My anxious mind, the battle is real.

Some insight in to the mind of an anxious mind

I realise I spend a lot of time talking about my experiences of having anxiety, my recovery attempts and my setbacks. But they are mainly just headlines, it’s difficult to give real insight in to what those headlines actually mean.

So, in line with the blog name, I am publishing my actual ramblings to give some insight in to what living with anxiety really means to me. This is hand on heart genuinely what was going through my mind in the 30 minutes that the repair man was at my house. I am choosing to view it in a humorous way as it does seem utterly ridiculous, but it could easily be seen as totally crazy. But this is truly what my mind does in seemingly normal situations. Enjoy…

First some context: Imagine the scene, it a Friday morning and I have a fridge repair man in my house. It was a planned visit in terms of knowing he was coming today but no idea what time that would be. When he arrives, I am in the middle of cooking soup, straightening up the house and listening to a “90’s acoustic” playlist on spotify.

Anxious mind: oh god I should have cleaned the fridge out (as the guy hands me a fridge shelf with a dirty mark on it). That’s it, he’s going to think I am some kind of rancid undomesticated useless waste of space. Why didn’t I clean the fridge? I’m an idiot.

Rational mind: you are being ridiculous, it was one dirty mark and I doubt he even noticed. He will have seen far worse. Besides the rest of the house seems clean and tidy as long as he doesn’t look too close 😛

Anxious mind makes this better by cleaning the shelf in front of him, to prove that I do know how to do it!!

Anxious mind: (as the guy takes stuff off the top of the fridge) sh*t sh*t sh*t I definitely haven’t cleaned up there and now he is going to know we make dust and put me forward for how clean is your house (that’s not even still going but I do remember very vividly how disgusting some houses were). He wont understand why there is a cushion up there (it’s the cats bed – she sleeps up there to keep safe from the dog)!! He’ll think I am completely weird. And why did I decide to cook lentils now!! he probably thinks it stinks, he will think I stink!!

Rational mind: everyone has stuff stashed away in places and everyone probably has dust on the top of their fridge and he probably is wondering why you have a cushion up there but I doubt he’s that bothered. As for the lentils, it smells fine. It smells like vegetables cooking and he can see the saucepan and knows its not you.

Anxious mind:  Oh no why did I think it was a good idea to leave the music on, he probably thinks I am complete dork!! I want to turn it off, but I cant turn it off without it being obvious what I’m doing. What is this song? Oh god oh god? I am going to skip, wait I can’t do that because then he will know I am actually listening to it, I am going to skip, no don’t, I am I am (skips the song) WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!? He must think I am such an idiot. I wonder what music he likes? Do you think he has even heard the music? He might like the music! ARGH!!!

Photo courtesy of cynthiaeday.com

Rational mind: he probably hasn’t even noticed the music, it probably isn’t bothering him and you are unlikely to ever see him again so stop panicking!!

  THE PHONE RINGS AND INTERRUPTS THE MUSIC

Anxious mind: phew

Rational mind: phew

                                                                ANSWERS PHONE

Anxious mind: Oh no, now he can hear my conversation. What if he thinks I just sit around all day doing nothing but talking on the phone and obviously not cleaning. I haven’t been at work any of the times he has seen me, he must think I am really lazy. He’s probably thinking all sorts about me now!! What must he be thinking?!?! I need this to be over!! I am going crazy!

Rational mind: you are being crazy!! Of course, you haven’t been at work when he has come otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to come!! He is unlikely to have even noticed anything about the house, he is literally just here to fix the fridge. He is not from social services, he is not filming a secret documentary about slovenly mothers. He is here to fix the fridge!!! You are being crazy!

  THE GUY FINISHES THE FRIDGE AND LEAVES

Anxious mind: Thank god that’s over

Rational mind: Thank god that’s over

So, there you go, a small snippet of the crazy that is my mind. Looking at it on the page now, I can easily see why I end up exhausted after a situation like that and why I have to be more careful now about how much I try to cram in to my life. Those occurrences are more frequent than I would like to admit to and can happen at any time in any place. I am lucky in that more often than not I have the rational mind running alongside the anxious mind to counter its thought patterns. But when I am struggling it is because the rational mind is not there or it can not break through. It is at that point that the panic gets its power and literally attacks. The panic then feeds the anxious mind whilst suppressing the rational mind. The fight to rebalance then becomes that much tougher.

