If you’ve read my blog for a while then you may have caught a few of my posts discussing anxiety and my experiences with it so far. It’s a part of me that I vowed to be honest and open about on here as someone who has lived with it since their early teens – it’s as much a part of me as the clothes I love and the inspirations I share, and not something that I want to hide or skim over. As someone who presents themselves online, I think it’s important for me to share the times that might not feel as happy or interesting, the parts that make me human…
For long periods of time I can be absolutely fine, then all of a sudden I’ll have a really off day out of nowhere – seemingly triggered by nothing. It’s like a big old smack in the chest, waves of an almost sickeningly guilty feeling, and there’s not much you can do but ride it out until it passes. It’s such a common thing that lots and lots of people suffer with, and sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit, and instead mutter to ourselves ‘why am I like this?!’ when opportunities pass us by. Now that I freelance full time, a lot of the pressure is on me, I no longer have a team of people to rely on and share work loads with, which can be a huge shock at first. There’s also a reoccurring voice that tells me I should be saying yes to every single job/opportunity that presents itself, but then I remind myself that it’s so important to move at your own pace, to be kind to yourself, as well as others. Recently, I’ve had a few really anxious days (hence this post), and often the best form of therapy for me is just writing about it – getting it all out so to speak. As much as you remind yourself that others deal with it to, sometimes you find yourself doubting this, and wondering whether it’s just a personality defect. Again the ‘why am I like this?’ voice runs riot, and blurs any kind of rational thinking. Then it passes, and you feel like a completely different person again, you become sociable, chatty, back to ‘normal’. At least that’s how I tend to experience anxiety – in waves, sometimes huge crashing ones that knock me off my feet for a little while, sometimes smaller ones that flood in around my ankles as a gentle reminder that it’s still present.
I’ve talked a lot about breaking boundaries and pushing myself to do things that make me anxious – this is often the only way I can truly prove to myself that it’s okay. It’s silly, but recently I needed to register at a new doctors (something I’d been putting off since we moved to Manchester), something so mundane, something that would take a mere half an hour out of my day. Yet I put it off and off, and suddenly it snowballed into this huge deal that was causing me anxiety. I know the feeling of a place or situation that’s unfamiliar can trigger my anxiety massively – but sometimes I feel embarrassed when it’s something that a lot of other people would experience as second nature. Public transport is a huge one for me – if I haven’t planned out the journey in my head then I get very panicked, make stupid mistakes, become ridiculously clumsy, and almost forget how to function. Like when someones talking to you and the words just glide over your head and you forget how to respond, you miss words, spell things wrong, forget to lock doors, become a frantic version of yourself. I dread these times because they make everything take a little longer and feel more intense than they should be. This is when I take a breather – remind myself that everything passes eventually, that it’s just my body reacting, that I won’t always feel like this, and it’s perfectly okay to not feel comfortable in a situation that many others seem to.
I eventually registered at the doctors, they were lovely and everything went smoothly – I then did that thing where I arrived home, breathed a sigh of relief, and asked myself again ‘why am I like this?’. The vital thing anyone who suffers with anxiety has to constantly remind themselves is that anxiety doesn’t define you. No matter where you sit on the scale – it’s nothing to be ashamed of, nothing that you need to ‘play down’ to others, nothing that you can’t come out the other side from with your head held high. Sometimes I feel stupid when I don’t feel up to going to an event or something of that nature because it involves my nightmare – a room full of people I don’t know, unfamiliar faces – prime time uncomfortable zone for little old me. Then I beat myself up because I know that I would have enjoyed it, that everyone would be lovely, and that me missing out is all fueled by anxiety and nothing more.
I hope this post wasn’t too much of a dull read for you, and I hope if you ever feel the same way then this may have resonated in some way. Anxiety is rubbish but it can get better, it does get better, and you will learn to stop beating yourself up about it instead of taking a breather and prioritising your mental health. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s any less important, and so many people have times when they feel the way you do. It’s so important to build a sense of community and feel like we can talk openly without judgement – this is thankfully a space where I feel like that’s possible, and will be forever grateful for…
Photography by Adriana
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Thank you for all these posts. I suffer from anxiety….bad. I hate it. I don’t do much because of it. I’m working at a job that gives me so much anxiety I have to really work hard getting there in the morning. Sometimes I have small panic attacks the night before. This is SO unhealthy. I want to be free of this horrible job that brings me nothing but fear and anxiety but I’m afraid to quit, because I’m afraid I won’t find another job. I’ve really been thinking about starting a blog for fun. I read your posts and they were so helpful about blogging. ? I wish I knew someone like me that I was close to. I feel so alone.
Anxiety can be really isolating but even more so when we don’t talk about it! I’m always here if you need someone to message or talk to – I can’t always offer the best advice but I feel like I’ve been in your position a fair few times now. As much as money and security seems important, your health should always be your priority! I worked jobs I hated ages and had SO much anxiety about quitting to blog full time – things can change but we have to want them to, that’s something I learned the hard way. Definitely start a blog, it might help you in ways you never realised it could – writing is therapeutic for me!
