A post about anxiety wasn’t on my to-do list, as I really don’t want it to rule my life, and for this to become a whole blog about anxiety. However, it is a part of my day-to-day life and I might as well talk about it on here because I think it might help to a) get my feelings out on ..paper? screen? and b) be honest with everyone about how I am.
Anxiety has been a black cloud hanging over my head for as long as I can remember. Some days it’s equivalent to when the sky starts off cloudy and you think it’s going to be really grim but it ends up being quite sunny, and some days are proper storm Doris. Most recently, I’ve been in a proper Day After Tomorrow-style storm.
Something that walks hand in hand with my anxiety is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and when one flares up, the other is never too far behind. And before anyone scoffs, it’s not all about cleaning. A big part of OCD, for me anyway, is intrusive thoughts. I don’t really want to go into what my intrusive thoughts are about, but a general example of one is: you’re driving along in a car and you have the sudden thought of “I could crash the car right now.” Whereas someone without OCD would think “well, that was a weird thought. Hey ho, off we go.” I would think “oh my god why would I think that? What would I do that for? Am I safe to be on the road? Am I a murderer? Oh my god.” PS. I don’t drive. Not surprising really.
I’ve suffered with these two lovely ailments for, basically, my whole life. It was only after Elliot was born and I had CBT sessions for my post-natal depression, that I realised that not everyone feels this way. To stay up until 2am worrying that the fridge is open, or the gas is on even though you’ve been to check them fifteen times isn’t really on average Joe’s to-do list. To be frozen on your bed, crying for three hours because you think you’ve upset someone may not be a realistic reaction to a confrontation.
I was honestly sat there staring at my counsellor with an open mouth because I was so shocked that how I feel isn’t normal. I was so certain I worried a regular amount, I just couldn’t handle normal worrying and that the problem was that I was weak and couldn’t handle regular life. CBT was a complete life-saver with regards to changing the way I address my thoughts but some things are going to be a constant fight, I think. But I can do it, I’m doing it now!
This is only a bit of a rambly introduction into anxiety rather than a deep dive into the inner workings in my brain because I am not a psychology genius and I’m just telling you how I feel, really. In the future, when I’m not down the anxiety hole I will talk more about tips to deal with anxiety and obsessive thoughts (although remember I am not a professional and all I’m chatting is what works for myself) and more about mental health if that’s what the world wants.