Monday, October 10, 2016

we're all mad here.

It's something I've been meaning to write about for a long time and seeing as it's World Mental Health Day, I took it as a sign to get it done.
If you're reading this, you're probably here because the title related to you or someone you know in some way. And I hope there's some information or advice to take from my own experience that can help you or a friend.
And if you have read this post or this post, you will know that I suffer from high anxiety and that I'm not one to stay quiet about it. Anxiety is a major pain in the ass to be honest and sometimes all I want to do is bang my head off a wall to try get rid of the thoughts whirling around inside.
I've always been a worrier and I've suffered from anxiety for about ten years but it's only this year that I'm beginning to fully understand what it's all about.

For the past three or four years, I've been dealing mainly with health anxiety - I frequently have irrational thoughts, I've spent hours and hours obsessing over my own health and I could probably go on a very fancy holiday with the amount of money I've spent on visits to the doctor.
So after recommendations from both a friend and my doctor, I started CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) this year and I'm now at the stage where I have one or two more sessions left.

CBT is based all around the fact that how we think influences how we feel and how we behave. 
There's been weeks where I thought I was getting more anxious and hadn't progressed one bit and there were other weeks where I felt like I was one step closer to getting rid of my anxiety forever. One week after a session, I sat in my car and cried out of relief because I finally felt free in my mind again. This feeling didn't last too long though because unfortunately, it's a "work in progress" kinda thing.

For now, I've accepted that I live with anxiety, that I can manage it and that one day, I'll leave it behind. I'm not afraid of it anymore, I believe in it's power to exaggerate things and I've finally realised that I can take control of it with my own thoughts and actions if I give myself the chance.
The tools I have picked up from CBT have been like magic some days and other days, when those tools don't seem strong enough to beat the anxiety, I say fuck it, ride that wave and try to stay preoccupied.
Long term anxiety is something you have to work at. And it's not easy work.
It sucks. It's tiring. It's even boring sometimes.
But if you suffer from anxiety, then you are a strong person. It's something I need to tell myself a lot to help myself overcome bouts of anxiety. But writing this now, imagining that I'm talking to someone else suffering from anxiety, it just makes complete sense. You are not a weak person if you've been dealing with anxiety. Or depression for that matter.
Self belief is often linked to anxiety and it's very easy to see the relationship when anxiety can be described as overestimating the danger and underestimating your own ability to cope.
You and I are stronger than we think.

"You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are."

 Cathy x


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