The weight of anxiety is something I have become familiar with over the past couple of years. I find it difficult to articulate to those who don’t experience it, but my hope is that here I can share some illuminating thoughts.
If you have anxiety, I am sure you’ll know exactly what I mean.
I’ve always been susceptible to stress, but there’s a thin line between healthy adrenalin and soul destroying anxiety.
I realised I’d walked well across that line not long after moving to London, when just everyday decisions like where to park my car and deciding what clothes to wear was causing me inordinate levels of stress.
My body would shake and I would have a constant headache. The exhaustion was overwhelming and getting through the day was a huge challenge. Coupled with hyperventilating and a constant terror of life, and this was a very unhealthy situation.
I also began to feel completely overwhelmed in social situations, unable to walk into a pub to meet friends and often running out in tears.
Social anxiety made me feel like I was cast out from normal society, alone with my feelings and with no end in sight.
If we fast forward to today, things are not perfect but I am now more aware of my anxiety and I can try to control it. I am more self confident in social situations, but I’m gentle with myself and respect my boundaries.
If it means I need to leave a party early, or have a quiet evening followed by an early night, that’s what I have to do.
I have had a difficult period recently. I have felt anxiety creeping in to everyday situations like changing the bedclothes and the commute home from work.
But, I find myself instantly calmer if I take time to read a book or crochet, so I make time for these activities. My wish this week is that I continue to control my anxiety.
What are your experiences of anxiety?