All before my first cup of coffee…

I wake up to the feeling of someone standing on my chest. I don’t mean that literally but I guess metaphorically that is what’s happening… rejection makes for one hell of an anxiety ride…

One by one each problematic scenario runs through my body like electricity, my heart rate increases and by body temperature rises.

Now my mind has cycled through all of my current “problems”, lets flash back 10 years and work our way forward, ensuing we put emphasis on every poor decision I have ever made…

Suffering anxiety for so long now, I have survival tactics… “Cool, we are doing this again today?” yes….that is me talking out loud to my anxiety… It helps I promise.

All of this and I haven’t even opened my eyes for the day…it’s going to be a long day!

These lows are killing me…

You lifted me in to the sky, higher than I have ever flown in this lifetime. little did I know, I just had further to fall when you let me go…

Your mistake was performing ‘love’ without emotion…mine was believing you…

 

Which came first?…Disappointment or Anxiety…

I wonder if it is my Anxiety that leads to disappointment or is it the disappointment creating my anxiety.

I think now is an important time for me to say that I’m not someone who dwells in disappointment, I push it deep down and move on with my day….super healthy right! Nothing more calming for the soul than that crushing feeling of inadequacy pulsing through your chest while you try to get on with the day to day…

Obviously I am full aware that this is something that I need to work on, but I’m not sure were to start and if in fact there is a healthy way of dealing with an abundance of disappointment.

Back to my opening question, Does my Anxiety create a self-fulfilling prophecy of disappointment? sure, focusing on anything in a positive light is one of the most difficult things to do when experiencing anxiety. As suggested by self help professionals and spiritual healers the more we focus on the negative outcomes, it is more likely that we will achieve a negative outcome.

Plot twist…after endless instances of being disappointed, does this slowly break down the protective layer to the core. Circulating through the body and soul like thick black clouds in a storm. Building and building into a savage spout of anxiety.

Both seem plausible to me. When I close my eyes and visualise each scenario, they both seem right…

As I am currently experiencing a lot of disappointment from the seemingly unhealthy relationships I have surrounded myself in, I though of this as a good opportunity to investigate which one of my scenarios are correct.

During a week of feeling low and let down, I started focusing on my emotions as they rose and fell with each poor conversation and unanswered text message.

My conclusion…like attracts like.

The more I focused on these hopeless relationships I was grasping to hold on to, the more I realised that not only was I self destructive but I also realised these people weren’t fighting for me in return. The more emphasis I put on thoughts of loosing these people, the further they drifted.

So in a week I have realised the sad truth that I value relationships that bring sadness that well out balance the short bursts of happiness they deliver. (Yes this is one of those ‘the truth hurts’ kind of realisations)

BUT, I have also come to love the ‘me’ factor. I am what is important here. I ask myself questions like ‘What makes me happy? ‘ or ‘is this going to bring me joy?’ if the answer is no, then it isn’t something that I am going to force myself to do anymore.

Disappointment can only disappoint if you let it…choose what you want to let in…

The Irony of Anxiety…

I find it ironic that I have failed to write about my anxiety…due to my anxiety.

To me, the worst part about this ride are the people I collect on my way through. When I am suffering, others suffer too. Try as I might, it isn’t easy to keep my inability to function like a normal human a secret. I put pressure on my family and push away the people I care for the most.

I want to confide in my mum or sister and unload the heavy stones of emotion that I have picked up since my last fall and rise. Sure, I have repeatedly done this in the past but what toll am I really putting on them.

They both call me daily to talk about nothing, Mum running through what seems like an anti suicide speech and my sister telling me how strong I am. But I’m not…within my soul I am weak and lost. Any ‘courage’ expressed is through desperation to be normal again and all my strength is drawn from these same two people.

While I pull my family closer and drain their energy, I’m pushing away those who could potentially help the situation. yes, I am aware of this but mid battle my mind doesn’t see logic through clear lenses.

Get out of the house, be social and have fun. Instead I just let myself suffocate alone.

Why? because if you have ever experienced anxiety you will understand that although you know what you need to do to make things better, there is an invisible wall stronger than any physical substance. It will force you to stop thinking from your heart and soul and start acting from your irrational brain.

I am trying to turn it around, this is where I start. I pull my emotions from my chest and write them down.

I feel better for it already.

