You’re Not Weak

If, like me, you’re anxiety isn’t a clinical issue, and you’ve been made to feel stupid, weak, a nuisance, a burden, and other equally unsupportive things, just because you’re battling your own mind, let me tell you why that thinking is wrong whether it comes from others, or originates inside.

When I went to a GP for help he said something that I’ve never forgotten. “You think you’re weak and stupid don’t you?” I nodded into my sodden handkerchief. He said “You’re not, far from it. Every single person I’ve ever seen in the state you’re in has been strong for too long, you’ve been strong beyond endurance. People like you have come to the end of their tether, reached for more inner strength, worn out that tether, until the point where they just can’t do this anymore.”

I have never forgotten those words and nor should you. This goes back to the previous post where I said you weren’t born this way, something happened. You may know what that was, and if you do then take a moment to reflect on the fact that it was a real event that hurt you. If you don’t remember, it doesn’t mean that nothing happened, if your anxiety isn’t medically based, then something did happen.

It doesn’t matter that when you find out it sounds unimportant, it meant something to you at that time, especially if you were a child without an adult’s ability to translate meaning and add it to words. Don’t second guess your younger self. Knowledge is power, it’s a tool for change, use it! Puberty alone has a lot to answer for, so does school bullying, and even work bullying.

Here are a few questions for you to consider:

  • Do you know when it started and how?
  • What is your first recollection of anxiety, how did it manifest?
  • Does it have a particular pattern (agoraphobia, flying, travel, food, etc.)?
  • Is it there all the time, or do you have quiet moments?
  • Does something specific set it off?

That’s just a few questions to help you get to know your anxiety, in order for you to start taking your power back. Until you understand it you can’t beat it. Imagine being put in the pilot’s seat of a large jet aeroplane and being asked to safely fly 500 people to the other side of the world? You wouldn’t have a clue where to start (unless you’r a pilot, in which case think brain surgery), yet someone who knows how to fly a plane (or a brain) wouldn’t even be phased by the problem. As such, you need to become fully informed about your issues.

I hope these ideas are starting to help you feel that you can take control of your mind back.

Just never forget – you’ve been too strong for your own good for too long!

Stop Listening to Others

As I’ve hinted, and will explain when I pop my story on here, the words of others can be hurtful and damaging to someone suffering from anxiety. Either they don’t understand, or they start to struggle because they can’t help you. Either way, if you’re not feeling helped by people who don’t understand or can’t help, read on…

You know they don’t understand…I know they don’t…

But they do not. Anxiety from the outside in is a completely different experience to living it from the inside out. It has to be. Anxious people feel trapped in their own minds and bodies, but to the outside it can appear that you keep talking about the same things all the time.

I liken it to doing an escapologist act where you’re chained up and you have to undo all the padlocks or you’re going to fall into a vat of piranha fish and get eaten alive and then drown, and you’ve dropped your carefully hidden escape key! No one who isn’t an escapologist would know how to unlock the padlocks, but it would make perfect sense if all you kept saying was “where’t the key…where’s the key?!” Unless you’ve been trapped by anxiety you won’t understand the focus on the things that bother you, because those are the things that need solving! Just like the whereabouts of that key. So never ignore yourself when you moan! More about that later.

Many voices make hard work!

Much as you may be fed up with your own voice, by the same token you don’t want to invite too many different opinions into your head.

There will be people who know you well, and their words will always be helpful and supportive of you. They get you. They probably saw this happen. They might feel helpless but they’ll always work to understand. They might give you a well placed kick up the butt when you need it (my mentor certainly did), but they’re on your side and you know it. Then there are the pull yourself together brigade.

These are people who get short tempered with you, tell you to snap out of it, criticise your behaviour, and generally behave as if all your mind needs is a sticking plaster and a bit of gumption!

This might be your boss who has deadlines to meet, your children who need something of you, an exhausted partner, your parents who simply can’t cope with you being this way, anyone you meet. If their attitudes aren’t positive, if their words aren’t respectful, if they trivialise what you’re going through. Time to stop listening.

