Lockdown, Anxiety & Me
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Anxiety is something that manifests itself in various different forms, affecting people in many different, debilitating ways. During these difficult times I have found it rearing its ugly head more frequently than usual - which I’m sure is the case for most at the moment - and being ‘trapped’ in your own home whilst simultaneously feeling trapped inside your own head can sometimes be too much to bear. Anxiety is the uninvited guest; the probing, nagging, seemingly unstoppable force that implores you to think irrationally and harbour feelings of unnecessary dread. It is the devil on your shoulder that lures you towards a ‘worse-case scenario’ mentality, embedding negative rationale into your very being. I know this all sounds pretty deep but for some anxiety sufferers this is a bleak reality.
This week I decided to address anxiety head-on and speak candidly about how I’ve managed it during these past few weeks, and wanted to attribute this blog to helping keep my mind active so there’s been less time for dwelling. I encourage other sufferers to try and do something creative, as I have found it really does help with keeping those negative thoughts at bay. Whether it be painting, colouring books, photography, blogging or even poetry, having a creative outlet is a great distraction for when it all becomes too much.
You can’t escape the reality of the current situation, we are living through a monumental historical event as we speak; but sometimes bellowing politicians, constant stark government PSAs and the media spouting scaremongering headlines can all become too much to handle. To help drown out the noise, as cliché as it sounds, I genuinely find solace in yoga and meditation, as well as talking through how I’m feeling with a close friend or family member. Sometimes getting lost in a good book (I'm currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, it's really good if you like poignant and emotive novels) for a few hours will also do the trick. Remembering what I’d learned from my CBT ( I suggest to any sufferer who hasn’t previously to seek Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, it will change your life) and separating rational thoughts from irrational has helped massively, as has an app called WorryTime. I also regularly have to remember to take a step back and simply breathe.
Sometimes anxiety is searching for an answer to a problem that isn’t there, and savouring the blissful feeling of fabricated resolution. During the darkest days I find writing down my intrusive thoughts and working through why I feel that way and what has triggered me to be a really good coping mechanism; seeing your worries in black and white helps to compartmentalise the negativity and rationalise a bit better.
At the end of the day, we need to constantly remind ourselves that no one is alone in this and that although these are strange, unsettling times we are joined together in solidarity, and we will all pull through this together. As we approach the coveted light at the end of the tunnel and emerge from this, bleary eyed and probably mildly agoraphobic, we will realise we are much stronger than we thought. We won’t take the simple things for granted again, like Mum’s questionable home-cooked stew, and small talk with Steve from finance over the watercooler, because these seemingly mundane interactions are what connects us as humans to one another, and maintaining these connections and the feeling of solidarity is what will hopefully propel us towards a brighter future, together.