 

 

 

1,2,3…Action

It feels like everyone is watching me, waiting to see what my next move is. It is like there is this silent expectation that I am about to do something big and spectacular. I would like to say right now…I’m not!!!

I am unsure if it is a combination of my anxiety or hormones but I get this feeling that everyone is thinking ‘come on love, we have given you your time to get over it now do something’.

Right now, I am the performer that has spent the past 9 months preparing for the ‘big show’, I can hear the drum roll, they are announcing my name, the curtain is opening but I’m still in my pyjamas and I’m late…everyone is disappointed and booing me off stage. Yes, this is the imagine I get when I close my eyes once I get off the phone with a family member.

Sure, I know something has got to change but I am so unsure of what and how.

Normally I would find myself in the bath, short of breath from the onslaught of a panic attack while I repeat the question out loud “What do I need to do?”. I guess I always saw this required change as an instant thing. ‘I am clicking my fingers, nothing has changed and I still feel like shit, what is wrong with me’. If I didn’t feel results in the first hmmmm 5 seconds I would abandon hope and let the misery settle for a little longer while I sit naked and pruned in the bath…

In the past 2 months I have changed the way I look at ‘change’. Does it have to be drastic for it to work? no. Does change have to put you completely out of your comfort zone, absolutely not. But as one of my favourite little mantras says “if nothing changes, nothing changes”.

Happiness and Fulfilment shouldn’t be the end result of a 5 year plan, it needs to happen daily. Don’t endlessly reach for the stars… find a nice patch of grass, lay down, look up and admire them every day.

Make your changes by your terms, you know ‘you’ better than anyone else!

 

 

Anxiety, a challenge to grow…

Growing up I didn’t suffer from Anxiety or Depression, I can confirm that I am making up for lost time now…

Sure I can make jokes about my mental health but the reality is, there is nothing funny when you are stuck in the quick sand that is mental illness. Similar to quick sand, the more you fight it the quicker you sink.

Starting this journey 5 years ago with my first panic attack on my mums kitchen bench, saying things like “I am like a tornado, sucking good people in, destroying them and spitting them out” (yes, I have always been heavy on the dramatics). Since then I have learnt so much more about myself and what my triggers are.

Having an idea of what causes these emotions is a great place to start when trying to control them. This process is nothing more than trial and error. I suffer greatly when I neglect myself, obvious but easily done. Once I have skipped a meal here and there, forgotten my vitamins a few days in a row and left my drink bottle in the car…Hungry, lacking nutrition and dehydrated it begins.

My mind lets the hole in my chest expand, the darkness creeps from my chest and begins wrapping itself around each…individual…little thought running through my mind. I will then singlehandedly attempt to obliterate every relationship I have ever had…ever…

I am aware of my actions but the pull to negatively respond  is/was too much in most situations. I work on this now, I have a mantra “it’s not the action, it’s the reaction” is helps to put me in the current moment and focus on not being an asshole, I ask myself “How would I normally react to this?”.

Personally I am effected in many different ways by anxiety and depression and have countless exercises to help overcome the darkness. unfortunately this is todays solution. However I like to put a positive spin on it and see it as a chance to learn.

If I can instil any wisdom on anyone who might be suffering for the first time or even years in…talk about it! Book that appointment and see a therapist, look into spiritual healing and read about other people’s experiences.

I am not cured, but I fall, heal and grow.

10 years on.

I really have no issues talking about my divorce, I guess I find it easier because we have stayed so civil.

However, I feel like bringing up the topic of my divorce is similar to discussing what song I want played at my funeral. It is something that needs to be put out there but it makes for an uncomfortable chat.

Recently I attended my 10-year high school reunion, HA! Yes, I am sure you can imagine how well the night went. The pattern for the evening was waiting until there was a good group of people around to drop the ‘D’ word, this was my ripping the band aid off quickly approach.

The real stand out moment was chatting with a guy I was pretty close to during high school, since school we dropped most communication and lived vicariously through social media. So his first statement was “oh your married now right?” so I went into my quick and rehearsed speech and explained that I was now mid divorce…. blah blah blah…. after about 10 minutes of talking about my situation I remember the last thing that I knew about his life was that he…. just got engaged. All I could muster was a thumbs up and said “marriage is great” followed by an awkward cackle and escaped from the conversation as quickly as I could.

