I can tell you one thing it isn’t- ME!
When meeting people for the first time I don’t do the polite handshake thing and introduce myself as “Hi, I’m Anxiety! Ignore this bitch Emma to my right, she rarely has anything interesting to contribute so come to me for the important stuff. And bring food!”
It’s odd to talk about myself as a split personality. Aside from the times I’m hangry and then completely out of control of my actions, I’m the one person with the one mind and the one life who makes her own decisions. Ya know, like a grown up does.
So do you know what shits me off most about being so open with this generalised anxiety that I have? That it can sometimes hog the limelight of what’s truly going on in a given situation. That there is this perception of it being my anxiety speaking out and not the adult who has had many years of learning how to manage what is actually, an inbuilt system in our body that was designed to protect us. It’s just that mine backfires a little.
It IS partly related to fight or flight – the bodily function that protected us from being eaten by a bear in the days before we had Netflix or condoms. You can get a little more of the science bit here.
It just so happens mine works in overload and I often feel on edge, like something bad might happen and I’m ready to flee at any one given moment. Lots of tummy butterflies and not a fucking bear in sight.
It’s a bit annoying to be honest but hey, it lead me down a path of health and finding a better way to manage things. Like training hard, eating real foods, surrounding myself with positive people and telling those that try to bring me down to (politely) suck a dick.
It is NOT being afraid to react to a situation for fear of people judging you based on a small part of your mental make up. Battling those internal demons of yours in the form of anxiety or depression doesn’t automatically give you the right to be an arsehole and just as equally, no one has the right to assume someone working on improving their mental health made a bad judgement call because of their “situation”. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. Maybe you’ve done something completely out of character because you decided it was about time to start living your truth! One plus one doesn’t always equal two.
It IS learning what your triggers are and creating healthy and sustainable ways of tackling them like affective open communication, honesty and a little time. This is a journey of self discovery people and every great thing takes time.
It is NOT a condition laid to rest with the popping of a pill. Yeah I said it. Think of it this way, you get a headache because you haven’t drunk enough water so you take a headache tablet and the headache is gone. Congrats! You ignored the fact you were dehydrated, ignored your bodies thirst and blocked out its clever way of letting you know it was missing something. I’m not telling you to not take medication, that isn’t my place and nor is it anyone else’s. I know some courageous individuals working hard on their own life challenges and for some that does include a little help from western medicine. What I am saying is LISTEN to what your body is trying to tell you. It wants to be heard.
It’s one small piece of someone’s puzzle and if they have the courage to share that with you, never throw it in their face. Never use it against them or believe that every life choice they make is because anxiety took the reigns and made it for them. Be better than that. Be more compassionate than that.
Learn to reach a point of saying no to people or situations that no longer serve you or potentially harm you. Not because anxiety said so but because YOU said so; the confident individual solely responsible for your health. Fake it till you make it if it’s sorta uncomfortable in the beginning, putting yourself first. It’s a choice you won’t regret because after all, our health is quite literally the most important thing we will ever be in control of so why give ourselves anything less than the absolute best???
I know what I choose.
I encourage all of you, with or without anxiety, depression, long beards, an obsession for Channing Tatum or ginger hair to do exactly the same.
You deserve it.
*Disclaimer* I’m not a psychologist, doctor or therapist. I am a girl who lives with generalised anxiety and happy to share her experiences.