Orginally posted on Facebook on the 21st of December, but I decided I’d copy it here so that any of my future anxiety-related blog posts have some extra context! So here it is –
So… I’m writing this overly detailed and probably rambling piece, because I’ve realised that some of it needed to be said publicly if I’m ever going to improve. Some, if not most, of you know that I’ve been struggling with anxiety for a while now. I don’t talk about it much, because frankly I find it hard to describe or explain. It’s just always *there*. I tend to try and ignore it as much as possible, I guess hoping it will simply go away, but something that happened recently has made me realise I need to push myself every day if I ever want to make any real progress.
The reason I don’t see many of you very often is because usually it’s very hard for me to even leave the house, especially for long journeys. Even when I manage the trip, to Bristol or wherever, I will often end up with the horrible feeling of… well that’s the thing, I can’t really describe it. I know it’s hard to believe, considering this is all “in my head”, but I commonly get a pick’n’mix of real physical symptoms conjured up by my misbehaving mind. Feeling so hot I can feel myself getting dizzy and faint, headaches, goosebumps, “zaps”, stomach tying itself in knots, and a variety of other harder to describe feelings and symptoms that generally make my attempts to be social an unpleasant experience. And while, with normal symptoms, it’s often possible to ignore or overcome them (as your brain is designed to allow you to function through pain or illness), this often doesn’t work for anxiety as it is the brain that is causing the problem.
It’s like fighting fire with fire. You’re often left with more fire.
I need to get over it though. I want to. Desperately. So I thought it might make things easier for me if I knew everyone understood. If I don’t make it to a special event, it’s not because I am lazy or I don’t care. It’s because I’m having a particularly difficult day, probably caused by a sleepless and anxious night, caused in turn by how much I actually want to go out the next day without feeling awful. A vicious cycle, I know. So if I actually make it to an event, or if I drive out to visit you, I hope you realise that it’s because I’ve really wanted to be there. And if I end up not staying for very long, it’s not because I’m bored or I don’t care… I simply needed to leave.
A lot of you will read this and immediately pick out a few events this year where I have done these things, and nod to yourselves in vague understanding. This letter is dedicated in particular to someone I know I disappointed this week. Someone I truly care about, and who is very important to me, though I know it didn’t seem that way when I turned an evening plan into a fleeting visit.
So to all of you, I begin my 2017 resolution slightly early. This year I will be pushing myself to try every option I have to beat this thing. There are people and places I want to be able to visit. And I’ll probably keep updating my progress on here too, if only because my attempts to explain things to other people may help me to understand it better myself.
Ok I think I’m done. To anyone who read this far… don’t you have better things to be doing? Go on, nothing to see here.