Last night I watched with interest, reality star of TV’s Great British Bake Off , Nadiya open up about her struggle with anxiety. It was hard hitting and emotional to say the least, and I’m very proud of what she has done by allowing the TV programme Nadiya: Anxiety and Me to be created, let alone aired.
I’ve long talked openly about my anxiety and by doing so I believe that it’s a way of helping me control my anxiety and I often state that I’m now ‘managing my anxiety‘ but, last nights TV show caused my eyes to well up at the realisation that, although I think I’m in control of my anxiety, it’s very much the other way around on a lot of occasions.
The Pain of Anxiety
It pains me to realise that anxiety is a MONSTER that I’m continually fighting to keep at bay.
I honestly can’t believe how much I related my experiences to Nadiya’s when she explained how she keeps herself busy with her baking to ‘keep the monster at bay‘. You will find articles already written by myself that talk about being creative and how I create gemstone healing bracelets and photography as a form of stress relief and practicing mindfulness.
I think it was at this point that my partner got up and left the room and I wondered if the TV programme was hard for him to watch. Of course my anxiety levels started ticking as I began overthinking the reason for him leaving. Indeed, it was the first thing on my mind as soon as I woke up. I’ve asked him why and he told me that the chair was uncomfortable. I will park that comment here as I’m starting to well up.
The pain of anxiety is the realisation of how I am almost, or am (do I even want to admit this?), obsessive to the point of having to have MAXIMUM CONTROL for the fear of something going wrong. The anxiety has kicked in ten-fold now at the thought of how my anxiety affects Mark, my family and my colleagues at work. I want to scream out that I’M NOT A CONTROL FREAK and I now wonder if that phrase describes people with anxiety?
Is this why, like Nadiya I hate the thought of catching a train?
Please read my article about decatastrophising to read about my experience of CBT and what I said about catching the train. Is this because catching a train is something we believe we cannot control as trains are late or they might not arrive, or might get lost etc?
I was watching this section of the TV show with a smile on my face as it’s well known that I hate trains and I will avoid at all cost. I did actually think at one point that this section was a bit of a ‘cop out‘ as she had her CBT therapist with her, so it’s not like having to spend time knowing that you have to get on a train to go somewhere ON YOUR OWN! To be fair to Nadiya and everyone else who might be thinking that I’m being a bit harsh, everyone is different and it was only a thought that flashed across my mind as her anxiety was infectious when watching her try to keep her gaze upwards and not at the floor. The pain of anxiety got more and more real the longer the programme continued.
So I ask myself the question, where exactly am I now with my anxiety?
Well, that phrase ‘keeping the MONSTER at bay‘ just sums it up big time and for those of you who also suffer anxiety and there are lots of us that do, you will know exactly what this means. I do manage it to a point where I’m going to work everyday and only last week I had to catch the train on my own EVERYDAY! I felt like a cheat though as I had to leave work early to avoid rush hour and to feel safe, but I did it, so I must be managing it or am I simply in a continual fight to KEEP THE MONSTER AT BAY?
This is the reason why anxiety is a pain and this is the reason why I have anxiety now about having anxiety.
Mental Health Awareness Week 13th to the 19th May
I’ve supported the Mental Health Foundation UK’s MHAW for two years now, staging events at work to help raise awareness. It really is essential that WE ALL do openly talk about mental health, because there’s nothing worse that suffering alone. I find immense relief in realising that I’M NOT ALONE and only this morning from a conversation with my sister about watching Nadiya last night, did we both realise that we both have an obsessive need for control due to our anxieties.