Anxiety

I can’t hold on to a single thought. There’s lots of them, they’re swirling, and they’re frightening, but I can’t see a single one of them clearly, and every attempt to grasp onto one and examine it for what it is, is as futile as my attempts to keep hold of this exact moment, to stop and and understand.

My composure is fleeting fast, and I’m making mistakes, because I can’t even think, because it’s all too much, because my heart is beating faster, and I feel that at one moment the pounding in my chest will reach it’s crescendo and follow up with a sudden STOP.

I’m gagged by some invisible object, that fills my mouth, preventing a breath.

This frightening moment, might be my last, and I don’t want to go – I’m normally well expressed, existentially understanding and stoically together but it’s just – CAN EVERYTHING STAY STILL FOR ONE MOMENT? This is ALL TOO MUCH to handle, just STOP AND LET ME THINK. But the next thought I cannot even fathom has already taken the place of this one, already I can’t-

Just a minute!? You need to listen to me, I’m telling you to listen to me, you need to stop and give me a breather, just for a moment! I’m telling you to, and you’re me, my mind, so you have to listen! Just stop! I tell YOU WHAT TO DO!

It’s NOT stopping.

I’m NOT stopping. I’m not listening. Why am I not listening to myself? I AM IN CONTROL. IF I CAN STOP THIS, WHY ISN’T IT STOPPING, I WANT IT TO STOP.

It DOESN’T STOP. I won’t ever get a break, unless my heart gives out which it might this exact second, and I don’t want my last moment to be this one, to be like this. I don’t want to be scared, and to be flustered, and to have faltering breath at my last moment. I want my partner, and my mother, to be with me, and for my thoughts to be of precious times, but instead I’m afraid, and lying on the floor, clutching at my own legs.

My heart is beating out of rhythm with my chest. It beats too fast, it fights against my expanding lungs and halts their expanse, and I can’t even get a full breath to calm myself down, which is what they tell you to do, so what if I’ve messed it up, and I can’t recover, and I’m about to die. I’m dying.

This has to be it – my heart is going to explode, or my brain is going to cease, simply because the pressure within it, has become too much. Perhaps a vessel will burst, and I will feel my life drain away, as red drips from my eyes.

I can’t even breath, I can’t even recover, this is it – JUST STOP. STOP. It’s too much! IT DOESN’T EVER… STOP. THIS MOMENT IS MY LIFE, AND IT WILL BE MY LAST MOMENT, BECAUSE THIS DOESN’T… EVER… STOP.

But it does stop, doesn’t it? Eventually after some time, the moment has passed and some semblance of control returns, although exactly when its snares released their entrapment, is unbeknownst to you. All you know now, is that you can stand.

And although your heart is still beating fast, it is slightly over now – and all that remains is residual guilt, plastered across your insides. You feel so foolish, for having lost. So stupid, for not even being able to control your own brain. Your entire body is distraught, and in need of support. All of that, just to lose to yourself.

But you haven’t lost. You have confused losing the battle, with having fought it. You’re body is tired, and your mind is frazzled – but the fact the moment has subsided, means that you are victorious. It has simply taken its toll upon you.

As with any battle, there are casualties to account for, and time is required to reassemble your forces. And so you may not feel as though it is over, when it fact it is. You’re simply in a process of triage, which is the start on the road to recovery. Your strength will return, in numbers, if only you give it time.

You are worth more, than how anxiety make you feel. You are winning, and while you are afraid in those moments, IT is afraid for ALL of the rest of the time where you are in control. You are merely throwing it a bone, by giving it some moments now and then. Do not feel guilty that they may return, unfortunately the same conclusions that you came to, that allowed you to beat it this time, may not work next time – but that does not mean, it will not leave.

You are okay. Remember this. You are okay, and everything, no matter what comes, will be okay. You will deal with it and conquer it, even if in the midst of the play by play of the fight, you are afraid, you will emerge victorious. You are okay.

And on those days when you are not okay, remember – that is okay too.

Mature

What would be the mature option?

To accept continuous burden in silence; to live with worry about the future, regret of past actions, and anxiety in the present.

OR

Talk about it.

Ironically, it’s so easy to chastise someone for thinking terrible things about themselves, and yet so easy to do it to oneself. If a friend were to exclaim that they’re ugly, you would be startled, almost offended, and reassure them otherwise. And yet, give yourself a mirror and time, and you’ll pick out every flaw about yourself until you’ve convinced yourself wholeheartedly of it.

What’s worse, is if you’ve convinced yourself of the theory that you’re ugly beforehand, you’ll twist and warp facts until you believe it so, and have evidence (however twisted) to prove it.

This applies to much more than appearance. This applies to money woes – where you could convince yourself you’ll be bankrupted and homeless, it could be about career and dream aspirations – and you’ll think you’re going nowhere, or it could even be about friends – and that you worry you have none, or that they don’t care.

There is nothing too big or too small, to be considered. It’s okay to not feel okay, today. It’s okay to have an off-day, and off-week, or an off-heck-of-a-lot-longer-than-that.

