Hi my loves,
I’m just going to preface this post by saying that what I’m mentioning here today is really, really important if you suffer from anxiety. I’ve essentially found something that has really helped me change my mindset when it comes to my anxious thoughts and I think it’ll really help you too (I hope it does) – I had a really anxious day on Saturday and so I spent a long time trawling through the internet in search of some kind of sanctuary and I’ve found a couple of things that I really wanted to share.
I never speak about the full extent of my anxiety because I feel like if I was to genuinely share the extreme lengths that it goes to, people would think I was actually crazy. As in, send her somewhere she needs psychiatric help. If people knew how bad my anxiety really was then they wouldn’t think I was all there. But I am. I’m all here. Hi. But my anxiety makes me sound like I’m crazy and it makes me feel like it too.
Anxiety does not exist outside of my head. Fact. Anxiety is a physical reaction that causes mental implications and it’s crazy to me that something so soul destroying and crushing to the point where it ruins your life and renders you incapable of doing things…is all brought on by yourself. I created this. I am essentially ruining my own life because of the thoughts in my own head. It’s crazy how we can do that to ourselves – how our minds can turn on us like that. You’d think it’d be the complete opposite and that our minds would do anything to protect us but, apparently not.
I read something yesterday that really opened my eyes to something, I read a few things yesterday actually but I’ll get into the rest in a minute. The first thing I read (or more so, discovered) was that anxiety makes you tired. Now, maybe that was obvious to some people, but not so much me. Apparently, when our bodies get so overworked and overwhelmed with anxiety, they shut down. It’s like the fight or flight club just got a new member – either fight, flight…or fall asleep.
And now I feel like so many of my questions have been answered.
I am tired 99% of the time and I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like that’s normal. I’m one of these people that could sleep for 8349234 hours and still be tired 10 minutes after they wake up – but genuinely. Not one of these aesthetics where people class being tired as a personality trait. I realised yesterday that the simple answer is this – I am constantly anxious – there is not a day that goes by where I don’t experience multiple bouts of extreme anxiety and therefore my body is constantly going up and down in terms of anxiety levels and therefore it’s constantly trying to shut itself down, hence causing me to feel…constantly tired.
It’s as simple as that, and I can’t believe I didn’t know this. Our bodies get so stressed out their first instinct is to just shut down to the point where we feel like we just need to go to sleep. So many things are making sense to me now. Anxiety makes me feel like I’m constantly drained and this was put to the test yesterday actually when I’d discovered this new found information, because surprise surprise something happened that made me feel as though my heart was going to stop. I was in the middle of writing an essay when I read something I wish I hadn’t and sure enough, the anxiety began to crash over and drown me like a tidal wave. And what did I start to feel not long after? Tired. Exhaustion. I was so tired that I couldn’t continue on with my essay even though I was absolutely fine 5 minutes ago. This was in the middle of the day, there was no reason for me to suddenly be overcome with feeling so tired but now I knew the reason why – and you know what I did? I took a nap. I never take naps. I’m one of these weird people that just can’t fall asleep during the day but after finding out this new information it’s like I’d tricked my body into believing it needed to nap and so, I did. I’ve mentioned before that anxiety makes me feel as though my body is about to shut down and well…now I’ve discovered that actually, it kind of is.
The second thing I read yesterday day was this, and I’ll link it for you guys but I’ll also summarise it here too just incase you don’t want to read all of it. But it’s changed my perspective on a lot of things completely.
Anxiety is, like I said, all in your head. It’s a physical reaction that has mental implications, and the whole thing is one big trick. You essentially trick yourself into thinking that if this thing happens, something bad is going to happen because of it. For example, if you get into an elevator – it’s going to break and you’re going to fall to your death, if you stand up in front of a big group of people – you think they’re all going to stare at you and laugh. You trick yourself into thinking that this particular thing is going to ’cause something bad to happen and therefore, you try to avoid it at all costs, or take precautionary measures in order to prevent yourself from harm. For example – instead of taking the elevator, you take the stairs – but does this cure your anxiety? No. You’re just avoiding it. You’re not cured at all. The elevator is still there, and you have to accept this. You have to accept the fact that even though you take the stairs instead, the elevator still exists and therefore so does your anxiety. You have to acknowledge this, accept this, and face it head on.
“You experience discomfort, and get fooled into treating it like danger.”
These two examples really resonated with me and so I’ll include them here, as I feel as though they may resonate with you too if you suffer in the same way –
“A person with generalised anxiety disorder gets tricked into trying to stop the unwanted “what if?” thoughts, rather than accepting them and taking care of present business as thoughts come and go.”
