anxiety analysis

Firstly, I can't get this song out of my head since being at A&E. I'd forgotten how much I like it, though it's not entirely appropriate to be singing it to myself after the horrible experience I had, but hey, the mind deals with things in peculiar ways.

Secondly, after the shock of my life, I have been reading about all sorts of anxiety issues: anxiety disorders, anticipatory anxiety (which my dad believes caused the attack) and about panic attacks and what I can do to try and make sure it doesn't happen again.

Although the most important aspect of the recovery process is understanding why things got as bad as they did, that is something I still haven't worked out. Admittedly, a lot of changes have taken place over the last year, but most of them I felt had been at least somewhat resolved. My silly brain seems to have been keeping everything hidden away in secret, when what I really need to do is get it all out and deal with it.

So, without further ado, stuff that I need to get out of my system as it is stressing me out, on some level:
  • my job: is OK, but it's not what I want to be doing with my life - I feel I am letting myself down by not following my dreams and ambitions of being an illustrator/artist/anything creative, but I also feel that it would be irresponsible of me to resign from a job in an unsteady economic climate where a lot of people are unable to find jobs but I am fortunate to have one. Though similarly, my job could go to someone who really needs a job, which would be a good thing, but would also mean that I would be solely responsible for my earnings (scary), and would be working waaaaaaay longer days than I do at the moment, plus being an artist isn't the kind of job where you can earn much, and even if you can, it's not the same as having a steady paycheck every month.
  • my relationship: is complicated.
  • my friends: are a bit of a weird one at the moment. I have felt more and more distant from them in the last few months, partly because I go through stages of being sociable and then times when I just need to be on my own, and partly because I feel I let them down with all my rubbish being ill and inability to do anything or go anywhere fun because "my shoulders hurt" or "I'm just really tired" or whatever. I need to make more of an effort to see them, but at the same time, I feel as though they are just getting on with things and leaving me behind. I don't get invited to things, because I'll no doubt be ill, and it hurts so much that they aren't being patient or supportive. I feel abandoned by the majority of them.
  • my social life: is pretty much non-existent, though in some ways that's good as it means I have a lot of time by myself, but it's also bad because it means I have a lot of time by myself.
  • my house: is awesome, but I don't feel as though I am using it to it's potential - I have a wonderful studio, which I can never find time to tidy up, which stresses me out when I want to create something because it means I first have to deal with the mess and then just never bother getting round to the creative stuff because I don't want to have to deal with it.
  • my creativity: is being neglected because my studio is in such a state, and though the ideas are still coming, none of them are ever actually realised, which makes me feel guilty.
  • my family: are awesome, but they live so far away and I miss them so much. I desperately wanted a hug from my mum and dad when I couldn't breathe the other night.
  • my kitten: is perfect, but I worry about her when I'm at work all day and she's on her own - what if she goes behind the bed and can't get out, or what if she's climbing and something falls on her, or what if there's a fire in the building? The list goes on.
  • my body: is constantly in pain, and the more I worry about my shoulders hurting, the more tense they get and the more they hurt, which then spreads down my arms and down into my back and makes me feel worse, which then means I have to take time off work, which then makes me feel guilty for taking time off work.
  • my sleeping pattern: is all over the place, and has been for about 10 months, some nights I get no sleep at all, sometimes my brain's working overtime, sometimes I'm stressing about the day I've just had, sometimes I'm worrying about my business. I worry about everything. I also suffer from anxiety dreams, and often wake up in a panicky sweat.
  • my eating habits: are getting much better, though I am still not drinking enough water or eating enough vegetables. I'm working on it.
  • my fitness level: is not what it should be for a twenty-something year old. I'm still young, I should be able to run around the place and have the energy to get up and do stuff, but I don't.
  • my projects: aren't being realised as I keep having to put things off when I feel crappy or unmotivated, which means I am also letting down the people who have asked me to do stuff for them.
  • my "self": I feel as though I'm not fully me, I'm always tired and feel so horribly ill a lot of the time recently. I used to be the bubbly one, the cheeky one, the fun one, but I just feel as though I'm not really a real person any more. I can never relax properly and let myself just be, I always need to be doing something from my never-ending to-do list, otherwise I feel I'm letting myself or others down.