I worked through acute anxiety for 22 years – not a hero, I didn’t know what else to do, it was with me every day, all day, so I had to keep going. You know how it is. When I finally crashed because just too much happened at once, my GP gave me 2 months off, and it was the finest thing that ever happened to me. I had time to think. I wasn’t in the middle of the battle all day every day. I could sleep in. I could rest. I could recuperate. I didn’t have loads of opinions around me.

When I went back to work there was a new coffee machine that dispensed Mocha. I asked a (supercilious) manager of mine “what’s mokker?” He promptly said “mosher is a mixture of coffee and chocolate, don’t you know that?” Without even thinking I replied “have you ever seen the Oxford English Dictionary? It contains thousands of words, and I make no apology for not knowing every word in it”. He immediately apologised. The important thing is that the break, the rest, the opportunity to think and reflect, had put me back into my own personal power.

Have you ever had a break?

Written to help people like us
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A Lighthearted Blog on Anxiety?

The light of heart can do more!

This saying says it all. The lighter you feel in mind and emotion, the healthier and happier you feel, the more easily you will move forward into creating a better life on your own terms.

I don’t write or speak in dramatic language when I’m trying to help people solve problems, nor do I try to demonstrate my genius by complicating them. One thing I learned on my long journey is that the lighter you make a problem the easier it is to bear, and the simpler you make it, the easier it is to solve.

As you read this blog just remember that I’m spending my time writing this because, even though I probably don’t know you, I care about what your feeling, what you’re going through, what you’ve been through. I care enough to seek the simplest solutions, because that’s what took the burden from me and helped me to change, and offer them to you in case they’re useful.

I will try to write in amusing images so that maybe you smile the next time something happens instead of cringe. I’ll use imagery that you’re meant to remember easily, so that you don’t have to struggle to recall. I’ll use straightforward words so that they require no effort from you and reading them becomes a break from the complication.

I hope that you’ll go on to live your life that way. Simply, easily, looking for the fastest, least complex solution that you can, so that you move forward from okay, to better, to wonderful, with fewer tears and ongoing hurts. Fewer wasted years!

I write lightheartedly because – as you know – laughter and sleep are the two best medicines, and I definitely don’t want to send you to sleep!

I want to help you to feel light and untroubled enough to move forward and start really living again!

Hi and Why!

You are my why, and I’m yours. I’m writing this because there was a time that no one understood me, I had no support. In truth only people who’ve had anxiety really get it, really understand the replacement of the self with someone you never wanted to be. Only we know how much it hurts, how tiring, sad, lonely, and bewildering it is. I know the way out and I’m here to offer those ideas and techniques to you.

Take a deep breath

Okay, so you’re suffering from this difficult condition, maybe you have been for some time. It’s dragging you down, you’re probably tired, you’ve lost your sparkle, you may be verging on depression. The important thing to remember is that many people have felt as you do, and they have recovered. These people were no cleverer, no more intelligent, no more capable than you. It’s just that somehow, one way or another, they bought themselves back into balance, and changed their lives by changing their mind and attitude. I am one of those people.

I’ve put a little about me here, but the important message for you to remember is that I was not special, I was simply prepared to change in order to recover. you can too. So take a deep breath, try and relax, because I’m going to tell you how I did it, and the techniques are easy, using them will be as hard as you make it. Choose simplicity!

My life started off badly, mum and I nearly died the day I was born, and I was told 3 things when I was old enough to remember them. My father’s first words to me were, “ooh you, it’s all your fault”, my mother’s were “very nice, now take it away”, and when I was still a young child my father told me that when asked if the surgeon could only save one of us, who should he choose. My father told me he said “my wife of course!” As an adult I understand that, as a child I did not. I would probably have said “both, no choices!” Things went downhill from there until I was completely broken, a laughing stock, a hypochondriac (turns out I wasn’t, but more later), bullied, 3rd best in a family of 2 children, in a miserable marriage, miserable job, house I hated, with a fractured mind, wondering what the heck had happened to the real me!

So that’s the flavour, enjoy the rest of the posts, and here’s your first tip:

Anxiety puts you into fight and flight, breathe in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 8, and it will help you to calm down.