You know when you print out a lot and your printer over heats, and it has a mini meltdown? I went through something similar this month. I've been umming and ahhing about writing this post, and even considered pretending May was amazing for me, filled with lots of exciting adventures, but then that wouldn't be fair on you.
I've suffered from anxiety since I was around 16 but it's always been in the background and has never completely took over. Everything that made me me, bubbly, happy, outgoing, was polarized At a time when everything seemed to be going my way, everything I'd worked towards was starting to materialize I felt like my world was crumbling and I couldn't control it. When leaving the house I had to set a timer on my phone for when I would be back, and constantly look at it to reassure myself. I lost interest in everything I loved doing and had a passion for as I was so exhausted from having multiple panic attacks a day. That included blogging. My friends and family knew something was up when I isolated myself through frustration and fear. After two weeks of telling myself it would pass, I decided I needed to take action.
Raised in the Beyonce generation, I'm used to throwing my hands up, shouting "I'm independent" and earning my own handbags. Asking for help felt like I was loosing some of my independence, but I've now discovered it's the complete opposite. Being able to ask for help is taking things into your own hands and not let things take over your life. After doing a bit of research I decided to pop along to a Cognitive Behavior Therapy session. I'm going to do more on it after I've finished the sessions, but the improvement in one week is jaw-dropping. One common misconception about anxiety is that it always means someone is in too deep. I myself thought that it was a sign of weakness and meant I couldn't cope, which terrified me. Turns out anxiety doesn't necessarily have any connection with stress for some people. What I've been experiencing is a reaction to certain situations, and my body has just gone on overdrive, forgetting about thinking rational. Yes, for some people these actions are triggered by stress, but there are a number of additional factors that play a part, including low confidence and just your general personality. CBT changes the way your body subconsciously reacts to situations and alters how you process thoughts. After just one introductory session, I've been more like me than I have been for a month or two. I've felt like my old self again, bubbly and full of determination.
I know that is quite heavy for a monthly catch up but this is all that's happened. It took over my life, but hopefully not anymore. I was really nervous about posting this because as I said, I didn't like admitting something was up, but anxiety is something that will affect the vast majority of people, regardless of their circumstances and background. I'm not pretending that everything is going to be perfect and that I won't have anxiety once I finished CBT, because I will. It's apart of me and is just something I'm going to have to deal with. I am so happy and relieved I took the first step to getting some support. Whilst before I felt frustrated at my behavior and scared about my life falling apart, now I'm optimistic and positive. I am determined to not let anxiety change my life, affect the way I live my life and burn me out like it did this month. You will never be able to control what you think, but you can control how you deal with those thoughts. Fingers crossed I will now start dealing with them in a more productive way.
If you've had CBT or been through something similar I'd love to hear your thoughts.