Why do we all seem to have ‘anxiety’?
If you spend a lot of time within the blogging and vlogging world, you’ll probably see the term ‘anxiety’ mentioned a lot. I used to wonder why so many of us suffered, and I sort of felt embarrassed to admit that I did also… for fear of being judged by people who don’t believe me...eyes rolling thinking "Oh look here's another person on the internet with anxiety". However, through exploring my own demons and educating myself about it over the past few years, it has sort of become really obvious to me! This is just my own theory so roll with it for a moment…but I feel like writing/filming/reading blogs/watching vlogs is very much what I imagine therapy is like (I might be wrong but I’ve never seen a therapist). The reason being is because (lets face it) therapy is just not available to everyone, especially if you struggle financially. I could be wrong in saying, and please let me know if I am, but there’s very little NHS treatment for anxiety without being prescribed something.
From what I’ve read and heard, therapy is a very good thing because it allows people to actually talk! And by talking, people recognise where their problems come from and tackle them at the root instead of masking the problem with a pill (disclaimer…not against medication, just not for me). It is always a good thing to talk about your problems, which I suppose is where this post is coming from. I enjoy watching/reading about other people’s lives because I’m fascinated with what shapes everyones day-to-day lifestyle, and what makes other people happy. I also think this is a bad thing for people with anxiety because you end up measuring your own happiness and sanity against other peoples (which lets face it is sometimes fabricated), and I guess this is why so many of us sufferers are drawn to social media. When it comes to writing about the things you enjoy and the process of sharing your own thoughts- that to me is my therapy. I get enjoyment from sharing the good parts of my life because to me it’s a way of reassuring myself that it’s not all bad all the time. I find comfort in the acknowledgement that I’ve achieved something, or had a nice fun day- and when I feel down or anxious I find this memory blog and my Instagram is a good way of reminding myself that my worries are not always real and they are often in my head.
I thought I’d share a couple of the ways I suffer with anxiety, because I read something very similar to this once (I can’t remember where) and it actually really helped me! I think anxiety spreads itself across a broad spectrum of feelings and people suffer/deal with it in so many different ways. I have never been formally diagnosed with anxiety from a professional; it is just something I have learnt about myself over the span of about 13 years really. I’ve read many pieces on it whereby I don’t relate at all! I don’t suffer with panic attacks, I don’t suffer with social anxiety and I don’t suffer with any irrational phobias- and these are the things I read and hear about the most. However sometimes I do read things that hit the nail on the head, which has helped me to self diagnose over the years. So I thought I’d share, because it’s always good to share and talk about these things!
On one hand, I’m pretty good at handing over responsibility if I trust that person, because I know how much anxiety it will relieve if I do…but if I am taking responsibility for something, I irrationally over-plan. I think about the worst possible situations and have back up plans for when it will inevitably go wrong. I always worry that I haven’t remembered everything and sometimes I worry so much that I’m not in complete control of a situation that I make myself physically sick (I don’t mean I make myself sick on purpose, I mean I get so stressed that I am sick beyond my control). Examples of this include moving out for the first time and weirdly my graduation.
If someone doesn’t reply to my text or call I run through every possible reason why. Are they mad/ignoring me, are they sick, have they lost their phone, have they crashed their car, are they in hospital, have they died? I’m not joking. I’m on edge until I hear back from people. With that in mind, I think I answer texts very quickly. If I know someone has messaged me I have to reply there and then. I worry about leaving it too long in case they think all those things about me. I rarely put my phone away as I stress about not hearing it go off.
I don’t lose my inhibitions very often. Or at all really. I don’t like getting very drunk and I hate the whole concept of drugs for no other reason than fear that I won’t be able to control my actions. I HATE being around others who have lost their inhibitions because I get anxious for them, knowing they aren’t in control of themselves 100%. It makes me so uncomfortable and I really dislike that part of anxiety. I’m not spontaneous about anything in case something goes wrong. I don’t like going with the flow, even though I want nothing more than to be that cool laid back type of person. I’m just not.
I apologise too much. Even if I don’t actually say sorry, I feel it too easily. Even when things are clearly not my fault, I feel guilty. I apologise to David about something in almost every conversation because I feel like I’m worried the most about how he is feeling. Things like ‘sorry I’ve been poorly today’ or ‘sorry you bought me a gift’. This is one of my worst habits that David actually recognised in me before I did. He doesn’t do anything to make me feel like I need to apologise, he is so supportive and spends most of his days saying ‘don’t say sorry!’
I put off verrrry simple tasks. I know everyone hates life admin, but I feel there’s something illogical to how I feel. This didn’t come to light until I moved into my own house. It included things like telling the bank my new address, registering the warranty on our fridge and filing paperwork into a folder. You are probably thinking this is all pretty normal, everyone hates those things…it’s called procrastinating! But when it starts creeping into ‘fun’ things it gets worrying. Like not being able to bring yourself to pick your new sofa for 2 months, or having all these pictures to put on the wall but you can’t find it in you to do it!! It’s not that I cant be bothered, it’s just I start convincing myself that these are overwhelmingly difficult tasks and I push them to the back of my mind and pretend like they don’t exist. I feel for David as he is very organised and productive, and he spends his life hearing ‘Can we just do it tomorrow’. I’ll repeat this mess daily until I randomly have a good day where something productive at the back of my mind goes ‘DO ALL THE TASKS NOW’!
I hear the phrase ‘I think you’re over thinking this’ so often. I do over think. I play out scenarios in my head. For example if I think there is going to be a confrontation about something, I plan out what I’m going to say to someone in my head along with alternative answers based on how the conversation could turn. I often say to people ‘If they say this to me I’ll say this, and if they say this… I’ll say this’ and so on. It actually drives me insane because I hear how absurd and psychotic I am.
What I want to do about it!
Right now I have no interest in being ‘treated’ for anxiety by someone else. Mostly because I don’t believe taking medication would solve anything, and like I said therapy is just out of my reach. I’m not that afraid to admit that I suffered with a small period of depression when I was about 14 that I didn’t really speak about or even really understand at the time. Now that I’m older and I look back, I recognise it for what it really was and I’m proud that I managed to overcome it by telling myself when I was about 16/17 ‘I don’t want to live in my head all the time like this, change your attitude and change your life’ and I really meant it. This wasn’t easy to do because when your mental health suffers, it takes control of you and not everyone can help themselves. But I did. And I know if I could do it at 17, I can do it 10 years later. I want to go through those points that I mentioned above and overcome them one at a time by going out of my way to change my attitudes. I hate these anxieties of mine and I want to leave them behind as I get married, grow into my 30s and start a family. I especially don’t want any of these things to rub off on my children in the future, because my behaviour could have a real effect on someone else. They might not sound like a big deal to some people, but they really trouble me and its just not who I want to be.
If you can relate to anything I’ve said I’d love to hear from you, because I rarely get to talk to people about these things, even though they are probably more common than I think. I’d like to read this post in the next 3 years and feel like I really achieved something. I hope one day therapy is easily accessible for the average person, as easy as it is to go into your doctors, tell them you are poorly and be taken seriously.
Thanks for reading anyway if you got this far! x