A candid tale of 20-something humanness and extended note to self.

Monday, 4 July 2016

About anxiety


'I just feel, sometimes,' I said quietly, sadly: each word thick with exhaustion, 'that I'll only ever live half a life.' It had been a bad day, that day.

That night, just like so many others, I stirred: cold, clammy, and numb beneath my sheets, wondering how to make it go away: wondering if it will ever fully go away. I knew the answer. I knew the answer for a long time before I dared realise it.

It won't.


I will live with this anxiety disorder for the rest of my life, I get that now. I may think, for a week or two, that I'm free of it: that a quiet miracle has occurred in my raucous brain, but then it will rear its ugly head again when I least expect it and cast daunting shadows over moments that would otherwise be swathed in joy: in sunlight. It will weave itself: silently, intricately into my thoughts, making the world feel smaller, darker, somehow. And I will try, I will always try to sit with the discomfort: to say yes, regardless; to be and to show up and to make it through the day and laugh in the face of it; to give myself opportunity for those giddy, happy, peaceful moments, the ones where I forget. But there will be odd days, the bad ones, when I will just need to sit in my pants and wallow. And that's okay, I think. It is what it is.

I so often hear people: people stronger, braver than me, perhaps, say that they wouldn't change their struggle. That the things they've been through have made them who they are. And that's true, I guess, to a point. I'm wary of the inevitable, silent struggles of others because of my own. There is fierce compassion and love in my heart because of that, and I will give it to people freely, without question. I like that about myself.

But if I had the choice, I would rid my life of anxiety in a heartbeat. I would delete that night, the worst night, near the beginning, when I set an alarm every hour because I was convinced I would die in my sleep if I didn't. I would get rid of the quiet humiliation that comes every time I'm in a situation where I'm hiding the fact that my stomach's in my throat. And I'd wave an elated goodbye to the dizzying, nauseating, heart-pounding, debilitating dread that I cannot fully put into words: the feeling that consumes me, out of nowhere, in all manner of places. Grant me a magical wish and I would choose to live without this shit, easily. It's wildly infuriating that the bastard is here to stay.

But. Accepting this is liberating too. Terrifying, yes, but liberating. An exhale. Because when you accept it, when you finally tell yourself, after eight years of pretending, that you have a mental health issue, and that it is never going to go away, and that actually, fuck societal stigma because your vulnerability, your humanness, is the most natural thing in the whole entire world; the focus of your efforts can change. You can pour your energy into what matters: easing it. Making yourself better. Not cured, but better.

I've been reading and researching, a lot. I've discovered the things that help me, that really help me, as well as the things that don't. I went to see a therapist, albeit the wrong therapist: the therapist who told me to 'have-regular-orgasms-and-listen-to-David-Attenborough' (all at once?!), but the fact that I did it, that I walked through the door and opened myself up to her, a complete stranger, brings me eternal reassurance. To know, when it brings me to my knees, when I am hopeless, that I can ask for help. That there is such thing as help out there. There is so much be taken from that. 

With the things I've learnt this year, I feel I can quieten, almost silence the near-constant hum. That I can live with this anxiety, with who I am, and that it is okay. That I am okay, and that when I'm not, I will be. Acceptance that I'm stuck with my bastard friend has bred courage, a commitment to freeing the shackles. To putting one foot in front of the other, always and always and always. 

And yes, there will still be days when I feel like I'll only ever live half a life, but there too will be days, just like this one, when I won't. When I'll know, with the fullest of hearts, that I will simply live the same full, exciting, joyous, terrifying, awful little life as all of these beautiful, bizarre, complex, vulnerable people around me: the same life, just by my own definition: good days and bad days and mediocre days and days where you wade through the shit and days where you bask in the sunlight. 

It's humanness, that's all it is. Raw, messy, difficult humanness. A small part of all parts. A part that will break, and break and break. That I will fix, and fix, and fix. 
SHARE:

5 comments

  1. I loved reading this piece KB. I beautifully rare insight into a brilliant mind. You're the strongest person I know <3
    Rob G x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Kathy,
    Beautiful piece. I can really relate. I'm having a shit time with anxiety at the moment, so hearing your positive take on your own struggles has helped to lift my mood. Thanks for sharing.
    Sophie
    @SolitarySquad

    ReplyDelete
  3. this piece is something else, Kathy. Your work is incredible. thank you for sharing it with us
    - Kat

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved reading this and could relate to so much of it. It's so nice to read such an honest and insightful post that's beautifully written too.
    Thanks for sharing and stay strong xxx

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is a beautiful piece, and I couldn't help relating to this more. I've definitely felt like this before, where everything seemed to be going wrong... And then my mum had a panic attack. It wasn't the best day either. Thank you for sharing :)

    Kyia at WANDERLUSTGIRL// lifestyle & beauty
    Let’s be BLOGLOVIN friends!

    ReplyDelete

Write your thoughts, say hello, or tell me off for swearing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger Template Created by pipdig