Here’s the thing about anxiety and depression. What isn’t written in the pamphlets, what the doctors and counsellors don’t tell you. But, what for me, affects me the most. Today anyway. (I’m also very aware that everyone’s experience of anxiety is different) It’s that suffering from anxiety makes you flaky. At least that how it feels you’re being. Here’s how it goes... You have a pretty good day. Feel like you’re almost human. So you make plans. Going to a friend’s birthday event, going on a day trip, Even just going on a walk with friends that you haven’t seen enough of lately. Then, you start to feel anxious about it. “Will I be ok? I hope I don’t have a panic attack while I’m out. Do they think I’m mental?” This specific anxiety just adds to the underlying general anxiety that’s there all the time anyway, and reaches a crescendo of panic that sets you back to not leaving the house at all, cancelling plans at the last-minute. See? Flaky.
The thing is, what your brain doesn’t tell you, is that the sneaky grey matter living in your skull is making it all up. Including the physical manifestations of anxiety. But, convincing yourself of this is about as easy as juggling 5 fire torches while balancing on a ball that’s sitting on top of a galloping elephant. For example: I have come to a decision about my job. I’m quitting. Got myself a place at a local university studying English and Journalism. I’m waaaaay excited about this. It all happened pretty quickly, and, as I’m far older that the typical fresher (I’m 32), my entry was assessed on an essay that they asked me to write. Which they liked! But. I had a lot to do this week to sort stuff out. I planned to have a busy day Friday. Hand my notice in at work (I’m still signed off sick), go to the job centre to see what help i could get from the department for work and pensions, apply for my student finance, then go into uni to complete my registration. Only my brain and body had other ideas. I woke with stomach cramps and a highly unpleasant trip to the bathroom (TMI, sorry). By Saturday afternoon I was feeling a bit better, better enough to arrange to join in on a countryside walk the following day anyway. Sunday morning: Yep, you guessed it, the thought of being out and about returned my stomach to a state of washing machine style somersaults. Walk: cancelled. Friends: let down. Weekend: scuppered. Me: feeling guilty/ a bit pathetic/ more anxiety.
The point is, I know It’s an illness, and just because i can’t see my anxiety doesn’t make it any less real. Which makes my ‘flakiness’ a symptom, like a runny nose with a cold, or a rash with an allergic reaction. It’s a response to my illness. My brain just doesn’t want me to know that.
This morning, i came across this. It helped. Have a look…