It’s something you can’t ignore: that annoying voice inside your head that’s the source of your fears, constantly pointing out real or imagined flaws, and the cause of your hyper vigilance. To relax for one moment is to lose, to welcome doom – why your body tells you this is true, your brain doesn’t tell you. Its only job is to nag you and turn you into a pale reflection of who you normally are.
I can’t classify myself as an overly-anxious person, but there’s periods when it creeps up, builds up and cripples me to the point that I feel like someone else – my mood changes, I can no longer sleep properly or enjoy a relaxing evening, and every moment needs to be filled doing “Something” (what? “Everything,” is the vague answer I receive. Helpful.) Adrenaline flushes become a normal occurrence, a Fight Or Flight response to absolutely nothing.
Then it goes away, and all I can do is enjoy it, because it’ll be back.
Right now, I’m living through one of those moments. In fact, just writing this post is making me anxious. “Am I doing it right? Will people like it? What if this feeling of constant dread never goes away and all I am from now on is this high-strung person, waiting for that straw to break my back?” (…aaand I just compared myself to a camel.)
If you feel this way, know that you’re not alone. There’s things that help. For me, meditation helps me feel grounded and more focused. Not getting worked up over small things also helps – in other words, put things in perspective. Your burnt your dinner, but this didn’t kill you, right? Move on. An unhappy customer just left you negative feedback? Assess the situation, ask how you can make it right, and move on. The operative words, as you might have guessed, are Move On. The world doesn’t end because you made a mistake, you’re not less wonderful because you’re not perfect and, most of all, you do deserve to be happy and in peace. Don’t let others put you down, and don’t let that voice inside you say you’re unworthy.
(By the way, none of the examples I gave above are autobiographical. In case you wondered.)
Some days it’s harder than others, and it’s a constant battle. But think about it: everyone you know is struggling with something, so you’re not alone. And, if anxiety is getting the better of you, professional help is also available. Depending on where you are, there are helplines, mental health charities, therapists you can talk to.
So I’m going to follow my own advise right now, have a cup of tea, plan an evening of film watching and nice food, and relax. Or try to. That’s all I can ask myself – to keep trying, and know things will improve.