Undoing the grip of Anxiety

I have been feeling a lot of anxiety recently so got a bit of a  moan today here for you!

I suspect it has just crept up on me because the usual extended support systems are gone, (dog, old friends, daily nature walks) and I haven’t replaced them yet. It has made me realise how important it is to have a support system in place. A wide base of a support system too. At the moment I have my personal practices but I see that it is not enough. I may have to ask for more help.

Now the stress and anxiety is present to the extent that I have to take some action to mitigate it. This starts with mustering the courage to face my feelings face on. I find that hard at times like this. I try and deny them, and not to feel the pain. Thoughts come up like’I don’t deserve to be compassionate with myself -others are going through a lot worse’, and ‘toughen up, this is first world problems’, and berating myself for not doing better, ‘if you’re crumpling in the face of these measly little problems, how would you face a real problem?’.

It is true that others are going through much worse than this. My dear friend B has recently been made paralysed from the neck down after a fall. There are refugees living in dire conditions. There are people starving. This all lend weight to my minds case against me for being weak, it calls me a ‘bloody big baby!’. And it reminds me I have no right to suffer, and it reminds me of all that I have in my life so how dare I complain about feeling pain.

However. I can’t deny that I am suffering right now even if it is in a small way in comparison. There is much relief to be had in moving through the wall of denial and feeling the pain. I am often reluctant to admit it to myself, as if facing it will make it more real. Well it is real even though the foundations of thought that the fear is based on are not so real/true, but the feeling itself is when I believe my stressful thoughts is real.

I am struggling in this business just now. Struggling financially after making a loss in December, though overall its fine I feel fed up with it just now. The relentlessness and the responsibility of it weighs heavily on me at times, and this month I took on a bit too much. We have a massive project on and I took a second one on which hasn’t worked out. We have legal issues with a client who wants us to rebuild a big project. Our engineer said it was fine, hers said it wasn’t. She has money for lawyers to fight me and I don’t. I will do it. But it will cost a lot. I am responsible if mistakes are made and have to pay for it. That’s the price of this freedom I have.

I am having some staff problems with one losing his temper with me and being quite aggressive. I sacked him but the men pleaded with me to keep him on. I try to be fair, kind and generous with them all. It is stressful being accused of otherwise when I know I am doing my best and have everyones welfare at heart. Hearing stories about others leaving early too, which makes me question the trust I put in them. And there’s been some fights between them too. Arghhh.

My friend who was made paralysed has no non paid people helping him other than his wife who also needs support to get through it. I have stepped in to help, and have been visiting at weekends and bringing pain control CDs to him. A little girl I take out on Saturdays told me about some violence going on at home. I did what I could to support her, told her she doesn’t deserve to be treated like that, bought her some protective inspiring angel cards and just listen and give her attention. That is stressful too as there comes a point where surely I have to tell some social workers or somebody like that if she is in danger. I am worried about doing and not doing the right thing. My son was attacked in Morocco and is now out of contact in the middle of a desert tour, the thoughts generated around that are quite stressful too!

It helps to remember that situations themselves are not stressful. It is believing the thoughts about situations that cause anxiety. Things are what they are.

There is also my age, 51. Middle age crisis and empty nest syndrome. Son is gone, dog is gone. I am not a young woman any more, biologically out of a ‘job’ and not so attractive, there’s an adjusting to all this.

I just did a free tarot reading and this is how it described my present situation – its spot on !!  “Carrying a burden or being responsible and doing what is expected. Overwhelmed with deadlines or the expectations and demands of others. The need to delegate. Rising to the challenge. Too many irons in the fire. Budget restrictions or overly worried about the future”.

So what am I doing to keep my head above water? Well a few mainstays are helping me through this.

  • Morning swim and meditation as I swim. I say ‘breathing in, breathing out’ over and over and over. And that allows a reprieve from the thoughts that gate crash my solo swim party
  • 5 Mins floating in the jacuzzi each morning, the weightlessness of this is deeply calming to a body that is flooded by adrenaline and cortisol from believing stressful thoughts
  • Gratitude! -I  thanked my ankles this morning for their hard work, I thanked my socks and my clothes for keeping me warm. I thanked the shower for being the right temperature, the air for being warm, the seat for being comfy….etc
  • Eating very healthy light meals mostly of fresh veg lightly stir fried.
  • Making sure I get good long sleeps so going to bed early
  • Going for at least a weekly walk. Today I spent 10 mins by the river and it was beautiful in the sun with the birds and the spring flowers coming up.
  • Got a Fitbit and loving how it records my miles and automatically my swimming and weight too. Part of looking after myself
  • Helping others. This week I visited a paralysed friend and took a deprived little girl out to the countryside for the afternoon.I have been supporting a recently bereaved friend. I have a woman who I let stay here 2 days a week free. Supporting others feels good.
  • Buying myself flowers each week
  • Going to the Self compassion course I signed up for on Wednesday evenings gets me out the house and socialising as well as practising mindfulness in a group which is very soothing.
  • Treated myself to an over night and meal in a lovely hotel last weekend while visiting my friend in hospital. Was a lovely break from the city.

So yes, I am doing quite a lot now that I see it all written down. What else can I do to support myself? And I am open to suggestions here and would love to hear how you look after yourself and stay feeling fulfilled.

  • I have a decision to make about getting another dog. I want to but I am afraid of the responsibility. I really miss my dog. The hourly giving and receiving of love was so soothing and satisfying. The playfulness we brought out in each other. The nurturing long walks submerged in nature. I am resisting getting another, not wanting to just make such a big decision based on a reaction to changing circumstances. There is also the dirt, the hairs the responsibility, the curtailment of freedom which Im hoping to appreciate some more at some point…
  • I am considering going back to the Buddhist psychotherapist that I used to visit weekly.
  • I could call my business mentor more often
  • I could find some more classes to go to and continue to educate myself. I could do that therapist course I have been promising to do.
  • I could go on holiday more often!

And I do feel a whole lot better for having just written this down! Thank you x





1 Comment

  1. Sorry to hear that your son was attacked. I hope he is well and that you may get some contact soon. Compassionate hugs to you! And thanks a lot for sharing your journey.


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