|I use this image a lot. It seems fitting.|
Sorry – this isn’t going to be a nice, cheery Sunday afternoon read.
I’ve been anxious recently. No – I can’t put it in the past tense like that – I am anxious, a lot of the time, at the moment. I hope it’s just a phase. I hope to God it’s a shorter phase than it was a few years ago; a phase that’s easier on me, less violent than it was then. I was not all that well then – I know that from looking back – and few things scare me more than returning to those sleepless nights, those days of heart-racing and room-pacing.
You’re wired when you’re anxious. Drained but still buzzing somehow, humming away with what-ifs and but-maybes and “this time, I will definitely die”. It’s exhausting and you cannot outrun it. That’s the worst part: being a prisoner of your own mind and being unable to trust your own body. Because you can’t climb out of your head; you can’t lift your brain out, put it on a windowsill and tell it to calm down. And you can’t trust a body that insists that you stay in fight-or-flight mode when there is nothing there to fight or flee.
What helps? No-one has the time to feel like this, to be exhausted by something so un-useful, so how do I manage it? It will always be a part of me, I think – an undercurrent, a messy gatecrasher – how do I keep it away? At the time of writing, the only failsafe solution has been to throw myself onto DB’s lap and have him stroke my hair until I felt able to sit by myself without needing another human as an anchor. And unfortunately – comfortable though he is – I need a better strategy.
Doctors recommend cutting caffeine and alcohol, and exercising regularly. The latter isn’t a problem (I can run now! I have an app and one of those armband phone holder things!), the former I find harder. Keeping busy is the only thing that’s ever worked reliably for me – work, running, writing, seeing friends, living by to-do lists. But getting too tired can also be a trigger, and not having any time on my own to just faff, and “be”, also sends me crackers, so it’s a fine line.
I wrote most of the above just over a week ago, and since then, have calmed down a bit, thank goodness. I’m posting it anyway, because suffering in silence has only ever made things worse. For everyone.