One of the reasons I’ve been writing this blog is because anxiety isn’t uncommon, and I hope that just every so often I write something that makes you think yea – me too. Some of the things I’m going to write about in this post I’ve known my whole life, but others have been a little more difficult to come to terms with. I hope that it gives you a little more insight into my anxiety. Quick warning: this is going to be quite a long post, I do quite like to babble.
So here we go, 10 confessions from an anxious mind:
There are two main fears that contribute to my anxiety and they just so happen to completely contradict. I have a fear of things going wrong (things beyond my control) so I try to take control of them. But then, I have a fear of getting those things wrong, which makes me doubt myself, and I’m right back to the fear of things going wrong. The self doubt is going to take a bit of work, but I’m seriously working on not feeling responsible for everything and reminding myself that things do go wrong – that’s just life.
The self doubt means that I really am my own worst critic. And sometimes I can be quite mean – I don’t tend to give myself the benefit of the doubt that I would give to anyone else. This is where my perfectionism kicks in, sometimes I really feel like why bother doing anything if it can’t be spot on? And guess what…IT’S SO COUNTER PRODUCTIVE. I’m never going to get anything done because 99% of the time things won’t be perfect, and I’m starting to learn that that’s okay.
These are the what ifs. They are dangerous, they lead to me catastrophising (I’ve mentioned this word before, isn’t it a great word?) and they lead to me over analysing everything. Turns out, I don’t always have to be as prepared all the time, sometimes it’s not even my job to be prepared. Being prepared is great, but being scared of being unprepared (to this extent) is silly.
Sometimes, I get anxious about the most ridiculous things (and I do mean ridiculous). I know it’s stupid, you don’t need to tell me, but in that moment it’s the most important thing in the world. All I can do is to understand that in the scale of things, it’s probably not that important. I can calm myself down, and just let the anxiety pass. I know that I’ll feel different when it’s over.
If something makes me really anxious, in that moment it consumes me. You can have a solid, logical proof that we will be there on time – if I’m convinced that we’re going to be late, there’s no shaking that feeling. I WANT TO STOP. I WANT TO NOT CARE SO MUCH. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. If only thinking, you now what, everything will turn out okay was enough. But it’s not, which is why I’m trying so hard to stop the worrying from ruining my life.
Sometimes, there isn’t even a reason for my anxiety. Unfortunately for me, that doesn’t quite sit right with my wonky brain – there has to be a reason for feeling this way. This is when I make up problems where there aren’t any, which doesn’t make a happy Ellen. I can convince myself that the the world is ending just because my body says something is wrong – there doesn’t have to be anything wrong. Just ride it out.
As we’ve already established, not much can stop be worrying and feeling anxious once I get myself into that frame of mind. Telling me it’ll all be fine doesn’t help – I know deep down that you’re right but the anxiety keeps on taking over. But it does tell me that you care, and that you want me to be fine, and that’s really comforting.
Even if I look like there’s nothing going on up there, chances are there’s actually a million different things going through my mind at any one time. I’m probably looking a little vacant because I’m struggling to work out where to start. My mind is like one gaint to do list that is constantly being added to and constantly needs prioritising.
It is perfectly possibly to be a raging extrovert and still suffer from problems with anxiety. I am living proof. I’m outgoing, I don’t often get nervous in big meetings or interviews and yet I still spend my life living in worry. I love to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself on a daily basis, but my mind betrays me by making the way I want to live my life intolerable.
I’m not going to try to tell you that these confessions are in any way representative of every person suffering from anxiety, but they are representative of me (and I’m sure plenty of other people too). It’s important to remember that it’s these realisations that have pushed me to get some help as well as trying to work through these insecurities on my own (of course, with the help of my wonderful friends & family).
I also didn’t realise all this at once, it’s taken most of my life and a good few therapy sessions to even come close to understand what’s going on in my fuzzy, jumbled head.
Until next time,