Let me begin by clarifying that this picture has nothing to do with anxiety. I just think my eyebrows are funny in it and I could begin with a lighthearted poke at myself. Also if anxiety had a face this could probably be it.
Recently I posted a Facebook status asking if any of my friends had ever suffered or do suffer with anxiety. And the response was frightening.
Enter supply and demand.
People who give away books or sell products that claim to cure anxiety make me really angry. Like the kind of angry where I would go off my food and not be able to eat a meal angry and for me, that’s angry!
There is no cure for anxiety. Just like there is no magic cure to take when you fall in love with someone you aren’t supposed to or you’re more sensitive than your next door neighbour or you feel sick to your stomach at the thought of a blood test.
It is a part of you. Forever.
And I know this because I am an anxious person and have spent the best part of 15 years going through the motions of realising this feeling doesn’t mean i’m weird, it is ok to admit I have it and then the rest of the time spent learning how I can manage it.
MANAGE IT. Not cure it.
Let me put something to you. So you decide one day to put a few new processes into action; you start eating more of the whole foods, ditch the junk, exercise each day, steer clear of every single person who brings you down and get adequate sleep in the perfectly set out bedroom that has the anxiety curing temperature.
And it’s life changing – you feel amazing!!!
You’re going about your life for many months, perhaps even years thinking “Why didn’t I just do this sooner?”
Until one day you start to feel that electric charge whooshing through your body at one hundred miles an hour, that familiar heaviness weighing down your head and that tinge of sadness from deep within that can make the brightest of days seem dark.
You’re still eating well, exercising, avoiding shit heads and sleeping by the book. “I’m doing everything i’m supposed to be doing so why is this happening to me?????????”
And there, right there! That exact moment you find yourself thrust back into a pit of anxiety, over analysing everything you’ve been or not been doing, a billion thoughts bouncing around in that head of yours and a heart rate the speed of a drug lord (i’m assuming they’d have a fast one?).
And on top of all of that there’s the one resounding thought that keeps slapping you in the face and making you feel like absolute shit.
I’ve failed. Anxiety is back again.
Anxiety isn’t back again, anxiety never left you! It never does. I go through large chunks of time without that overpowering self doubt and worry niggling away in my gut, so much so I question whether it was ever there in the first place. Maybe I just get it confused with having a bad day like any other person would have?
But then I have a regular bad day where it seems as though every customer wants a piece at work or my sandwich was a little dry and I’m reminded of the difference between a bad day and an anxiety riddled day. And I know which one I prefer.
People who claim to have the method to cure your anxiety are lying.
Does healthy eating, daily exercise, self love, meditation and quality sleep help to manage it? Yes. Do I think the entire population can benefit from doing all of these when it comes to any one single mental health issue? Double yes. Do I think that by doing all of these things I can kiss a sweet goodbye to ever feeling anxious again or crying out of sheer frustration for no fricking reason other than for a random day I feel like my life is a huge mess and uh newsflash, it really isn’t and then the next day i’m over it and doing pilates?
And i’m ok with that because when that odd day does come I don’t fall into a quivering mess thinking i’ve failed at curing myself of anxiety because i’ve made my peace with the fact it is a part of me. For better or worse that little bitch is here to stay.
I won’t ever cure my anxiety; I will manage my anxiety.