Overcoming Anxiety: Reflection and what´s next

So perhaps time for an update, after two short bursts of writing here, I want to decide what I´m doing, on here and in life.

This past two months have been difficult, but I feel, that finally I´m at a turning point. I´ve taken the time I need to recover, to reflect, to move forward.
Really I could say x months, years have been difficult. But I think these two have been an important learning process.

My perception on my life, love and how I can handle mental illness has changed. How I view myself and the world around me is changing. I´m learning to accept and deal with all of it. And I´m glad. And I can´t regret it not happening sooner, because I think some of that could only come with age, experience and insight.

It would´ve been nice if I had a better grip on things sooner.
But I think the most important thing is for me to understand that things do take time.You cannot be perfect. You cannot know everything right away. And you spend your whole life learning.
Do I think I´m fully equipped to handle everything, and I know everything.
Do I think I now have the ability to at least mostly work out how to deal with everything

I remember thinking when I was 19, that I knew myself pretty well, I could see how much I´d grown in just a couple of years. I knew how I would react to situations. What I could deal with, and what I couldn´t. What I liked and what I didn´t.
And of course my understanding of myself had improved and I had matured over that time.
But I can also look back now, for the past 7 years, to when I was 19, and I can see that there were things I needed to learn, ways I needed to mature, there were things I didn´t understand.
And I would argue a surprising amount of that has only happened in the past year, even in just the past 6 months.
Now that I´ve actually taken the time to reflect.
And given my therapist told me a brain doesn´t mature until it´s 25, it kinda makes sense.

Don´t get me wrong, I think, alongside the time I was 19, this was one of the worst periods for mental illness I´ve had. Probably the worst, given it was for such a prolonged period of time, and that it was so intense for a long time.
It was so bad I wouldn´t go outside
I forgot how to speak to people
I believed I was a bad person
I believed things were my fault
Both in my actions and due to my mental illness
And I believed I´d lost something unique, I believed I´d lost the only person who understood me
But he really didn´t
And it´s understanding now that nice as it was at some points, hard as we tried, there were obstacles which, especially at that age, we weren´t able to overcome.
I now know that, though I loved him, even if I met him for the first time, I wouldn´t now
He is not someone I can say that I would see a relationship with, long or short

Some of it seems like stuff I should´ve known years ago.
But the truth is sometimes you just have to experience something to learn from something.
You have to want to believe or not believe something is the case
And sometimes you have to seek out the counter-points to the very things in your head
And that has been most important in the past 2-6 months
Looking for ways to understand that things are okay
In myself, and in the world around me
And realising the pressure you put on yourself or you imagine is on yourself is just that, imaginary. That this insane standard you may perceive from films, books and TV is imaginary, and isn´t human.
That the people who seem so intelligent, or beautiful, and so on, they´re human too.

I looked at other people, to understand what I was doing, how I interacted with others was normal, to see how other relationships worked.
I needed to understand that things were okay, and I could do that by looking at others and seeing that they were okay. I could stop catastrophising so much, because I could see that other people were okay, therefore I could be okay too.
It takes time, I´m still working on it, I still definitely have social anxiety, I am still shy – but I´m working on it, and I can see that I´m getting there. I am becoming more comfortable with the fact I´m quiet, I´m becoming more comfortable with speaking.
And I know I am lucky because I have realised I have plenty of people who care about me, even if I am quiet. We don´t have to talk on a regular basis, but these are friends I´ve made for life.
It´s taken conscious effort to focus on what I am and what I have, as opposed to what I´m not and what I don´t have
It´s taken conscious effort to override all the negative words, especially from the last relationship. To override all the imagined negative someone might think about you

Most of all I needed to take the time to do this
I felt a great deal of pressure to be okay
I felt a great deal of pressure to stay at a job I was no longer happy at
I felt I needed to be ´adult´
I felt other people had it worse, so I should be okay.
When being ´adult´ was understanding that I wasn´t okay
It was affecting my life, my work, everything.
Yes, you should deal with problems, but you shouldn´t destroy yourself in the process.
And there are things I could perhaps handle, that others can´t handle so well
We have different strengths and abilities, and it´s our job to use ours, and work out how to understand what we consider to be ´flaws´or ´weaknesses´
Most importantly I needed to work out how to deal with it myself, noone can fix things for you, though they can support you and be there for you. But you have to consciously work to overcome that
And it takes time and, often effort, to understand that
It takes time and effort to overcome those things

I am lucky that I had the means to do so, not that I always did.
But I could afford to take time off for my health, whilst not receiving income.
There are plenty of people who must work in order to survive
There are plenty of people who have no savings, support, or health plan which allows them to take the time required
They don´t have time to think of themselves, because they have to think of so many other things

I now understand that if I´m not happy about something in myself, look for ways to change that
And I have found that in writing, it is something I would like to do more, within a job, be it in my degree subject, or otherwise
I would like to consciously look at things I´m not happy or okay with, and try and overcome the anxiety and fear associated with it. I´d like to write about that. I´d like other people to see that they can do it too
I´d like to go places and write about that. I´d like to overcome the fear I sometimes feel in travelling or exploring alone, and overcome the fear I feel that something I write won´t be good enough
I´d like to look at contemporary issues, like access to health care. Issues within society and politics and so on and write about that. because those things interest and matter to me.
Maybe that will be my first point of call, to look at access to mental health around the world, across class, culture, gender and so on

I can start with that topic, and I can start by trying to tackle gradually what overwhelms me with anxiety. But I now know I can overcome these things, it takes time, and effort, but it´s worth it.


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