If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to experience anxiety, you’ll be all too familiar with the physical symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, etc
I’ve had them all, including really obscure ones like feeling my tongue had swollen up to twice its size, itching all over like I’d had an allergic reaction, and hearing a constant low buzzing noise (I still get this one actually).
But I’d got each and every one under control, mostly down to regular exercise and a good diet. I never get the panicky feeling anymore, and in my naivety I actually thought I was over it, I was normal again. I haven’t written anything about it in ages, I felt like a fraud – how can I have a blog about anxiety when I don’t have it anymore? I nearly got rid of my website altogether. Silly, silly me.
What I failed to see was that my anxiety had been secretly changing, and had transformed into brand new, less obvious signs. It had snuck in through the back door. It has been keeping me prisoner in my own mind again, and I was in complete denial about it.
For months I have been unable to write. My brain has been filled with so many things I have wanted to get down on paper, but something has physically stopped me. I have literally sat down to write and have frozen. Physically unable to move my arms, while recurring intrusive thoughts spin round in my head – why bother, you’re shit at it anyway, what’s the point?
It’s more than writer’s block. I’ve got plenty of things to say, and loads of ideas for blog posts, but I haven’t been able to (I started writing this post in October). My brain always seems to find other things to do first, and I promise myself that ‘I’ll do it later’. Procrastination is a bitch.
But writing is my outlet. I know I’m not particularly good at it, and don’t profess to be, but like many others I have always used it as therapy. I hate the fact this illness is robbing me of that, when it has already sucked the joy out of everything else.
Another, fundamental reason for not writing is time. I have a full time job, a young daughter, a home and a new puppy to sort out. I also have to factor in exercise. I get up at 6am most days to workout before my day starts. If I have to choose between working out and writing I will choose the former, because that is how I control my anxiety and overall mood. Exercise is my antidepressant, so I absolutely cannot miss a session.
But I know writing gives me just as much of a release, and more crucially, a mental one. It enables me to make sense of my often racing thoughts, and find a way through my brain fog. I simply have to make time.
Another weird symptom I’ve noticed is memory loss. It’s so bad, especially with people’s names. I started a new job in September and I am still struggling to remember everyone who works there. It’s not that I don’t know them, it’s that my brain goes into panic mode and churns out a million different names before it finds the right one.
I’ve also had to write things down as soon as I’ve thought about them. Whether that be an idea for a blog post, shopping lists or boring stuff like paying bills. I never had to do that before, I would always remember every little detail.
So I guess here we are again anxiety, my old friend. I thought we were done, but now I realise we never will be. I won’t let you take away my passion though. You have evolved and changed to tighten your grip, and therefore so must I. The fight back begins now.