Positively Anxious

winnie the pooh
Photo by Dan on Pexels.com

I needed to write something as I have really struggled these last couple of weeks, and from what I have heard I am not the only one, even if we are all struggling for different reasons.

My brain has been like Tigger. On speed. And then cocaine. (Can you tell I have zero concepts of how drugs work?). Imagine being in a room full of really annoying people who will not shut up. Then, imagine those annoying people in a room that spins.  Then, if you place a concrete block onto your chest and ding ding ding! You have anxiety. That is how I have felt for the last couple of weeks solid.

I am well versed in this enough to know how to ride the wave, without diving too far into it. It feels like I will never feel normal again, but I know in reality it won’t last forever. I am so aware that emotions and feelings are fleeting so, to be frank, it pisses me off that I’ve felt like this for a couple weeks now.

Do not get me wrong. I am happy. I have had some incredible moments, I have had so much fun and have laughed until I have cried over these last couple of weeks. My friends are such wonderful humans and be it over text, Zoom or in person, I have loved engaging with them. Whilst my mind is busy with friends, with work, my CBT app (Bloom, it’s very good) or whatever else, the anxiety is all but forgotten. It has floated away. It is as the time with people comes to an end, or the times I am alone that the anxiety and fears can seep in. I fear being alone with my own thoughts sometimes, hence why I type them out for you all to read. (Sorry, not sorry).

What’s the worst thing about this? I am someone who loves their own space. I love living alone for the most part and even if I get to a point where I live with a partner again, independence is still an integral part of who I am. So to be in fear of being alone with my thoughts is frustrating. This is a new thing (to me) that I am learning. I know how to cope, how to numb, how to recognise my anxiety, my feelings and I know how to talk to people about it. I am an open book with how I feel and I have stopped with the “I’m fine” bullshit. But I still need to work on just being with my feelings. I need to work on doing nothing. I need to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. At the moment, my initial reaction is still to avoid feelings or numb them so this is what I have been working on.

We all have our coping mechanisms, healthy or otherwise. Exercise, drinking, TV, reading to name but a few. What happens if you can’t carry out your coping mechanism for whatever reason? How do you cope then, when your avoidance tactic has gone away? How do you deal with the feelings you have been avoiding for days, weeks, years? Probably not well.

So, this is my new goal – to really dig in and get comfortable with feeling anxious or sad for as long as it lasts. Patience is not my strong suit so this is where the challenge comes in. A couple of weeks ago I wrote how I wanted to embrace life and to embrace feelings. That means all of them. If you feel something, recognise it, feel it and let it be. (I think there’s a song in there somewhere). We need to sit and do nothing with those feelings sometimes. We need to feel all of the feelings, even if they are negative, otherwise, how will we truly embrace and be thankful for the positive ones?

‘Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something’ – Winnie the Pooh.

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