It’s been a year and a little bit since we moved back home, so I thought I would take the time to reflect on what has happened and what’s changed with me. The biggest thing that has changed is that my nights sleep is interrupted more often…. by a small little ball of orange floof throwing himself at the bedroom door because he has FOMO, relax Frankie literally nothing is happening, we are sleeping.
All jokes aside, my physical symptoms for my anxiety have significantly decreased. I haven’t felt a panic attack coming on for months. Yay! I feel that my anxiety now manifests itself in a different way. It’s all in my head. I don’t mean that as in ‘I’ve made it all up in my head and its not real’; I mean that my anxiety sits in my head and it’s more the thoughts, the overthinking, the snowballing thought patterns, the constant worrying. I get stuck in my head and I can’t get out. This gets me down and I start to feel sorry for myself. The negativity seems to be what’s most prominent and it takes a lot of my energy to pull myself out of that deep dark pit.
Now, when triggers for my anxiety do show themselves I know what they look and feel like. I am able to calm myself and deal with them in real time, before I lose my absolute shit and am unable to cope and stand there stunned like a deer in headlights. I feel like I have more control over how anxiety makes me feel. I’m ready for you, you little fucker.
I’ve learnt how to give myself the time and space I need to heal. This has been a real challenge. I take time out when I need it. I back off exercise when my body shows me signs that I’m pushing too far. I have learnt to not get so involved with other people’s problems and take them on as my own. This often looks like I don’t care. Sometimes all the energy that I can muster only allows me to get through the day, which doesn’t leave anything left for anyone else. This doesn’t sit well with many people and they often take offence to it, but you gotta do what you gotta do. As Dr. Seuss said ‘Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter wont mind’.
I’m soooooo much better in social situations. I’ve stepped out of my safe anxiety ball (when I say safe I mean a space that I have learnt to tolerate as being the norm). Large crowds don’t really faze me anymore. I can go into malls, go to the footy, the movies and not feel uncomfortable and anxious. This is a huge win! Sometimes I forget how much of a big deal this is. A year ago I wouldn’t accept invitations from friends to go out to dinner or to catch up. I wasn’t comfortable with being around people. This really gave me the sads and I lost my confidence. It used to take everything I had to hang out with my closest friends and family and then it would be followed by weeks of me doing nothing and staying home in a big sad mess. Now, before I’ve even thought of a reason not to go I’ve accepted offers and you know what, I even enjoyed myself and catch myself saying, shit I need to do this more. I do have to be careful not to accept too many offers in one week as it is really mentally draining for me, but that is perfectly fine. That’s just the way that it has to be right now.
I’m still comparing my life to the lives of others that I see through social media. This really drives me crazy. It makes me mad and frustrated. I KNOW that what is portrayed on social media is often not a true representation, its only what they want you to see and the way they want to be portrayed but that still doesn’t stop the comparative thoughts from creeping in. Those slippery little fuckers. I’m still not 100% on how to stop those thoughts but I will fight my hardest to change the way I think about what I see. I think that once I become more comfortable with myself and accept the outcome of my choices that it will be a little easier for me to compare less.
I often forget that healing is a slow process. I dismiss my progress and get mad that I’ve only come a little way when I know that I’m capable of so much more (this is still the same, I’m always downplaying my achievements). I forget that I’m human and I make mistakes and there is not one way to do something. There are so many ways to do something; you just have to find a way that is right for you. I’m trying to find my way in this world, just like everyone else. There are times where I’m struggling along with everyone else; I think this is why we need to be kind and respectful of each other all the time. We never know the real truth of a story unless we are told (and often people don’t share for fear of being looked at differently), we shouldn’t judge. Accept and respect.
The way I see friendships has changed. I no longer fester about what others think about me. I don’t want everyone to be my friend. I’m not out there to always say the right thing or always be the one to make others laugh, or to give the best advice. I am just being me. I’ve got my people and they get me and that’s all that matters. They get that I’m not being rude when I’m upfront and honest and often blunt. They know that I’m looking out for them and that I care about them very much.
I have come a long way in the past year. I have learnt a lot about myself and a lot about other people. I have learnt how to be more patient with myself. I can now recognise my anxiety triggers, which makes me feel more in control. I think this is why I am less anxious now because I have control back in my life, whereas 1 year ago I felt helpless and not in control of what was happening in my life. My ability to recognise my triggers has also given me the confidence that I needed to take more control of other parts of my life. I think that this is by far one of the best things to have happened in the past year, oh and Frankie, he is pretty cute.