Overcoming Anxiety: Intro/Week 1

Perhaps a month and a day late, it´s February 2nd, not January 1st.
But as one of our teachers, albeit not a favourite, told our undoubtedly bored faces at school…resolutions aren´t just for January 1st, they can be for any time.
This was naturally directed at our work ethic, which I admittedly lack on occasion.
Leaving things until the last minute, which worked fine at school, but does not always run so well in life. And even at University, I believe it held me back

Although, if I´m fair to myself, it often wasn´t for lack of trying
At University, I often sat with work in front of me, but somehow I would spend time watching youtube or solving puzzles and playing card games instead
The reality was, I found it overwhelming, it was very easy to procrastinate, and get an instant feeling of succeeding, than dealing with the task laying in front of me
We´re probably all guilty of that to some extent or other.

It meant I felt overwhelmed by the work in front of me, but guilty at the prospect of doing anything fun, such as socialising with friends.
I´d look at how much time had passed sitting in front of my laptop and feel a sinking feeling.
Just 5 more minutes, my head worked by setting a time, usually a multiple of 15, in which to start work.
I missed it?
Oh, I will start at the next quarter hour then…
and so on

It´s probably better to just get into the habit of doing it *now*
Of coming up with a decisive plan on how to tackle something

Truthfully, I still find the prospect of writing an essay or application overwhelming
It also, due to social anxiety increasing, extends to sending important emails
Right now I am putting off confirming at interview, but yesterday I did hand in my resignation because I knew it had to be done that day
And as days pass, the worry passes to it having being several days and it looking bad
The feeling that by replying it draws attention to the fact you´ve not done something.
Really, no matter how late, it´s just better to deal with it
Unless of course it is something ultimately meaningless
Like a one word email, which simply acknowledges something unimportant
Which the receiver will see, shrug, and move on
I struggle with that a little sometimes, understanding what *is* important, and what isn´t
I also feel guilt, as I used to be the person who always responded to friends, I think where I came unstuck was the prospect of talking about my life, when to me it felt like too much to cope with, but simultaneously felt like it wasn´t enough

Really these are two separate things which I´d like to overcome.
But both are fairly important
In reality, I have a bunch of different things I´d like to overcome
But I have to prioritse
If I take on everything then I will, naturally, find it overwhelming and almost undoubtedly stop, and have issues starting again

I could set a target of starting a new thing a week, but each issue varies, and almost certainly, even if I do write weekly. Certain things will become a part 1, 2, 3 etc.
It´s sometimes having the self-awareness to know your limits, but push them a bit further, slowly but surely
Until your limits are so far from where they were, it´s just a speck in the distance

I do know I´m in a stronger position than I was
I doubt I could´ve tried such a thing before
I didn´t have the confidence and strength to do so
The things I did to push my limits were smaller, and less frequent
They were experiences more than anything
Whereas these will often be everyday things which ideally better my life, and my enjoyment of it

I´ve had a bit of a head start
I´ve spent several months overcoming negative thoughts, learning to counter them, and see the positive in myself and the world
I taught myself to rationalise because anxiety was taking over my life too much
It got to a point where I had enough
And I knew I had to take control, because I was the only one who could fix that
Talking, though therapeutic, had its limits
And ultimately, I couldn´t speak to someone for hours every time
I know people with worse problems, than I
I could see how it impacted people I cared about
And ultimately it takes a conscious decision
To change yourself in any way, it takes a conscious decision
To hear what someone is saying, it takes a conscious decision
It takes conscious decisions, and it takes time, and perseverence

In the case of my boyfriend, it took suspending my doubts and fears, because it hurt him, it was too hard. And ultimately a lot of my fears came from previous relationships
It came from fears about stability, fears of getting hurt, fears of being too much for him
It´s not that he, or anyone else,  didn´t want to help, it´s that they couldn´t
Ultimately I had to overcome them
And I did that specifically by looking at other people, their friendships, relationships, the frequency and way people interacted
To show myself firstly that I was normal, and that how I felt and interacted with people was normal
Though anxiety makes you feel like that´s not the case

It´s not that I didn´t talk to my friends, family and boyfriend, I talked, and I had support
But I had to change how I thought about things
I had to teach myself to recognise that things were okay, that I was capable, that there was no pressure
That things were not how I feared they were in my head
I had to train myself to look at the positives, to rationalise, and to look at the world around me
It took multiple conscious decisions, and it did involve multiple times when it was too hard for me.
But it is paying off

And now that I´ve got this far, I feel able to attempt to tackle other things which bother me
So this week I will focus on trying to respond to people that day
Be it important messages or my friends or family
And, to a limited extent, I will try and find a way to just sit down and do one productive per day to get to where I want to be.
Today I´ve written quite a number of words, so hopefully that´s a good start 🙂

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