Anxiety and I...
Grab a cuppa, find a comfy spot and if you fancy... read about anxiety and me... A raw, open blog post. Completely written from the heart.
I haven't blogged for a while... Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes.
Today, on my iPhone, popped up the 'memories' thing... there, was a photo of a bloodied Bear and a video of me talking about what had just happened.
A year ago, today... years of healing, conscious mental health work and huge dollop of courage was obliterated in a spilt second. The moment an off-lead dog burst through a hedge and tried to kill Bear. Bear was on lead. Luckily, we were just starting a canicross run, so he had his harness on, and the bungee lead we were using, saved his life. I was able to continually bounce him out of harm’s way.
The blood on Bear, was from a nicked ear and I think from the boxers’ jowls as he tried to get a grip on Bear.
That day robbed me off all confidence I had been building to go out running with my dog and continue to do what I absolutely loved and lived for.
I have always been anxious. Growing up, I was the 'scaredy cat' of the family... I never took risks, I was 'well behaved' but deep down, it was the continual fear of 'something bad' happening that kept me for REALLY enjoying life. Sadly, only now, in my fifties do I realise that.
A brave, fucking BRAVE move saw me pack up my life at the age of 27 and go backpacking around Europe. That was the start of a new me. I found ME... I LOVED travelling... A bad experience on an Italian train put paid to that one night and I never travelled alone again.
Having my son, brought a whole, newer version of an anxious me to the fore. Yes, I was an anxious overprotective Mom. Thank goodness my son and I have a wonderful connection and relationship and he 'gets' me. It wasn't always like that, but as he has grown up, his own anxiety, depression and mental health has helped to really cement our bond. We HAVE each other... we GET this shit.
His teenage years nearly broke me. On my personal blog (msg me if you want the link) I talk about it in depth... The stress, anxiety and panic just grew from there, but I was blind to it. It was head down and just get the fuck on with shit.
2020 saw me in bed for month, a breakdown came hit me like a tonne of bricks... unable to do much more than drag myself to the bathroom and stomach a few sips of water... I couldn't see a future for myself. I didn't want to do it. The prospect literally scared the living daylights out of me I had to find the strength to pick up the pieces and figure out how to get through this.
With the help of a wonderful therapist (introduced me to the concept of 10 breaths), my GP, an understanding boss and medication, I began to pick up the pieces.
10 Breaths SAVED MY LIFE. The simple practice of seeing my bracelet, holding those ten stones and just stopping to breathe... SAVED ME!
I kept a journal and every single day I wrote down just 5 things I was grateful for. Do you know, that for around a week I left blank spaces in the gratitude section... THAT is how bad I was. I could not think of a SINGLE thing I was grateful for. It breaks my heart now because OH MY GOD, I have SO MUCH. SO SO SO much to be grateful for... and THAT is what keeps me going today.
I look back often at my journal. Today I opened it to this time last year. My entry reads "fuck, fuck, FUCK! I am sick to my stomach. Bear was almost killed today. I can’t do this. I CANT DO THIS! I feel lost... what am I going to do!!!! I am having a panic attack, and I am so scared I am going to break down again”.
What did I do?
I am gentle with myself this time. Previously I would have been OUT THERE the next day running with Bear, shit scared but thinking "fuck it, just do it", running... filling my body adrenaline to the point where it was complete overload... taking days filled with fear, unable to sleep, in complete overdrive with a million things filling the spaces in my day etc...
NO... this time I stopped. I am determined to heal holistically.
We now walk. We stop, we look at flowers, we hug trees (well, he pees on them, I marvel at them). We don’t put ourselves in a situation where I am anxious before I have even gone there. Like going to the woods alone, something a year ago I was completely confident doing... now... I am not... so we don’t do it.
I have no idea if it's the right thing to do... but I am SO over listening to people tell me TO JUST FUCKING DO IT, it will be OK!!!! No... I am NOT OK doing it. I will do when I am ready.
Starting BREATHE has helped me beyond measure to take a step back. It’s my 'meditation' time if you like... I LOVE to just sit and make bracelets, pack parcels, chat to my customers, whom a lot have become 'friends'. It is my down time.
I go out with Bear every single day, but we do the local park, pavements around home, National Trust properties or big homesteads where dogs need to be on lead, and we just take out time and enjoy!
This last two months I have BEEN TO LONDON again (it wasn't plain sailing, but I did it... MY WAY)... something I have been too afraid to do since lockdown.
I feel like I am healing. Being patient with myself and being good to myself, learning to say NO (in progress), doing things on MY TERMS and taking two or three little moments a day to work through my 10 breaths is what is filling my days with CLARITY and CALM!
If you got this far... you need a MEDAL!!! WELL done!!!
I thought I just share it with you because, walking with Bear today, seeing my phone 'memory' and realising how far I have come since this day, a year ago, has made me truly proud of myself.
Anxiety robs us of simple pleasures. I often wonder what it must be like to not be an anxious person... Sometimes I can just about feel it and I am working on that... one day at a time.