What’s not okay, is to accept the burden alone, indefinitely. We shelf small worries everyday, and as long as we then deal with them in the next hour or so it’s okay. But everything that’s negative to us, regardless of size, will damage us if left long enough. You cannot simply accept burdens all your life, and shoulder them alone, because you believe they are yours to bare. They are not.

You cannot somehow value yourself worthless, when in reality surely you must know that you are not, because no one is ever worth nothing. Especially not you. It doesn’t matter if you feel this worry or negativity is stupid to others. Or small. Or that you’ll be mocked. If it’s important to you, if it weighs on your mind, then do not hesitate to talk to others. Let them know. They can offer support, and you can beat it, or they will make you see more clearly how foolish you are being, and can dissipate your woes altogether.

Sharing a burden, halves it altogether immediately. And in sizeable chunks, it can be defeated.

You are important. Your worries and concerns are valued. Remember that if your thoughts are damaging your mental health in any way (and that includes just making you have a bad day) then you should tell others and the ones you care about and/or care about you, because they love you. Others want you to be well, even if you don’t feel like you’re worthy of it. It’s not fair, for others not to even know you’re not okay. So let them know. Share with them. They want to see you happy. You know who they are.

If you bare a burden that weighs heavily on your mind, regardless of how big or small it actually is;

Talk about it.

That would be the mature option.

A Healthy Body

Look after your body.

Remember that the saying, “A healthy body, a healthy mind.” is not just a catchy saying. Rather, your mind – as abstract as it feels – IS maintained by your body. In fact, your mind as beautiful and intrinsic as it is, is made up of a series of connections, that determine and create chemical reactions which in turn allow you to feel and think and control your body in turn.

It’s cyclical. Meaning if your mind cannot be properly maintained, because your body has been poorly looked after – you will think bad thoughts, and make more bad decisions, and feel bad, and so your body too will decay, and slowly but surely this cyclical process will take a devastating toll on your overall well being, and lead you to places of sadness and negativity.

A treat – foods that taste good but offer little sustenance or nutritional value – is a shortcut to happiness. But shortcuts often lead to long delays. If you find yourself using these shortcuts too often, you will eventually build up your backlog and it will hit you hard. Hard in the form of a dependence on those shortcuts, because your body can no longer make the chemicals it makes naturally in a fit and healthy body – because it does not have the nutrition and the vitamins to do so.

So while decadent treats certainly are such – remember that often they are a treat for the tongue alone. They do not generally account for the nutrients and energy that your body needs. Don’t eat fruit just because you’re told to – eat it because it’s good for you. Eat your vegetables, and enjoy them, knowing that you are fuelling your body to a brighter tomorrow. You are boosting your immune system, and giving your body the excitement it needs to do new things, create new ideas and new works of great.

You do not want to be out of breath walking up some stairs, because your body is struggling to move itself and convert chemical energy to kinetic energy, because it has not properly been topped up.

With no energy, you cannot even embark on the adventures that you so desire, for a wonderful life.

Equally, prepare your body for those adventures. Even the adventure of daily life. By improving your cardio, you will ensure that should you need bursts of energy, you can do so – because your body has learned to function more productively. When the air sacs in your lungs can perform effectively, they ensure your body can respire aerobically, meaning your blood is oxygenated and can carry oxygen to your muscles that require it so they can perform optimally.

Your body will also, at some point need to bear a heavy load of some sort. Perhaps you will carry a dog down a hillside, after a hot and tiring day. Or perhaps your children in your arms, up to bed.

Then, it behoves you to ensure your muscles are ready for this task. The way your muscles work, is that they can only grow in size, once they have been proved to not be strong enough to handle the current load. So you must work out your muscles, lift heavy objects and lift them repeatedly, until your muscles tear (slightly – not as in an injury) and then they must repair themselves stronger so that they know not to be broken by that same activity again. Then you must lift heavier objects, let them tear, so they grow bigger to not be broken again by that activity, and so on.

Run far; lift heavy and repeatedly; and eat healthily; and you will prepare your body in such a way, that it can live it’s best life naturally.

It is as simple as that. To be kind to yourself; you must be kind to your body.

Uncertainty

Uncertainty, it’s a wonderful thing.

It ensures that you live out a fascinating and astonishing life, rather than a mundane one. With every day different, you can be sure you should continue on going because there is so much to see and do.

And yet, it’s so commonly associated with anxiety because anxiety requires it for its very definition. But the two are not interchangeable. Just because you are uncertain of something, does not mean you must be anxious of it.

Uncertainty, refers only to the unknown state or outcome, of future events. Anxiety, refers to the negative feelings most commonly associated with uncertainty. So what happens then, if we remove anxiety, and instead explore uncertainty?

Humans innately strive for the illusion of control; the ability to steer your car down a particular fork in the road, to lead you to pastures new. The problem being that while in theory this seems pleasant, and very deterministic; life is much more chaotic – and while you can choose which road you travel, the problem is your field of vision is foggy at best. So while you may choose the nicer, more well maintained road – you could find that as soon as your on it, there are more obstacles in your way; roadworks or the cars of others that slow you down and bring you to a halt. Perhaps the cars that drove down the nice path did so, because they liked the seaside view next to it. But maybe you don’t like the sea.