Sending you lots of love xx
Thank you so much for this recent post it really resonated with me and made me realise I shouldn’t beat myself up about it. I suffer from depression and have recently been diagnosed with panic disorder. Work, social events and things I used to enjoy however little all seem to be a nightmare recently and all I feel like doing is just escaping tonne by myself but then I always say to myself… why me? I’m such a fruit loop as we all do.
Even though it’s a daily struggle it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one, and as daft as it sounds that bloggers can also feel like this as you naturally assume to blog the blogger must be the most confident, self assured person going and couldn’t face such anxiety!
Thank you for yet another refreshing insight- I really appreciate it and look forward to more posts 🙂 xxx
Thank you for the kind words! Sorry to hear that you suffer from depression, it’s horrible and often hard for others who haven’t experienced it to understand how it makes you feel/behave – you sound really positive about the situation though which is amazing, so glad that this post could help in event the smallest way. Definitely don’t be fooled into thinking bloggers/people with an online presence are confident and have it all together – I’m the same with social situations sometimes too, sometimes they fill me with dread, other times I look forward to them. Be kind to yourself xxx
Anxiety is totally rubbish, you’re right! But, the feelings are so valid. We’re allowed to worry about things and struggle at times, it’s just great that we can learn to overcome it!
Glad you settled at your new doctors nicely! xxxx
Thanks Holly, you’re a little gem – totally agree, we need to allow ourselves to experience the harder times without constantly questioning ourselves 🙂 xxx
In love with your style hun! x
I read this post constantly nodding along and agreeing with everything you were saying. It’s like I could have written it myself! I had a hard time at high school and although that was a long time ago, it has had a lasting effect on me and as a result I suffer with anxiety over the tiniest things. Even going in to a shop and speaking to the person on the till makes me come over in a clammy sweat and I start mixing up my words and knocking things off shelves!
I know it frustrates my husband when he is always the one to order food in a restaurant or even ring our friends to organise meeting up but it frustrates me as well. It is such a hard concept to explain to someone else when I don’t even understand it myself at times but I’m so glad I’m not alone! Thank you for your honesty xxx
Thank you for taking the time to read it! I’m exactly the same with things like that – ordering food is a big one for me too! Or speaking with someone new on the phone sometimes, I guess it’s easy for others to dismiss it because they can’t always physically see it. Just surrounding yourself with the right kind of people who are willing to learn is half the battle xxx
I don’t suffer from anxiety, but I think it’s wonderful that you decided to talk about this topic, as it might help others (and hopefully yourself too) 🙂 It’s actually quite brave that you put yourself out there, I could never do that! xx
Thank you! It’s really great that you don’t suffer from it, but can be so encouraging! The world needs more of that! xxx
Thank you so much for writing this post Alice, as it really resonated with me on sooo many levels and helped me realise that its ok to have not so good days as long as I keep in mind that I can rise above it..I also suffer from anxiety but don’t really vocalise it to my friends/family because I don’t know how they’ll take it(since they don’t suffer from it) but this post has helped me to understand that i’m really not alone in this and should be something I’m more open about. Xx
Thank you! This made me happy – not everyone will understand it but there will always be people who do and are willing to listen xx
Thank you for sharing, Alice. I have had anxiety for years and only in the last month or so (since it’s really peaked) have I realised that that’s what it actually is and it’s not just me being ‘silly’. It’s good to know you’re not the only one! It’s so difficult to manage at times. I’m like you where I’ll avoid social events unless I’m with someone I know. I avoid pushing myself to do certain things for fear of failure and end up kicking myself for holding myself back. I worry about trivial things then the following week I look back on it and think “why was I being so ridiculous?!” Everyone has their own battles and it’s important for everyone to know they’re not alone so thanks for being so open xx
Thank you, I’m totally the same and it does take it’s toll sometimes, especially when you want to feel like you’re making the most out of life. I try to push myself as much as possible and normally feel much better for doing so, but I realise that’s a really hard point to reach for a lot of people. I’m glad that posts like this always receive a healthy response! xxx
Thanks for sharing, the same thing happens to me and yes, it passes…eventually.
I use what I call “The Three Day Rule” – the worst episodes almost always subside within three days, so i remind myself to relax and let the storm inside pass through. I will be turning 60 this year and have found this has worked for me since my early 20’s. Bang on!
Totally relate to you on the three day rule thing! Positive way of looking at it xx
It does feel good to read something like that, not that I enjoyed you having anxiety. But the thing is, you talk about it. And by talking about it, it doesn’t seems that you are ashamed of it and this feel good to me. I’ve got anxiety to, and reading post like this can really help me a lot, mostly by accepting it. I’m not going to change, it’s always going to be a part of me so I don’t have to be ashamed of myself for it.
Thank you for this post,
You definitely should never be ashamed about something that’s beyond your control – so glad this was helpful to you in some way xx