I'm sure there are other things as well, but I think that's plenty to be getting on with. Now I can see what it is that is stressing me out, and now it's out in the open, hopefully it should help me get over it.

The first thing I noticed when re-reading the stuff I wrote up there was the amount of times I wrote that I felt guilty or that I'm letting people down. Guilt is one of the worst feelings ever, but I'm pretty sure all that stuff I feel guilty about is actually rubbish and not worth feeling guilty about: I shouldn't feel guilty when I'm in pain and can't do something social because of it, that will no doubt just prolong the pain, by adding guilt to the mix. I think the most important thing I can do is realise that other people probably don't see it the way I do, perhaps they are disappointed when I can't do something, but I doubt they really give it much thought, and nor should I. It is what it is.

I also have to deal with this problem of not being able to relax so that even if I do feel as though I'm letting people down, I'll have a way of dealing with it before it reaches panic levels.

I'm thinking of trying out meditation or yoga or something similar, which should help the muscle pain as well as helping me psychologically deal with the anxiety stuff.

I started a journal in January, and although it's not a proper "dear diary" type thing, it helps me document how I have been feeling on a daily basis and what I have been up to, plus any creative ideas I have. In a way it's not so great in that it's like another to-do list of all the ideas I haven't yet completed (there goes the guilt again), but I think overall it is far more positive than negative, as it gives me something to focus on, even if it is only for a few minutes a day.

How do you combat anxiety/stress?

8 hellos:

PhilH said...


I only just read about your trip to A&E. Hope you'll be okay.

I'm always in awe of your ability to create lots of cool stuff and organise people to come round to your flat.

I'm absolutely rubbish at that, I don't get on with stuff that needs doing and I don't prioritise fun projects that don't really need doing so I rarely finish *anything*. I get really easily distracted and then I don't get out and see people because I still have too much to do.

A *positive* journal is good. I started one in my NQT year when it was all getting on top of me - I didn't keep it up for all that long, but it definitely helped.

See you Saturday for proper hugs. Oh, I keep forgetting to say we're planning on probably bringing some Bulgarian bean-based something. xxx

Claire said...

I'm so glad you wrote this, sweetie. And I'm so glad we can just hang out - if ever you fancy lowkey tea or monopoly or just vegging out, just let me know.

I also wanted to say, am I seeing you this week to retrieve the bra? Wow, that sounds *much* filthier than it actually is. If so, would you (avec ou sans James) like to pop over for a light tea of pasta and veggies?

And like Phil, I am so in awe of your ability to finish things. You have mad skillz, ladyloo.


Vixie said...

Thanks Phil, you're lovely. The journal thing is going OK, and I think it really is helping, so I've just gotta keep it up! Can't wait for Bulgarian nyoms!

Thanks Clairey, you're awesome. I haven't actually started the bra yet, though I have had lots of ideas for it! I'll be staying in to watch the Eurovision semi-final on Tuesday, so I'll try and get a lot of it done then, and maybe see you on Thursday? Or do you need it before then?

Claire said...

Thursday would be absolutely perfect. Would you like to cover for pasta and scrabble and tea?


Siobhan said...

Um, I just found I could comment and want to let you know I feel a lot of that sometimes. Particularly the weird thing where you feel completely out of the loop when you need it most.

I am still keen to meet for tea and cake. Genuinely just need to find a time we are both free. xx

Vixie said...

It's nice to know it's not just me! It'd be good to catch up. Half term is in a couple of weeks, we could do something then?

Siobhan said...

Yes , please (if that was to me if not that is also fine).

Could ti be evening-y if it was as we get no reading week in Summer term, the payoff being it is only 8 weeks long!

Vixie said...

Yeah, I imagine so - the week after next is half term for me, so I can meet you somewhere or come dahn saf london if you would prefer?

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