator does its prey until it does a quick swipe and the prey enters fight or flight mode.
I guess you could kind of say that I didn’t quite enter that mind-set. Suddenly, as it made its swipe, I was stunned, like a rabbit in headlights and I wasn’t sure what to do. What was that? The voice of reason? Whatever it was, I listened. It convinced me that I wasn’t good enough. I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough. Soon enough, that idea was being carved into my brain repeatedly, each carving cut deeper than the last.
Okay. I know I sound dramatic but I’m trying to illustrate how anxiety can influence people’s thought processes and how it has influenced mine in the past. Anxiety and I became closer as I got older. When I was 11 I was convinced that practically everything I did was wrong; I lost a few friends, thinking I had upset them and that I was annoying so I kept my distance. I had a few family issues at that time in my life, and I partly blamed myself for them. Anxiety had become synonymous with reason. I’m a bad person. I am to blame. They don’t like me. I annoy and upset my friends. These are just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head, flashing in the forefront of my mind. It felt as though these overwhelming notions were pinning me down, bruising me and forcing me to question myself. I’d like to point out though that my parents and teachers were very supportive of the things I did, and were (and still are) absolutely lovely. But it was as if their words we like a whisper, and anxiety’s a shout through a megaphone.
It is only now that I’m a bit older that I can see that this isn’t healthy for me. That doesn’t mean that I never listen to my anxieties because that would be a very big lie, but I do try to let the thoughts go when they’re all running and breaking apart in to millions of sub-thoughts like sparks from a firework. I let them die out and try not to allow myself fan the sparks into a flame because honestly, it’s not worth it.
If you too suffer from the aches and pains that anxiety hoist upon us then I really hope it gets better for you soon. I recently was told that self-compassion is an important thing to practice and so that’s what I’m trying to work on. I’ll try not to punish myself if I make mistakes because making them is how I am going to learn; making them is how I am going to grow as a person. I am enough. You are enough. Anxiety sucks. But I am not my anxiety and nor are you yours. We are humans and we’re pretty damn awesome, even if we don’t feel it sometimes.
Stay well dudes,