This week’s post gives a small insight into the mind of someone who suffers with anxiety. It’s a bit of a ramble about something that has been on a mind for a long time that I just need to get out. These thoughts keep whirling around in my mind and sometimes when I’m having a bad day I can get stuck. They then just take up more and more space until they completely overwhelm me and I can’t find a way out. That is essentially the difference between someone who doesn’t suffer from anxiety and someone who does. Normally people can deal with these thoughts to some degree and move on. People with anxiety on the other hand can be completely brought down by them.
Earlier this year I was offered the credible opportunity by my work to move to the US. At the time I couldn’t be more excited and I wanted to go then and there. Unfortunately due to a change in treatment for my endometriosis and adenomyosis I decided to delay the decision at the time. During my recent trip to our US office the offer came up again. They would still like to have me and support me as needed, even knowing about my physical and mental health challenges.
While I know many would jump at the opportunity, this time round I just don’t know what to do. First and foremost I think about my healthcare, and if I would have access to the treatment and care that I need. Next comes friends and family. They are one of the main things that gets me through the tough times and I have no idea how I would cope without them. Then there are the big life ponderings which are increasingly keeping me up at night. I would like to settle with someone here in the UK, and whilst these days I rarely get truly anxious or worried about finding the right person, I would like it to happen in the next couple of years. If I move to America won’t that just delay things further? But then I think I moved to the UK from Australia in the first place not wanting it to be permanent and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made!
When I was first considering the move earlier this year I was also in a much worse mental state than I am in now. I felt like I needed to ‘get out’ and run away from anything, like I needed a fresh start. After time (and plenty of therapy) I don’t feel the need to run away anymore. I am finally becoming more confident in who I am and finding the strength to go after what I really want. Would moving affect this in any way though? What if being in another new environment pushes me back? But then am I just using all this as an excuse not to go? Am I just being too scared? What nutter wouldn’t want to take this opportunity?
Then I start thinking, is the guilt and uncertainty I’m feeling just perceived pressure from society? Is it me just thinking that that’s what ‘normal’ people would expect me to do? And that there’s something wrong with me if I don’t want to go? Next comes the thoughts that I don’t have to go forever, I can always come back if it doesn’t work out. But then I think why put my body through more stress? Life has enough ups and downs as it is. I know my stress affects my symptoms in a very direct way so why would I add to it? What if I need surgery?
That’s just a snippet of what’s going on up there for me right now. I don’t know what I am going to do but I know I do need help to break this cycle of thinking. So as I mentioned in a post on my Instagram recently, I am going back to my psychologist to get that help. I am off to see her this week and you know what? I’m actually kind of looking forward to it. I think we all need someone to talk our shit out with at some point in our lives. It doesn’t have to be any kind of therapist, but I definitely think having someone who can view things in an objective way and offer informed guidance (if needed) is extremely beneficial.
When my anxiety was at it’s worst I ended up in A&E with severe chest pain that wouldn’t go away and a heart rate that wouldn’t quit. I thought something was seriously wrong but I was physically completely fine. It turned out I was having my first true panic attack. Fortunately after getting the help I needed I don’t experience panic attacks to this level anymore. I still have bad times, but now they are nowhere near as severe thank god. These days I sometimes feel like my nerves are on edge and I get breathless, and sometimes I switch off and I go into a daze.
There are a couple of things which help me when I get into these states. The first is completely switching off technology. This means switching my phone to flight mode, turning off the TV and closing the laptop. Instead I will get lose myself in a book, or tuck into an early night. Another thing which was a suggestion from my psychologist was to find a strong scent which isn’t normally present which I can use to help bring me back and ground me when I start get feelings of dissociation. For me I chose pure ginger oil, but it could be anything. Now I try and keep it in my bag wherever I go and give it a whiff when I need to (it sounds so suss when I put it like that haha).
If you also suffer from anxiety then I hope this helped you feel a little less alone. This week I went to a women’s mental health awareness event and I cannot tell you how much it helped me hearing some of the stories shared. I always think that there will be someone who judges me when I share my struggles with mental health. But these incredible, accomplished women sharing also struggled with depression and anxiety and of course I didn’t judge them. I could only think of how brave and strong they were, so why get so caught up on thinking people will judge me? The more people who talk about these issues, the more normal they will become and hopefully the associated stigma will fall away. If you know someone who may experience similar struggles then I hope it gave a helpful insight as to what it can be like. It can be hard to know how to help I know, sometimes it can be distracting them, sometimes it might be talking through their thoughts. And sometimes it’s just letting them know you’ll be there when they come out the other side.
Thank you for reading, please never hesitate to reach out if you want to chat!