So while it’s nice to think you’re in control and making the right decisions, in reality you’re about as likely to predict the correct outcome as the flip of a coin. So why worry about the uncertainty of it all? It’s tension. All of your choices, every single one you have ever made, has been half chance – and so have everyone else’s.

Let’s suppose your loved one is away on travel, and you’re irrationally afraid for their safety. Let’s suppose they are already gone, and so you do not have the option of convincing them not to go or packing a bulletproof vest in their suitcase. Now, whether or not their destination is a safe haven or a war-zone, it does not behoove you or anyone to worry or remain anxious for any length of time. You do not have control over this situation. You are uncertain of the outcome, but that does not mean you have to fear it. The outcome will remain the same, regardless of your fear of it. So why worry?

Apply this to the toxicity of self doubt, in any given situation. How many hours could you justly say that you have wasted thinking about events… which never happened? But you thought they might. And so it felt very real. To you. As real as if it had happened, because just like when a real thing happens and it takes its toll, so too will you be tolled as long as you treat fictitious events as though they are true.

So remove this anxiety from your life. Remain in the moment – and if anything, embrace the fleeting nature of it. Embrace that as you try to hold onto the moment, already it has passed. So do not hold on to it – rather, live it. The universe does not have to adhere to your laws of expectation. Nor does it work on the same reference of time. It can change what it’s doing in an instant, just as you can.

Accept uncertainty. It is merely a synonym, for freedom, when it is not necessarily you who is in control.


Another article you may find helpful regarding this topic of abandoning the illusion of control, and not fearing it, can be found here:

Shorts: The Apple Tree

Don’t Do It Alone

You don’t have to do it alone.

No matter what it is; or how you feel; if you are right or wrong; or if you feel you are too far along. Whether the outcome will be a success or a failure; whether you will be forgiven or not; whether things can go back to the way they were or not; whatever you are going through – you do not have to do it alone.

Loneliness is such a hauntingly beautiful concept; because it’s so ironically universal. It’s something that unites us all together. We have all felt alone.

Sometimes in a dark room, with a beer or a glass of wine on something resembling a table in front of you, you will feel alone. As you monitor friends and family, who seem to be having fun. Perhaps you’re sitting and wondering who that person you think about, is thinking about. And maybe you’re wondering why they aren’t here beside you.

Sometimes, shoulder to shoulder, or on a busy street, you will feel so alone. As no one looks your way, or perhaps that they do and choose to stay at a distance. Perhaps it’s even one of those times, when people are talking to you; but the words they say and the ways they relate to their life and yours around them, you would be better off talking to a lion who has been taught your native tongue – for your two frames of reference are so far apart you no longer understand each other.

Sometimes it’s our own pride that brings about our true sadness. The thought that we should be able to shoulder the weight of the world, for this is what makes us strong and tough. This is a fallacy. A whisper that loneliness will repeat in your ear for hours on end. If you have convinced yourself this is true, then know this instead. It is not brave, to accept burden alone. It is not more dignified, or more humble, to pretend the world does not beat you down, and get the better of you on some days. Or perhaps for weeks or months on end.

This is the cruelty of life. It does this to everyone. If you believe you are the only person who asks for help, and are convinced that others you know to be calm and collected never ask for help; you are mistaken. What they really do, is share the load. They distribute the bombardment amongst those they trust, whom they hold dear. And in return, when they can, they offer kindness, love, and reciprocation. They offer an ear, and a shoulder, when it is their burden to do so.

This, I would wager, is not opinion, but fact. Four people carrying 100 kilograms of weight on their shoulders seems reasonable. But one person carrying the same weight, will injure or tire themselves after not too long at all. Remember this; it’s science.

Sometimes the hardest part, is that it seems as though there is no one to even accept your requests for help. It’s a friend, who knows you’re alone, and is unwilling to alter their behaviour to accommodate you. Which arguably is the only thing worse than being alone or being sad. Being alone, and someone else knowing you’re alone. Someone else being perfectly aware of it, and yet choosing not to act upon it. It feels as though no one would care.

But someone does care. People who contact you without a reason to do so. They care about your day, for the sake of hoping it was a happy one, and nothing else. Do not forget them, or their kindness, even if they are not the person you wish was bringing it to you. They can bring some light into your life, as long as you let them. Loneliness is only a darkness. People are not further away; you just cannot see very far in front of you. Or how far your sphere of connection stretches.

Put it does not matter if it is a trick – because it feels so real, to you. It feels empty. When you are scared of what you may find beyond your vision. And your fingers shake, and your arms wave all around you hoping to find someone there, to hold their hand and pull it closer. To feel their warmth against yours, even if they too are afraid.

Whatever makes you afraid; whatever in the future scares you – don’t do it alone. Don’t push those away whom you do find in reach. If they call to you, call back.

And if no one answers – call for me. I will follow you into the dark.