The Anxiety Goblin
I think it’s about time I wrote this post. I’ve been thinking about it for while, every time I read any of the burgeoning discussion and dialogue that’s building at the moment to break down the taboo about mental health issues and so I hope by writing this post, here’s my contribution.
HERE’S THE THING. I’ve suffered from anxiety my whole life, have been treated for it on multiple occasions and last year for the first time I was also put on anti-depressants. Weird INNIT? I spend so much of my time online blogging about all the wonderful and whimsical things in the world whilst a vast majority of my days feel like BLUMMIN’ HARD WORK from inside my head.
I’ve always been a worrier but a few years ago my anxiety got too bad for me to manage on my own. I was sneaking out of my job as a teaching assistant to go and have panic attacks in the girls loos and realised when I found myself unable to breathe and rooted to the spot with crippling fear in the middle of Sainsburys that it was probably time to get some help. Worry is a good thing in moderation, it’s the fight or flight instinct which is really handy for like, keeping us alive but it’s not so useful when you’ve simply popped out for a pint of milk.
People always ask what it is that I worry about. MATE I DUNNO. The thing about anxiety is that it hits people in all shapes and forms and expresses itself in a different way for everyone and the only thing it always has in common is that it’s totally irrational. There are small, specific things that make me more anxious than I should be (speaking on the phone is one of mine for example I bloody hate it! And don’t even talk to me about how I feel when plans change at the last minute. SHUDDER.) but when it’s at its worst, it’s just this constant, impending sense of foreboding. I think of it like walking round with a horrible little goblin on your shoulder telling you over and over again that something bad is going to happen and whispering negative comments and criticism to everything you do, say and feel. Telling you you’re a failure, that you’re making bad decisions, everyone hate you and you’re the fugliest little thing to ever walk the planet. He’s an real babe like that <3.
And then once that’s happening, the physical stuff begins. Pounding, thundering heart, shallow breathing, numb hands- OOH IT’S AN ABBBBSOLUTE TREAT. I find that my anxiety is at it’s worst when my brain just simply isn’t busy enough. If I’m not focused 100% on what I’m doing, then my brain starts to find something else to do, and inevitably, that means it starts to worry.
My standard panic at the moment comes from the fear of WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE. So often it feels like I’m totally failing, like everyone else is at least on the path to being sorted and leaving me further and further lagging behind. A stuttering career, financial instability, the concept of spinsterhood becoming ever more real, 30 looming real quick and a body clock I wasn’t aware of suddenly beginning to tick ever louder. The panic of all that suddenly seemed to crash last year and instead of constantly worrying about it, I began to feel just so sad about it that I lost all motivation to even be arsed to worry about it. It seemed too big to even think about and try to untangle into manageable amounts, so I just gave up. I felt so sad and listless all the time and had no idea how to help myself out. And I was so scared because that feeling was so far from a person that I recognised.
Admitting that you’re worried and/or depressed isn’t the easiest thing to do. You want to prove that you’re coping and resilient and self sufficient and I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF THANK YOU VERY MUCH. But you know what? That’s not very brave. Real bravery comes from swallowing your stubborn mule pride and admitting that you could do with a bit of help.
So I did! BECAUSE I AM SUPER BRAVE LOL. I’ve had CBT and even went away on to a residential retreat to try and tackle why I was so panicky and worried all the time. And it really did help, I no longer freak out in front of the cucumbers in Sainsburys anymore which is WICKED! Obviously, when I asked for help with my anxiety, I worried that I wasn’t worried enough and when I went to the doctor to express how utterly blue I was I worried that I wasn’t depressed enough to ask for help. Which kind of proved the point in itself. HAHAHAHAHAHA FOOL OF A TOOK.
And now every morning I take a gentle tablet which, far from being a magic happy pill and leaving me absolutely spangled just takes a slight edge off which gives me enough of a mood lift to feel motivated enough to take on the day and feel like myself. And every day I apply my coping strategies to try and break down any irrational anxiety that pops into my head and to twat that goblin on my shoulder round the face.
I realise that I’m not saying anything wildly revolutionary or meaningful here and I’ll be honest- I wrote this post because today the worry is bad, the goblin on my shoulder is being a RIGHT PRICK and I thought it might help to scribble this down. And it has! Also, a lot of the time I actually talk to my friends about the irrational stuff that’s swirling round my head, nine times out of ten they have similar stories to tell and experiences to share, which helps me not feel so spirally and mental. So bearing that in mind listen, huns, it’s fucking hard to cope with and to keep that goblin in check, so if yours is also being a bellend or you’re having to wash you hands a million times or you’re feeling a big sad that you can’t move out from under and no matter who says ‘just relax, don’t worry about it’ or ‘cheer up!’ (OH WOW THANKS DUNNO WHY I HAVEN’T TRIED THAT BEFORE- said every anxious/depressed person ever) you just can’t- listen. WE GOT THIS. You’re not mental, you’re normal as fuck mate.
No more taboo. Let’s chat about this shit.
LOVE YOU IM OFF TO EAT A SHERBET DIPDAP NOW