Accepting my anxiety has been so important in this muddle of an anxious journey. Accepting something which is out of your control is hard in a lot of circumstances. When something chooses you and you don’t choose it, it is sometimes hard to be okay with that. In a way that’s how I felt about my anxiety for a long time. I felt like I had lost control of part of my brain and it just didn’t work the way I wanted it to anymore. I chose to fight it. Unfortunately though, it won. A lot. And in the midst of some of my worst patches I wasn’t able to leave the house, go to work and at one point feel confident enough to look after my own son. It wasn’t like that every day and a lot of the time is was manageable if I used basic coping strategies that I had self taught from various books and websites but it became a huge part of both mine and my families life.
For a while I think I had felt like I had won the fight. I wouldn’t be the person who got anxiety. I wasn’t going to be mentally ill. That’s how I thought. I was incredibly naive about it and unfortunately that came back to bite me on the bum! It was always there, always in the background but I managed after a while of having anxiety after having Little Man. I was fine through my next pregnancy and I was even fine in the months after it. After losing my baby and my other baby in neonatal I think everyone around me fully expected me to crumble but I didn’t. I was fine. That’s the weird thing about anxiety, there is no rhyme or reason.
Then it came back but so much worse. I struggled to do certain things, normal things and at first I felt beaten. I just couldn’t bear to be like that again, to be ruled by it. However, I slowly started to feel differently about it this time. In my own way, I let it win and I stopped fighting it. Not because I was giving into it or because I was weak. In fact it was just the opposite, I felt stronger. I took myself off to the Doctors, I got some medication and I went from there.
The medication has really helped but it’s a low dose and I still have really anxious periods for days at a time. I have just come out of one of those but one thing I really noticed was how much more accepting of my anxiety I have become. I let it be there. I know nothing awful is going to happen as a result of it because I have been there and feeling like that so many times. I just say to myself that the reason I am feeling that way is because of my anxiety and I carry on with my day. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not pleasant and it’s not fun to be standing in a playground on the school run feeling awful and I long for the day that anxiety isn’t part of my life anymore but I can still do things, I can still function. I have to know my limits, there are some things I just couldn’t deal with but I have accepted that too. Quite often at the point I tell myself that I am feeling anxious, it starts to ease off. I distract myself as much as I can and try not to change my plans because of it as that would make me focus more on the feelings.
Anxiety is an uphill struggle and I am by no means an expert but I have really found that accepting it and letting it be has really helped me cope with it. It’s all about finding what works for you when it comes to mental health; be that medication, counselling, your own coping strategies. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it works for you. If you are reading this and feeling like I have described, remember this lots of support out there for you and it can get better.