Hooray for The Happy Pills
Hooray for the happy pills I say. A voice I hear in my head and a joke cracked after a Pilates class. In moments of stress slash relief I find myself doing some religious gesture of praise and thanks for anxiety medication. And I know I am not alone. I am in the mental health weirdo club like the rest of them.
Don’t be shocked,
I find humour breaks the awkward barriers of talking about mental health. Awwwkkwwaarrdddd
I probably have had anxiety in my life for a long time but didn’t recognise it. I thought people who had panic attacks blew into brown paper bags. It turns out there are stacks of symptoms and my anxiety doesn’t look like that. It is probably the source of arguments and failed relationships both work and friends in my life. I have a love hate relationship with my anxiety. She stops me in my tracks but also allows me to form new relationships with other weirdos or empaths like me.
The Good News
I am one used but in good condition woman who owns her anxiety and just cracks on. So when I reached for my pills this morning, I thought I am actually happy except for and social anxiety which likes to show its ugly head.
A Ridiculous Example of My Anxiety
I drive to Wales which is about 3 hours from my house.
I am tired due to early start and hideous weather whilst driving
I am meeting my family at a venue that I am not too familiar with
I over-read the situation
I line up alone to get my Roast Carvery as I was late and the others had started
I felt hot because I was anxious and therefore producing cortisol which makes me hot….
…. In my head is superfast motion mixed with ultra slow motion, my chest is racing and feel closed in. I feel like someone is shaking my head really fast and the world I am observing is so slow, time has stopped.
I sit down. My sister-in-law tries to talk to me and I can’t talk back. My chin is quivering and my eyes are filled with tears.
I grab her hand and whisper “I am having a panic attack, bare with me”.
I poke my food.
I control my breathing
I have a word with myself “they are my family for ficks sake, they love me”
I settle my anxiety
..and then it passes…. In this situation you can see the perfect storm that could manifest as anxiety right? But equally, a drive to see your family shouldn’t creates such powerful triggers.
On Reflection, I probably have had this for a long time. Getting ready to go out, in busy shopping malls, crowded supermarkets… there is a pattern. It all involves out of the comfort zone.
Comfort Zones Suck
The battle is that my personality and behaviour type doesn’t sit with mental anxiety. I am a rebel, a visionary, a warrior, a storyteller, a seeker, a rescuer, a pioneer, a networker, a matchmaker… all the things that involves stepping out of my comfort zone.
Secretly I am Shy
I have stood on a stage in front of thousands, I have presented fitness classes in front of hundreds, I have spoken at events filled with amazing people and yet I need to resort to a quiet place to refuel, rebuild strength and allow myself time to breathe. Is it this that exacerbates my anxiety. My split personality? My capability to turn on showtime and park my pain of struggling mental health? I quite like being on my own. I like my own company.
I know I am not alone
I talk with so many people who have anxiety and or depression. There are so many reasons this has happened but in the end it is about our capacity to function. To listen to our bodies and re-engage when you feel ready.
Mindfulness works for Me …. (and wine)
I am blessed that I discovered being mindful at the age of 19. It truly brings me back and helps me listen to myself. I have gratitude to have great mindful practitioners in my life and mostly I love to teach it forward in any capacity. You don’t have to hug a tree by the way.
I ground myself and bring myself back into the moment by tapping techniques. Focused breathing helps too.
I would love to hear how you cope? What helps you get through the day? What are your tips for grounding yourself? How do you rebuild or refuel?
So back to the headline.
Mental health is a thing. We know that right? It is still awkward to demonstrate it though. It is a real ugly pain in the ass thing. But in the end, it is MY THING. I am grateful that I am mostly under control. I am grateful for joining the conversation with others who struggle with their mental health whatever is going on. I am grateful that I can reach out and be there on some level to others who are suffering. I am super grateful to my friends and familam for knowing the signs and supporting me through attacks.But mostly, I am glad to be alive.