So lately I have not been in a good place. Being away at uni doesn’t help when the people who know you, know the signs of your attacks, know what to look out for are far away from you. I know that is life, I know that it is going to happen; I can’t have my friends and family hanging around me like I’m a china doll my whole life.
I think the biggest thing is though, in those dips that we go through it is honestly the best time to have your friends, partners, family. It’s just because it means we don’t have to act like we’re great all the damn time, every single day we have to try and hide how we are truly feeling because those who don’t know anything about anxiety just think you’re being plain rude. I’m not being rude sitting in my room all day not even coming out for any food or drink, it’s just because I can’t even manage to get out of bed and look at you. Just that one simple act to you, feels like the biggest act in the moment for me, because it just means that I have to put on the biggest smile, make myself look semi presentable and force myself to talk to you.
The other night, I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been in bed since 9pm – I was exhausted but not so much physically, but mentally and emotionally. There had been a fight in my house between some people and the tension was so thick; at the time I didn’t know what had happened and so I was sat there tense unsure whether I had caused this uneasiness or whether it had been something completely different. Of course I found out the next day it, in fact, had not been me who had caused this tension but the tension in the room was so thick it was triggering me basically. I feel like the room should have had a trigger warning sign.
My anxiety had not been good the whole week, in fact it had been at it’s worst but that’s only because I had been ill for a while and couldn’t get out of bed. My body had gotten used to the sanctuary of my room, the comfort of my bed and my mind was happy with this; my body wasn’t uptight waiting for something to happen; I wasn’t feeling exhausted from it. Of course I was feeling all gross and exhausted from being ill but my anxiety wasn’t triggering every time. Basically I had got comfortable not being around people – a very bad thing for me.
I was nervous about being back at my classes, my tutors had changed everything since I had last been in and after a very tense class it turned out that the tutors themselves did not understand the schedule we had been given for our assignments. This just made everything worse; the tutors still have not managed to sort anything out yet – but I’m working through it and I’m getting help with it. No but that didn’t help me at all.
There are so many factors which can trigger anxiety, many people think that it is just the one thing but it really really isn’t. I once had an anxiety attack from three different things in one go, they all seemed to happen at once; but it had actually spanned over the whole day. To me it had felt like it was all happening together.
I read a blog the other day, it was a wonderful blog and so very informative and it was a blog written by someone to give advice to anyone who knows someone with depression or anxiety and ways to handle people once they had, had an attack. I’m still learning about anxiety, I never knew anything about it; I just thought it was normal to fee like this. So this new diagnosis is something completely new to me and this blog taught me a lot. Now of course after an attack I feel numb, everyone generally does, an attack is so emotionally draining it literally takes everything out of you; for me I can’t talk. I’m so numb I sometimes can’t even sit up. It doesn’t always happen because of an attack, sometimes it’s just because I have just felt so anxious throughout the day or the week that my body can’t handle it. It just explodes with it all, it’s like a spring, it has been pushed down with so much pressure that it has sprung up from the pressure not being able to hold it any further.
The blog was amazing because I, personally, thought that it truly explored the wholeness of an attack, explaining to the person what it will have been like for the person and saying how the person may not even be able to talk back to you but if you keep talking to them it helps; even just about random stuff like your day and what you ate for lunch. For me, when I hear my partner’s voice it just makes everything better; I mean it’s not like I’m immediately cured like Charlie’s grandfather from the Chocolate Factory Film but it brings a sense of comfort, it almost grounds me. My partner talks absolute rubbish sometimes, other times he doesn’t really talk to me, he plays his game and just the sense of him over the phone makes things better.
I liked that this blog talked about the fact that we sometimes can’t even respond to the simplest of questions. They also mentioned, in this blog, that we can’t make decisions and I think that is the hardest thing for someone who doesn’t have anxiety to understand; my family certainly struggle with this. When I’m having an attack or have just had one my brain feels completely friend and one time I didn’t even know where I was; I just focussed on that one person beside me and their presence. I think you need to know this, that our brains can just feel fried, don’t put pressure on us by asking us too many questions, if we’re not talking make choices for us BUT tell us the choices you’re going to make. TALK US THROUGH IT! The idea that someone is doing something but you have no idea what they’re doing or going to do to you is seriously so stressing and it does not help when you’re body and mind are trying to reorganise and calm itself down from these attacks.
Right now I’m struggling, there is a lot of change happening in my life and will be within the next year which (to someone who is constantly trying to plan the future) is absolutely terrifying! It’s triggering me a lot and my university isn’t helping too much with the disorganisation but the biggest lesson here is that it’s life. From what I’ve learnt from both placement, work and university, life does not go to plan and it doesn’t matter how many steps you write out be prepared for something to jump out at you. It is a lesson i’m taking hard and it is seriously making life difficult at the moment.
My partner is helping me immensely, my family too as well as my friends, although some of them struggle to understand it they’re learning from my and they’re doing their best to make it less of a problem for me. I read somewhere that in relationships it can be difficult for people who have anxiety just for the basic stuff like conversations, jokes, conversations about the past. In this bit of writing it told me to write down questions I want to ask them; things that I want to know. In the blog it said to then follow my questions I’ve wrote down and ask the partner in the best situations, make it calm and make it clear from the beginning this is just to calm and fears or misunderstandings we might have. It’s basically just to make it clear to us that we’re not completely f*cking up the relationship. I thought this was such a silly idea when reading it, like why? What’s the point? But when I got a notepad and pen and started writing it made so much sense, for someone who writes, it made things much clearer in my head and it showed it clearly what I was struggling with in our relationship. It’s not a bad relationship, far from it, it’s more the pressures I have put on myself and ones that I have to confirm with myself (more than anything) of where we are and that I don’t have to put all this pressure on myself.
Writing down how you feel can help you feel better about things. I have found it difficult sometimes, especially when I am at my most anxious points in the day because I’m too wired up to find my thoughts. There have been days where I’ve just doodled, put down scribbles on how I feel at the time. I do my best to make time and to write down how I’ve been feeling that day, if there are good points, possibly bad ones and who the people in that day have been.
Tip: Try to not focus on the bad stuff, try to list 5 positive things and if you must 2 bad things. Don’t dwell on the two things because it doesn’t help. It’s taken me years to learn that and sometimes I still have to teach myself it.
In the end, anxiety will never go away, it’s something to do with our bodies and the science-y stuff behind it. We have to prepare ourselves and help others around us for when we do have our lows; let the people we know around them that we love them and keep ourselves in good spirits. Speak to someone, a professional, write down your feelings, take medication if it helps you. No one will judge you and if they do, get them our of your life because they’re not going to help you out (easier written than done I understand). Focus on the positive and do your best; you are doing amazingly don’t let it get you down.
Tomorrow is another day.
“Everyday isn’t always a good day, but there is always good in everyday”