We've been holding it together for weeks, but the cracks are showing.
For most people we can’t simply distract into our usual way of being over busy and always doing stuff.
That inability to sit and watch a movie without having to be on the phone or get up and move is harder to hide now.
Where we used to be able to go to a class in the evening, go to the gym and train, or work extra hours to use up the jittery anxious energy, those options are not so easy now.
Staring at a screen doesn’t cut it.
We are facing an emotional health tsunami. Not just because there’s extra stress in life right now, but more importantly we can’t ignore or deny what was always there as easily.
There is a positive there. People who have been running from their worry, fears, anxiety, overwhelm, feeling not good enough, and similar are realising there is something to improve.
It’s not ignored as much and people are stepping forward to deal with the causes rather than pushing away the symptoms.
It took me decades to reach that point. When I was anxious, I always tried to keep busy. Involved in committees to use up time, doing DIY, working at busy unnecessary work, anything to tell myself it was OK.
I would have argued I was not stressed and denied there was anything wrong, because the anxiety makes us feel so bad about admitting any problem. Yet it was slowly destroying my life. I suffered a complete collapse of my physical health before I had to pay attention.
I’d always thought anxiety was something other people got. That it was some big thing that you read about. I never realised it was what I had been living for decades.
I had always felt not good enough, that others were better, that they could do things, but I’d fail if I tried. I felt lazy and stupid. I thought I hated learning and was an introvert.
All that was the anxiety system looking to keep me safe. It analysed and over analysed every conversation, decision, and action to find if it was a danger. That’s what anxiety does. It puts our brain in gear to find what’s wrong.
Doing that, I saw every way I could fail before one way I could succeed. Every task had a feeling in the gut that told me I couldn’t finish, it wouldn’t be good enough, what bother… That all dragged me down.
I only made negative comparisons. I could notice the old school friend who was a director of a big company and feel lesser, but never notice the guy in jail and feel I had anything positive. The mind only was interested in the bad in my life. The good doesn’t point out danger so we’re not conditioned to pay attention to the positive in the same way.
When I finally went to do something about it everything
changed in about 6 months. I went from panic attacks in classrooms to delivering my own seminars. I went from unable to study to going back to college, I went from unable to sleep for hours every night to dropping off in minutes. I went form seeing the bad to finding the good and enjoying life.
But I’d never have gotten there without some event forcing me to notice the reality of my life which I’d been denying and distracting from for years. That’s the hardest part.
So, however you are experiencing this time I hope you’re making the most of whatever self-awareness it brings. I also hope you’re safe and doing well.
If you need help, I’m always happy to try and find someone who is right to help you so feel free to get in touch. I’m also helping people online and will be back for limited face to face in clinic in the next couple of weeks.
Keep holding in there and do make some steps in the right direction. Even small steps help a lot.
The treadmill of the over-busy time is stopped, don’t spent the days wishing to get back to it.
Change is easier than you think.
All the best,
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