“A person with social phobia gets tricked into avoiding the party, or hiding in the corner if they attend, rather than saying hello to a stranger and seeing what happens.”
And the problem is this – when in these situations that you’ve tricked yourself into believing are dangerous, you take precautionary measures in order to protect yourself, and you therefore believe that these precautionary measures are the reason that nothing bad has happened to you. Therefore, every time you’re in said situation, you “protect” yourself with these precautionary measures, and that is how the cycle starts.
But this is all wrong.
The reason that nothing bad happened to you was not due to the “precautionary measures” that you took. No, the reason that nothing bad happened to you was because you were never in a situation that was dangerous to begin with.
You just tricked yourself into believing you were.
Nothing bad would have happened whether you took the precautionary measures or not, because you were never in a situation that was actually dangerous – your brain just tricked you into thinking you were due to your own anxiety, and therefore, you felt the need to protect yourself. And because nothing bad did actually end up happening, you believe it’s a result of the precautionary measures that you took, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all.
And this is how anxieties and anxious routines are created.
You think that if you don’t check that all of the plug sockets in your house are switched off 20 times before you leave for the day, then your house is going to go up in flames, and when it doesn’t go up in flames, you believe it’s because you checked all of the plug sockets 20 times before you left, and because you think this was the reason for your house not going up in flames, you do this every single time you’re about to leave your house because God forbid if you didn’t do it – your house would surely burn to a crisp! And this then becomes your life, and it then becomes your anxiety.
But you have created this anxiety yourself. It is all in your head.
And this is what we need to realise. We need to face these things head on, we need to accept them and we need to deal with them rather than trying to spend our whole lives hoping we can simply just slip past and ignore them. For example, thinking about certain things makes me anxious, therefore my solution is to just…not think about those things. But that doesn’t cure me, that doesn’t “fix” my anxiety. The only way for me to do that is to face those thoughts head on – accept them, acknowledge them, and deal with them that way.
The link to this whole thing is here and I would seriously, seriously recommend you having a quick read if you suffer from anxiety like I do – it’ll only take you 5 minutes and hopefully it’ll open your eyes to your anxiety in the same way that it’s opened me to mine. I’m at this stage in my life now where I’m always looking for the cause of things – what’s the reason I feel like this? Why am I the way that I am? What causes me to react to things in the way that I do? Where did it all stem from? And breaking down my anxieties in such a way to truly understand why we as humans feel so terrified of things that don’t even exist, is something I’m really passionate about discovering. For myself and also for you, in case anything I say can even remotely be of some help.
I’ve had anxiety ever since I can remember, and I used to think it was normal. As a child, I genuinely believed that everybody felt the way that I did – that their heart was going to fall out of their chest at the slightest inconvenience – that it was going to stop beating and burst into a million pieces whenever something slightly out of my comfort zone happened. At the base of everything, anxiety has always been there. Throughout my teen years, I’d say maybe 14 – 17/18, depression took over and became worse than my anxiety. Anxiety got pushed to the back and while it was still there, I couldn’t concentrate on it as much because my depression had completely blown it out of the water. I then used to believe that my anxiety was a result of my depression or that the two were somehow linked, and I guess I forgot that anxiety was always here first.
Now that I’m older, depression is subsiding. I don’t want to come out and say that I’m not depressed anymore, because I don’t know that yet. I’d like to say it, but I know that depression likes to pop up out of nowhere when we least expect it and I’m no exception. I still have bad days and days where I wish I wasn’t on the Earth anymore, but that’s something I’m slowly learning how to deal with.
What it’s made me realise though, is that anxiety is now coming back as prominent as ever, and it’s made me realise that it actually never went away. It felt like it did for a while because my depression completely overshadowed it for a number of years, but now that those rain clouds are slowly dispersing and floating away, anxiety is still here at the forefront as all, as mean and as fierce as ever.
I always thought my depression was my worst mental illness, but now I’m beginning to realise that actually, I think anxiety is. I’ve always spoken about depression more on this blog because like I said, that’s always felt worse for me, but now that I’m having these realisations – over the past year or so I’ve tried to write more about my anxiety too, because that for me is unfortunately equally just as bad, if not worse. Probably worse. I just tried to fool myself into believing it wasn’t.
So yes, I’m not sure what this post is…I just needed to do a huge brain dump of everything I wanted to share and I feel like I haven’t done a long, wordy post like this in a while so, here’s to the first of 2020.
I love you all very much and I’ll see you in my next post.
All my love,