My ongoing battle with anxiety

*Again this post may contain triggers*

After hitting the post but to on last night’s post I felt great. As though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I also had an outpouring of messages from friends and strangers alike. Some saying I was brave and courageous for coming out, so to speak. But while these messages were pouring in the anxiety came too. And let me tell you friends she is nasty little bitch! My heart started to pound, my palms got sweaty. I started to feel like I was saying “look at me” and that I was a “fraud” with that post (because I do not see myself as brave. I am a chicken). Then, then I took a deep breathe and another as I realized who was trying to crash my cathartic party –  anxiety.

As if to say “you can’t get rid of me”, and she’s right. Because I tired to get to bed last night and there she was keeping me awake until 2am. Plus when she turns up stress usually follows or sometimes she hides in my stress. And sometimes she’s sweet enough to bring my OCD out to play too. Those are special times let me tell you.

Here’s something else folks don’t know about me. I dislike huge social events. They drain me and when I’m drained you know who slips in. So going to a Sherlock Holmes convention last April was a big deal for me. I don’t ever do that. Hell getting ready to go a convention for Sherlock Holmes this weekend has caused a spike in my anxiety. I have no need to be anxious but I am. Look I’ve already started to pack, laying out things, unpacking, repacking.  Mostly trying to psych myself up to go and just be me. After all I know these people. I’ve met most of them last April.  Plus we talk all the time on the Twitter or in a group chat.  But this is what my life is like with anxiety waiting on the sidelines ready to jump in the game.

Right now typing this is causing palpitations. I’ve learned to live with my anxiety. I’ve learned how a few coping mechanisms to “get by”.  For example when I feel my OCD acting up instead of staying in the house and leaving when my husband is ready…I go out and open the garage and get in the car so I won’t be tempted to jiggle the door handle 7 times before I feel I leave. I trust that he’s going to secure the house and I can let it go and send anxiety back to the bench.  Even if it’s only for a few hours.

I know it’s a slippery slope that could lead me right back to depression. So do some of the people in my life. Last Friday I found out I didn’t get a job I had applied for. I was upset and crying about it when I called my mom. Her instant response was “Are you ok, do you need me to come over?” Which I knew was above general mom concern. She was worried something a silly as not getting a new job (when I still have a perfectly good job I love) could lead me to some dark placed. But I assured her I was fine. I ordered food, poured a glass of wine, and chatted with friends about the situation and you know I felt better.

So it isn’t easy. Some days just are easier.

Author: galinthegreyhat

I am a wife, writer, photographer, and avid reader. This blog is about me...you've been warned.

9 thoughts on “My ongoing battle with anxiety”

  1. i don’t like being in large group events either, as my introvert self just longs to be at home in my pajamas or to just focus on one person and have a real discussion. after an event like that i just need some down time, by myself to recharge and then i’m ready to go back out into the world. while i don’t suffer from what you describe, with depression, anxiety, and ocd issues, i can identify on a certain level due to my introverted personality. when i once wrote about it, many people who knew me said, ‘what? you are so far from an introvert, you love people!’ well, to be an introvert does not mean that you don’t love people, just that small doses of real interaction are all that i need, and then i need time alone again to recharge. it was hard to have to explain myself to people, and i can understand your frustration and feeling like a fraud, but you’re not, these are very real things for you, and you are entitled to feel how you feel. great post.

  2. I just wanted to thank you for such a personal and insightful post. I follow your Twitter due to a mutual (Sherlockian!) interest so, as a sufferer of anxiety myself, it is sometimes a surprise to find similarities beyond those I initially considered! I can really appreciate so many of your past experiences – the thoughts and feelings you describe I, too, experience on a regular basis. You therefore have my utmost sympathy as well as my respect for dealing with it so well, as you obviously do 🙂
    My own issues really began several years ago in my early twenties, although I think this was just the start of the physical symptoms – the negative thoughts have been there longer than I care to remember. I have battled with it ever since, going through good and bad periods with increasing regularity. I have always been shy and introverted; it was the first thing everyone always commented on when I was little, and by the time I reached my teens it had become more of an issue. I developed coping mechanisms, beginning a cycle of perfectionism, procrastination and worry that has haunted me all through high school, college and ten whole years of university (I’m a glutton for punishment).
    I am also incredibly lucky – the terms anxiety and depression seem to go hand in hand these days but I would not dare say that my anxiety is caused by depression or vice versa. I don’t believe I suffer from depression; I have periods of low mood, as everyone does, and more so during particularly bad phases with my anxiety, but I have never experienced that all-encompassing hopelessness that people with depression often describe. I can only imagine what that must feel like and am constantly amazed by people like you who deal with both on a daily basis.
    Personally, I have days where I feel I could conquer the world, and others where I never want to leave the house again. This year has been particularly difficult as, following several panic attacks, I’ve developed a bit of a phobia about doing the things I have always loved most. I have gone back to counselling and am trying some medication to help in the short term, so I’m hoping that I won’t let it become a permanent fixture in my life, but it is hard when feeling increasingly isolated and find myself, as I approach 30 next year, looking back on my twenties and wondering what I’ve achieved and whether I will ever get to where I want to go. The physical symptoms of anxiety are now something I worry about more than anything. My anxiety stems so much from the fear of embarrassing myself, the need to appear “normal” (whatever that is), and worrying about what people are thinking, that now, rather than worrying about the things I used to, I worry far more about experiencing the panic and looking foolish as a result. I am essentially afraid of fear, and it is all too easy to get caught up in the vicious cycle and stop doing things altogether, but so few people understand it.
    I find comfort in distractions and permanently have my head in a book, or my eyes transfixed by my laptop or the tv, and it is by these means that sometimes I also find little glimmers of hope. It is through a renewed enthusiasm for Sherlock Holmes that I sought out people on Twitter with similar interests, and now have a whole host of Sherlockians that I follow on a regular basis. Perhaps one day I will pluck up the courage to join the odd conversation or even attend an event or convention. Like you this would be a big deal for me, but it is nice to have something to aim for and someone that, to me, seems like an inspiration. Thank you so much once again for posting this. I understand how difficult it is to type these things, likewise I will probably have spent forever writing and re-writing this, regret posting it the minute I do, and then worry about all my spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and whether I seem like a complete loon, but you should know your efforts were worth it. You are most definitely brave (don’t listen to that little voice!), and it has cheered me up to read your thoughts on a day that otherwise, given the earlier dreadful news, would have looked rather gloomy x

