I’ve been trying to remove negativity from my life. That sounds like such a ridiculous statement, but hear me out. I’ve deactivated Facebook, I don’t obsessively follow the news anymore- I just catch the headlines and move on, and I’ve tried to avoid super negative people and situations that I know trigger my anxiety. So far its worked pretty well. The problem is that I can’t ignore all of the negative people in my life. I don’t mean people having a bad day or going through a stressful time, but people who delight in always pointing out the negative in every situation.
They make you defend yourself constantly against their negativity, they have very little positivity in their lives and they drip their poison into your ears every opportunity they get. The problem with these energy vampires is that you don’t even realize that they are stealing your joy, you just start doubting yourself slightly more, feel a little more drained after a chat with them, stop noticing the positive things in your life and eventually you are permanently on the defense as you feel attacked from all sides.
In order to combat the energy vampires in my life I’ve started meditating, asked my primary care physician to adjust my anxiety meds and I’ve developed all these weird little rituals to keep me grounded. I do a quick breathing exercise every time I wash my hands, I take a sip of water when I feel my thoughts are starting to meander into dark places, and when I really start to feel stressed I simply excuse myself from the situation and go for a quick walk to clear my head. It doesn’t always work, sometimes you have to shut down and remove yourself from the situation in order to get some clarity but at the end of the day my mental health is more important that possibly appearing rude.
This whole word vomit is just me trying to justify how I managed to get my feelings hurt by someone that I considered to be a friend, that I knew wasn’t good for my mental health and that I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt. When I started looking out for my mental health and not engaging with topics that trigger my anxiety, they saw it as me being defensive. Long story short, my feelings got hurt and they feel like they are owed an apology. Mental health issues suck.
A week ago we watched as a political protest turned violent and erupted into rioting and looting. We stared in horror as images of burned out shopping centres, factories,and medical centres and mobs of angry people flashed across our screens. My kids asked if they could sleep in my room cause they were scared of the sounds of gunshots, sirens, and screaming coming from our usually quiet little suburb.
Then the fear mongering started. The endless messages and voice notes about how the violence was race related. How we would be murdered in our beds. How the government is trying to kill all of their “enemies”. And then it got worse. We started running out of food and fuel. People queued for hours only to be sent away empty handed. You could smell the fear and desperation in the air. It smelt like burning rubber.
Then out of the ashes came hope. Ordinary people banded together to protect their homes and businesses. The community came together to clean up after the devastating fires. They shared food and resources with each other.
But the feel good insta posts didn’t help my anxiety at all. I had to take a break from all social media because I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t function because I had to know if we would be safe. I had to be ready. I packed “go bags”. I don’t know why. We had no where to go. All the major roads had been closed. The fear and anxiety pushed me to a place where I no longer had feelings. I just felt numb all the time. And it didn’t scare me. I was perfectly functional but not ok.
It’s not over. Sporadic violence is still breaking out all over the place. I’m starting to feel like more like a person again, which is good. I hope I can keep it together enough to get through the next week.
Sunday nights are the saddest night of the week. Not only do I have to mourn that weekend that is over, I also have to start preparing for the week to come. It’s not that I don’t like my job, I just don’t own my time during the week. It belongs to adulting and responsibilities. Weekends are for fun and family. Sunday nights are the gatekeepers of the week.
Hope is a tricky thing. I don’t think I can exactly explain what the concept of “hope” is. Is it waking up on Christmas morning? That feeling you get that something awesome is just around the corner? Or is it the desperate understanding that things just have to get better, because you will not survive if they get worse.
I have no idea. I don’t know when last I felt hope. I use the word a lot “I hope this email finds youwell”, “I hope you feel better”. “I hope to never feel this way again”. But I still don’t know what that means. Then again, the absence of hope also sucks. Being hopeless is just as bad, that cold, numb nothingness that weighs you down from the inside out.
I might not have an exact definition of hope but I’m not going to stop looking for it, the absence of it is simply to horrifying to imagine
My brain had been busy the whole day today, but I haven’t been able to form any coherent thoughts. I don’t know why. My train of thoughts derailed early this morning already when I sat staring into the distance instead of getting ready for work.
The good thing about daydreaming the day away is that my day went really fast, the downside is that my brain feel is like it’s stuffed with marshmallows right now. I wasn’t thinking of anything specific, I actually can’t remember a single detail. It was a good day.
I’ve been on a bit of a minimalist kick lately, I’ve gone through cupboards and boxes, throwing away and donating stuff that I just don’t need or want anymore. It’s scary how much clutter I’ve managed to accumulate the last few years. I usually have an annual declutter where I systematically go through the whole house and sort out all of our stuff. It’s a whole process that takes ages to organise and usually ends in tears and frustration as there is just so much to do!
This, however is different. Gentler. More impulsive. It started when I decided to rearrange my desk. Then a few days later, I rearranged the spice cupboard. I’ve done the linen cupboard and I’ve sorted out all my clothes. There is no rhyme or reason. When the mood strikes and I feel restless, I put on my headphones and go and sort some stuff out. It helps.
Maybe I’m using decluttering as a coping mechanism. The world is a very messy place but at least I can clean my closets. Maybe it’s not that deep, I might just be tired of not being able to find anything in the junk drawer when I’m looking for batteries. Who knows?
…said the well meaning person as they watched me take my antidepressants. “You seem absolutely fine”. Of course I do. I’ve been pretty well medicated for the past 5 months. I’ve spent hours talking to a therapist, learning different coping mechanisms and I have to actively work on seeming “absolutely fine”.
But I’m worried that I’m not fine. I’m worried that I haven’t actually made any progress at all and it’s only the medication keeping my depression and anxiety under control. It stresses me out that my prescription is coming to an end soon and I’m not sure if my script will be renewed as my Doctor doesn’t like extending scripts long term. I’m worried that all the little tips and tricks I’ve learnt to keep the anxiety at bay are simply band aids, and that I’m not actually managing my anxiety, I just think I am.
Perhaps the pandemic has helped my depression and anxiety more than I had realised. In the before times, I would go to work and then come home and deal with my kids while stressing about work. Now I go to work, come home and work out/study/have fun with the kids and don’t think about work at all. Every weekend is packed with activities, I’m having proper quality time with my family. I have filled my days with things that make me happy. My relationship with my daughters have improved so much and our home life is so calm and peaceful.
The question is, has the medication allowed me to get out of my own way so that I could finally apply all the things I learnt in therapy? Or is the progress only due to the medication. Obviously I’m hoping that the meds have helped me to make the initial changes and that by the time I start weaning off of them I already have the tools to cope. But that’s not something I can worry about now, for now all I can do is keep taking my meds and hope for the best.
Seriously, I actually am. For the first time in a while I feel cool, calm and collected. Still a raging bitch but I’m not angry. Or anxious.
I’ve tried lots of things over the years to manage my anxiety. None of it worked. I don’t have a magic bullet, or even an answer why I feel less anxious now. I cleaned up my diet and started doing daily exercise. I’ve also got a weekly planner. It’s oddly soothing to write down what I’m doing for the week. As plans change and things get added I simply annotate and move on. It’s really cool.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a nice person. Sure I can be nice, but I’m not a nice person. Apart from suffering from social anxiety, I’m also an introvert, and a very sarcastic person. This is not a good combination
My tactlessness has caused a great deal of discomfort to my family over the years, add the social anxiety on and you really have a problem! I’ve decided to work on being a nicer person in 2021. I have no idea how I will accomplish that but I’ve put it on my “to do list”. That fucking list is so long already, one more thing won’t really matter. Well, that wasn’t nice was it? I can see that I will have my work cut out for me!