One of the lovely things about blogging has been that it’s given me the chance to see that there are lots of other people out there who experience the same challenges and ups-and-downs as I do. This post in particular really struck a chord with me.
I’m lucky in so far as I don’t have panic attacks. Instead, when things get too much for me, I tend to lock myself away and become isolated – which believe me does not help one bit in the long run. I’ve posted before about how I need to push myself outside my comfort zone to overcome my fears; this, sometimes overpowering, anxiety is one of the main obstacles to my achieving that.
Like so many mental health issues, anxiety is something that’s not talked about enough, and that simply isn’t understood by a lot of people. Perhaps part of that is because it’s actually really hard to explain. For example: it’s just not logical that anyone would be too scared to go into the post office and buy a stamp, but I’ve been there. And that’s the point: it’s not logical. Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows full well that it’s not logical, but that only makes it all the more challenging to cope with.
My anxiety is nothing new. It’s something that I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. But it has definitely got worse over the past year. Largely I think this is down to me not having the confidence, resilience or self-belief to challenge myself to do things because of my depression. Now that I’m beginning to feel better, I’m becoming more and more able to try new things and push myself a little bit at a time. Days out and trips to nice places are a big part of that.
The tips that Every Word You Say has given about dealing with anxiety are great. They are certainly ideas that I use to help myself. But sometimes people will ask what they can do to help me, or people like me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but what I know that I need is for people to really encourage me to take part in things and get me out and about. Even just an opportunity to go out for walk with someone, go to the cinema or for a coffee really helps.
The other thing that really springs to mind is please don’t take my word for it when I say “I’m fine,” or “I’m okay.” The chances are that I’m not really feeling fine, or okay, but that I’m too shy or nervous to tell you how I’m really feeling. Simply having someone there reminding me that it’s okay is very helpful indeed.
Oh, and on one final note for today: I’m very aware that I’ve written a lot of serious stuff of late. I’ll try to come up with something more cheerful for next week!