[The following post mentions brands and book titles because they’re a part of my personal experience → not for advertising purposes.]
As the first of January 2017 was mostly spent recovering from New Year’s Eve celebrations (and late night cleaning as a friend’s skirt sprinkled glitter all over the place and − which was far worse − I spilled a glass of champagne on the floor), here comes the post about my resolutions for 2017, a day (edit: more like a year and a half..!) late. I haven’t made a list of things I want to do or approve but I have come to realize that something needs to change. I’m aware that this is not a very specific resolution, but I’m pretty sure that I need to do something about the current state of my mind in order to live my life to the fullest.
I had some time off work and I haven’t been able to enjoy it as much as I should have because of my complete inability to relax. In fact, being out of my usual routine seemed to have made me more anxious than I thought I ever could be. My thoughts were racing and my heart was beating ferociously, which caused a slight but constant headache. I was unable to just sit and do nothing because it was driving me crazy. Instead, I was urging myself to stay active and distracted (at this point I’d like to thank Netflix and Spotify for helping me get through the days).
Being in this anxious state caused me even more distress − if I can’t relax while being on vacation, how am I supposed to stay calm once I’m back at work? This freaked me out especially because I know that at least some of my current health issues are directly related to my stress levels. In light of this and the seemingly increasing anxiety I decided that I need to finally put a finger on what exactly causes all of it in order to rid myself of it (note: reading this now makes me realise I might have been a little too optimistic back then) or at least get it under control.
So far, so good.
Being aware of the problem is one thing and probably a huge step on the road to feeling better but I’m not quite sure how to approach the issue and continue living my life at the same time. I feel like working on my issues is a full-time job itself. I have experienced that I’m doing alright or at least close to alright as long as I can focus on one thing at a time without being pressured by a number of obligations and appointments along the way. As soon as I need to take care of multiple tasks I lose my calm. My inner wannabe perfectionist always wants to do the best possible work and get things done as soon as they pop up. This turns out to be particularly difficult when I have appointments or meetings sometime in the near or not so near future. For me that means having to wait, which I’m not very good at to say the least. Waiting freaks me out unless I’m ridiculously busy in the meantime, because it gives my brain far too much time to obsess over and (over-)think what might possibly happen at said appointment. It usually turns me into a worst-case-scenario director, preparing myself for every possible situation (dialogues included!) which is obviously impossible and maybe even slightly pathetic.
You might wonder why I don’t just stop being like that since I know the issue. Well, I can’t. That’s something people who have never experienced anxiety have a hard time understanding. It’s possible to explain to them how I feel (although I usually feel like a lunatic when doing so), and some might even understand the issue to some extent, but very few can actually relate to how debilitating it can be.
Also, life doesn’t wait for anybody to sort their s*** out. This often results in the feeling of being left behind while everyone else seems to be racing ahead achieving things. It’s a feeling I usually get when comparing myself to others, which I do all the time. The numerous social media platforms make this very easy.
Nevertheless, I have decided to start working on what makes my life difficult. I recently read a very helpful book (We’re All Mad Here by Claire Eastham) and I have decided to deal with my issue instead of trying to avoid it. For that purpose, I went out and bought a truckload of fancy notebooks − probably more than I’ll ever need − so that I can write down my thoughts whenever an uncomfortable situation occurs, allowing me to analyse it and therefore hopefully rationalise and defuse it.
It’s a scary thing to take on, but I guess not scarier than being scared all day long. I’m tired of feeling inadequate. It’s like apologising over and over for who I am, which I really don’t want to be doing for the rest of my life.
[Edit: I recently read another awesome book which I totally recommend reading – First We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety by Sarah Wilson.]