Going into the night I was so worried about being inadequate in comparison to my graduating class. The 27-year-old divorcee with two Chihuahuas and a shitty sense of humour. After doing the rounds it occurred to me, no one is doing anything spectacular. Sure, some people had degrees and some had a list of countries they have visited but at the end of the day, we are all just people. No one is better than anyone else, it is society who has conditioned us to think we must be a certain way in order to be successful…. it’s all crap! Do things for your soul, not your wallet!

 

What have I achieved in 10 years?

Nothing news worthy…I have cried a fair bit but I have laughed a lot more!

It’s all about balance!

Adulting… it’s all an act….

I thought by the time I reached my late 20’s I would be a fully functioning, mentally stable adult.

How do adults become so adutly…washing their hair more than once a week and drinking wine out of wine glasses and not a Christmas edition mickey mouse mug. Did I miss the ‘being responsible’ class?

It feels like my body is aging but my mind is staying in my childhood state. Not that I needed any more reasons for my anxiety door to swing open but now I got to worry about aging! When did that become a thing!

During my divorce I had to down grade my car, I found a very suitable cheap alternative. ‘Brilliant’ a 2001 model, that’s only….16 years old! WTF! When did the millennium get so far away? People born in 2001 are going for their licences…. F off……

Something to avoid if you are feeling similar…. babies, yes babies and their delicate little fingers grasping at my sun damaged, weathered hands. Like a leather jacket over a cashmere sweater.

After experiencing generations of women in my family stress over age lines and wrinkly neck skin I vowed to be the opposite. Embrace the greys and crow’s feet…sure easy to say with teenage youth and skin so tight you can bounce a quarter off of it.

That old saying “we want what we can’t have” seems pretty relevant. There are 50 year olds wishing they were 30 and 10 year olds wishing they were 20 and I am sure there are 40+ years olds who would die to be where I am…

So yes, through countless panic attacks I temporarily disregarded what seems like a lifelong promise to myself to be humble and age gracefully. Temporarily was the key word in that last sentence.

It’s time for me to stop telling myself the negative stories about aging, which have ever so generously been passed down from generation to generation. Now to focus on the good stuff, I am respected at work (didn’t get that at 22), I have a higher earning capability and have worked out the perfect balance of alcohol and pot….

While I am raving about my new found love for growing up, I am smarter…I don’t mean book smarts, more life smart. I have learnt selflessness and gratitude. Honestly, who cares if you drink wine out of a mug just as long as you are grateful for the fact you have wine and a mug to drink from!

It’s all perspective!

Let’s set the scene..

I am 27, working my way through a divorce, down grading my possessions, downsizing my living space and adjusting to loneliness and I’m…OK

Sure suggesting that you are just OK doesn’t sound too convincing but going through the motions of a divorce (no matter how civil) is hard work.

FAILURE! Yes, that’s the dirty word no one will let you say in reference to your…failure. When I was laying in our new king size bed, in our new home in the new estate this word would cycle in my head over and over. ‘If I leave him, how will I tell everyone that I have failed’ or ‘all of those people who doubted our relationship will be cheering that I have once again…failed’. Yes, there is a sense of failure around divorce but as a very close friend ever so profoundly said over brunch one day “The real failure would be staying in a relationship that is making you both miserable”.

Once I had moved on from the ‘I failed’ stage, it was like I opened my eyes one morning and found myself in survival mode. This part was my favourite, I mean who doesn’t love to feel like a strong independent woman who don’t need no man! Unfortunately, it was short lived… after I moved back to our first home I felt the loneliness and my insecurities settle in, I could literally hear my biological clock ticking. I couldn’t help thinking about how time is slipping away so quickly and I am achieving nothing.

Moving back to the smaller house in the rougher neighbourhood didn’t bother me in the slightest, in fact I was excited to have my space back. Leaving with only a couch and a bed also didn’t affect me, it gave me an opportunity to start over. But I couldn’t help feeling like I was going backwards, every SOB on social media where posting engagement rings and ultrasound pictures. Meanwhile I am sitting on one out of the two pieces of furniture I own, weighing up if I had spent long enough at the gym to justify eating the whole tub of ice cream…. the answer is always yes.

The past 8 months have been such a wild ride, honestly I can say that my body has been present but my soul checked out at about the same point my heart checked out of my marriage. It’s as if my soul…my essence faded out in order to protect itself from harm.

And that brings me to why I am writing!

I want to rediscover myself, create a new place of inner peace and document the process weekly!