I’ve wanted to start blogging for a while now but I’ve been, well, scared! I love to write and I like to share so what’s been stopping me?
Anxiety. It’s something that’s followed me around for a while now – and will probably be with me to some extent my whole life. For me, it’s an irrational fear of worst case scenarios which stops me living the way I want to live.
(In my head I imagine people reading this who know me are having a ‘lightbulb’ moment right now – “Ohhh so that’s why she’s like that!” I promise I’m getting on top of it!)
I won’t go into all the ‘gory’ details of why I’ve ended up this way, or how anxiety’s affected my mental health. But since I was diagnosed and treated for it I’ve come a long way. Here are three things I’ve done since learning to manage my anxiety that I would NEVER have done this time last year:
- Started this blog! For a while I wouldn’t even post updates to Facebook because I was scared of what people would think. I’m still pretty nervous about sharing so much of my life with people, but I’m determined not to let it stop me – just please be gentle with your comments 😉
- Started running – well, sort of! I took up running as part of my recovery, to help me cope with the ‘fight or flight’ reflex that was causing me to panic (read more about the ‘fight or flight’ reflex from mental health charity MIND). Unfortunately though, a knee injury’s put me out of running action for the last six months or so. At the height of my anxiety, being stopped from doing something I enjoy would simply have sparked depression and I’d have just given up. But now, I’m working hard to recover through physiotherapy and finding new ways to get rid of all that ‘worry’ energy. I’ve joined a gym, started swimming and go to a hot yoga class (I’m stupidly inflexible but definitely a sweaty yoga convert!) This time last year I’d have been about as likely to move to Timbuktoo as I would to go to an exercise class – with other people – on my own! But I’m pleased to say I’ve stuck at it and am loving the social element of doing a regular group exercise session.
- Started ‘relaxing’ – I use the word ‘relaxing’ with caution because I’m still not quite sure it’s something that’s in my nature! Ironically for someone who suffers with anxiety, I actually thrive on being busy and feeling stressed in a positive way. I’ve worked in journalism, PR and marketing – three pretty hectic, deadline-driven careers – but I’ve always been confident I can do my job well, and on time. It’s the smaller things that make me worry – the things I feel like I can’t control.
That said, I’m learning to appreciate a bit of time out with me, myself and I. Anxiety has made me more wary of being alone with my own thoughts (it’s when I tend to panic most!) so things like going for a walk or sitting in the park solo still feel slightly odd to me. I’m trying out a few new relaxation therapies – as well as relaxing by cooking or reading a good book. I’ll let you know how things go!
Right, so that’s me – thank you so much for reading! I don’t plan for all my posts to be this personal but hopefully it’s helped you get to know me a bit better. Keep checking back for updates as I try to learn to live a ‘worry-free’ life. I’ll be blogging about a few self-help remedies I’ve found helpful for managing my anxiety – and trying out a few new ones (mindful yoga and essential oils to name but a few). Stay posted for the results!
Ps. If you’re reading this because you’re living with anxiety too I’d really encourage you to talk to someone about it. There are a few organisations you could try – or just go to your GP. Mine was lovely and never judged me once (even when I cried on her!)