Photo courtesy of pinterest

Anxiety is a constant battle that we are fighting. The battle to keep the panic away and balance the anxious with the rational. I haven’t yet mastered how to fuel the rational to suppress the anxious. But I am always working towards it.

So anyway, that was an insight to my mind. A light hearted but definitely honest account of my battle. And on the plus side I think I can legitimately maintain my title – ramblings of an anxious mumma!

The start of a new year – time for reflection or just another day?

So, the bells have rung, the fireworks have gone off, the champagne has been drunk and we have changed from 2018 to 2019. As usual the world didn’t end, there were no technological epidemics at the point of midnight and the questionable political decisions of 2018 have not vanished in a puff of smoke.

Fundamentally nothing has changed!

Yet we all often fall in to the trap of feeling compelled to make changes or expecting things to be different just because we now have to end our dates with /19 and not /18.

I have fallen foul of this myself year on year, but encouraged by the many postings of Instagram I made the decision to approach this new year a bit differently.

The overall message from Instagram was that I actually didn’t need to change, there was nothing wrong with me and that was a message that started to resonate. I have real issues with myself, valuing who I am and treating myself with compassion. This has been heightened by an unfortunate incident before Christmas which I won’t go in to but did set me back a fair way.

So, the idea that I didn’t need to start thinking about all the bits of me I hated and wanted to change and instead could keep focussed on marrying who I am with who I want to be was enlightening.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that we shouldn’t acknowledge the turn of the year. I know it is basically just another day and in reality it doesn’t feel any different but it’s as good a day as any to start thinking about what you want going forward. There has to be a day one for kick starting a new approach so I think why not the first day of the year.

So this year instead of making a list of all the things I want to change about me, of which there are endless, I am instead going to focus on the things that I was doing last year and enjoyed. Things that have perhaps slipped from my attention or haven’t been prioritised as they should. Things that I value and that benefit me physically or mentally.

This list will be pretty fluid and I plan to add to it or amend it as the months go on, no one can know what the future holds so I think it is only right that there is no rigid plan.

So here are a few of the things I am planning to continue in 2019:

  • I would like to get back in to running and improve my fitness levels. Three years ago I managed to run a half marathon and whilst I didn’t really enjoy the race itself I did feel enormous satisfaction that I was able to run that distance. I had worked hard to get myself prepared for such an event and I would love to be back to that level again as I felt such a sense of accomplishment. But it is not easy starting again and finding the mental strength to push through the pain. I also need to prioritise running more and make some time for it.
  • I am going to continue with my “read more scroll less” pledge started last year when I gave up facebook and my personal Instagram account in order to make more time to read. I managed 24 books last year which was one short of my 25 target but that still mega for me as I think I averaged about 3 books a year over the previous 5 years. That’s also not including the 4 textbooks I read for my 2 exams which slowed down the reading for pleasure mission. Those textbooks definitely weren’t pleasure!
  • I am going to make a greater effort to write my blog and work really hard on getting some structure and order to my writing. I have so many ideas but I need to make the time to work on them. Otherwise, let’s be honest I am just wasting my time.
  • I am going to be more mindful of what triggers my anxiety because what 2018 taught me was that it wasn’t enough to just leave my job and expect to get better. There has been an ongoing battle with anxiety and I need to continue to work on how to make things a bit easier. I still don’t know if I will overcome anxiety, it feels very far away from achievable at the moment but I know I can take steps to make it easier to deal with and 2019 will be about fine tuning those steps.

And that is that, I think 4 things to continue is more than enough for me. I can’t cope at the best of times with being overwhelmed so there is no reason to actively do it to myself. These are all things that I have been doing in 2018 and would like to continue and improve upon. Not resolutions, not unattainable goals to fail to achieve. Just some structured thinking about what I value in my life. And obviously it goes without saying that I will continue to look after my family etc etc and I will probably on occasion still strive to be a size 6 but small steps and all.

Happy 2019 folks, may it be the best possible year it can be for all!!