    1. Hi Kate! (Please say hi on twitter so I can follow you back and say hi too) Thank you for sharing your response with me and anyone else who reads my blog. I’m reading this with a little mist in my eyes here. Your words have touched me as much as mine have touched you. I have all those same feelings…I can’t tell you how much the song “Let It Go” means to me…”conceal don’t feel, don’t let them in” that’s been me for YEARS now. But there are times when we need to let go a little. Step out from behind the computer or our comfort zone…hell I ordered and wore a custom Sherlock BBC inspired corset at 221b Con. I don’t know why I did it, but i did and it felt good. It also felt super scary.

      Oh there are days I do not want to leave the house or curse myself for making plans that I don’t want to keep. But I have tried to do one thing each day that scares me. Or would otherwise cause a panic attack. I really want to thank you post commenting. 🙂 You rock! I’m usually around hiding behind my keyboard and ready with an open ear.

      1. Thank you so much for replying! As expected, the familiar doubts crept in the minute I pressed send and I did a fair bit of pacing about as a result (I wonder how many miles I’ve covered in recent years!), so it put a genuine smile on my face to know that you appreciated it!
        You are absolutely right that we must sometimes push ourselves to try and do the things that frighten us, or risk letting it take hold completely. It’s so easy to just shut the door and try and get lost in our own thoughts, never doing the things we really want to, but then if those things weren’t difficult I don’t suppose it would feel half as good to then go on to achieve them. That’s absolutely amazing about your trip to 221b Con, it must have been really frightening but I can imagine it felt great being there – it’s just taking that first step into the unknown that’s the hard bit.
        After all these years I know what to expect, I can cope with the panic without thinking I’m about to keel over (when it first started, I’d not long lost my dad to a sudden heart attack and was constantly convinced I was going the same way), but it’s all those ‘what if?’ thoughts that start to snowball and can be so difficult to stop. These days I have a hard time being in places where I can’t easily escape without people noticing, such as restaurants, theatres etc., but I’m trying really hard to push myself a little just occasionally. I’ve still managed the odd trip to the theatre and a couple of weddings this year, I hold down a part-time job and have forced myself to do a few evening classes that I’ve loved, but it’s knowing to recognise these positives, rather than over-analysing and focusing on all the things I still find hard, or the past experiences that haven’t turned out so well.
        Really I suppose so much of it is frame of mind – I know anxiety will probably follow me around my entire life, but it’s whether I choose to let it take over or not. Sometimes I might feel like it’s winning, but that doesn’t mean I can’t occasionally beat it to the finish line. I think you’re absolutely brilliant for how well you seem to deal with it, that you challenge yourself on a daily basis and that you were brave enough to post your experiences. It really is quite cathartic to write these things down sometimes, and to find that other people go through the exact same things that you do. You can always find me @Fierybiscuits on Twitter, as long as you don’t mind the sporadic ramblings of an English, tea swilling, dog loving, heritage enthusiast with a penchant for anything Holmes related. Thanks so much once again, it’s really made me smile 🙂

      2. Big *hugs* and a *high five* to you for your amazing comments and sharing here! What you said about anxiety is very true for me too. I know it isn’t going away any time soon. In fact it will probably be with me to the very end. But I guess I’ve learned it doesn’t have to define me. Instead I define me.

        I have to tell you I am going on another trip for this other Sherlock convention/meet-up in Virginia this weekend and I am already in hyper here comes the anxiety monster mode. So I’m opting to do some writing and music listening to try to not think about how anxious I am. I think it’s all about the little tricks we pull out of our sleeves to pull a fast one and gain the upper hand over anxiety and depression. but that’s just me.

        I think you are fantastic and I am so happy you shared with me twice now. 🙂 Also I’m now following you on twitter because I love all the things you mentioned and also and more importantly we all need to stick together!

  3. Just posting this is a brave act. Bravery isn’t about not feeling fear, it’s about acting in spite of it, and you have done so. 🙂
    I wish you all the best.

  4. Returns big *hugs* and a *high five*

    Definitely, whatever little tricks we can find to help us along the way! We must all stick together and try and share a little if and when we can – it always helps to know we’re not the only ones going through the usual trials and tribulations 🙂

    Thanks so much for following on Twitter, I spend far too much time on there but don’t say an awful lot! That’s great about your trip this weekend, you’ll be a convention veteran in no time. Hope you have a brilliant time!

    Take care x

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