Leaving a situation the other day feeling silly and embarrassed by my anxiety I realised, whilst there is a lot more talk about mental health, there is still a long way to go until people really understand it.
I only felt silly and embarrassed because it was hard for someone to realise how a normal situation can create anxiety. I quickly changed how I felt – not a healthy way of thinking and was based more on the other person’s thoughts than mine.
I know the thoughts in my head which create my anxiety are irrational; they are usually about normal day-to-day activities which everyone does. It’s amazing and scary how a normal activity like driving to the shops or going on a family day out can generate thoughts that lead to physical reactions like nausea, panic attack, shaking, crying, lack of sleep.
I can’t stop these thoughts. I am learning how to lessen those thoughts by questioning them, meditating, having enough sleep, eating food which can help. But I still have them.
Whilst I might look calm and in control there is usually a conversation (sometimes a battle) going on in my head. As well as this ongoing conversation I am a wife, a Mum, a dog owner and an employee and trying to keep our day-to-day life on track. It can be hard work and tiring.
If I let these irrational thoughts grow they create more anxiety. A vicious circle to be avoided so dealing with the thoughts early is the best way forward. As one thought is reduced in power and sometimes disappears, another can raise its head.
I don’t want special treatment, I don’t want people to keep asking how I am or feel sorry for me. There are lots of people like me out there. There will be times when we will need help, when the anxiety becomes too much and we can’t cope and other times when the anxiety is minimal or non-existent.
What I would like is for people, at work and when they are out, to look around and realise that for all those people who look calm and as if they are coping with day-to-day activities some are working really hard at doing them.
I love the question
‘What if you measured your achievements in happiness, peace of mind and fun?”
Maybe if we concentrated on measuring our achievements this way instead of concentrating on material items and money we would all start to be more compassionate and understanding to each other, which would make a huge difference to those with a mental health illness.