Despite the many similarities between men and women, and the equal strengths and qualities of both sexes – it would seem that science is highlighting one challenge us girls have yet to overcome…anxiety. Studies show that women are naturally disposed to panic and worry, more so than our male counterparts (on the whole at least). But why?
For me, it’s totally feasible to believe that. I’m a worrier, my Nan’s a worrier, as is my Mum and my Dad is generally the cool breeze that tries to calm a situation with reason and logic. I’m perhaps just better at only exposing my true worry in front of those who know me best.
Overall I try to have a balanced view about most things, and have made active steps with mindfulness and changing my life to eradicate unnecessary stress and worry. I moved jobs, I started meditating, started writing, I changed my diet, I try to be active and I try not to worry too much about what other people might think of me. All that’s fine and good most of the time, trying not to sweat the small stuff.
But what about the REALLY BIG stuff – like life long illness and uncertainty about the future, the health of myself and my loved ones? Losing them, losing ‘normal’, losing the relationship I love and cherish. I sometimes can’t stop my mind from spiralling out of control, to the point where I can’t even put how I feel into words, because if I let it out then I can’t stop the word vomit. Or I can’t stop the tears – whichever comes first.
Is it normal to let your brain go to such dark places? To think the end of the world is upon you and nothing will ever be the same again? To look at old happy photos of your own beaming face and hate that girl because you’ll never be ‘her’ again? I liken this feeling to something my hero J.K Rowling herself experienced:
“I think I had tendencies toward depression from quite young. It became really acute when I was sort of twenty-five to twenty-eight was a dark time. It’s that absence of feeling — and it’s even the absence of hope that you can feel better. And it’s so difficult to describe to someone who’s never been there because it’s not sadness. Sadness is — I know sadness — sadness is not a bad thing. You know? To cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling — that really hollowed-out feeling. That’s what the Dementors are. And it was because of my daughter that I went and got help.” — J.K Rowling The Oprah Winfrey Show, October 2010
An absence of hope, is certainly something I’ve personally battled with this year, whether that’s verging on depression I couldn’t say – having not experienced anything like it before. Sometimes it just feels like life is out to continuously kick you in the (proverbial) bollocks. (See my earlier post on this very subject)
So tonight I continue fighting these anxiety gremlins, gremlins that at the moment are stopping me from smiling at a joke, socialising with friends, concentrating at work and leaving me with a constant feeling of nausea deep in the pit of my belly. A feeling like I might just disintegrate at any moment, sink into a duvet and never emerge. A lingering worry that any future joy and true happiness is very far away.
Tonight I am doing the following to make myself feel that little bit happier, as my quest continues to seek happiness in life and learn to hold onto it, even when menacing clouds circle above my head:
- Enjoying a lovely cup of (UC friendly) Rooibos tea
- Watching ‘The Secret Life of the Zoo’ – because animals always make things better
- Texting my BF whilst he’s away because I miss him
- Cuddling the dog – again because that is proven to help
- Listening to my mindfulness CD by Dr Hillary before bed
- Breathing (fairly essential but there is a knack to it)
- Talking about my feelings with my parents (crying about it if needed)
- Thinking of things I DO have to look forward to – rather than focusing on things that make me look backwards
- Maybe even read a bit of Harry Potter before bed
Again, I look to my heroine for inspiration and words of comfort and wisdom…
If anyone else is currently dealing with their own personal ‘Dementors’ – I’d love to hear your story. Comfort often comes from finding someone within whom we can see ourselves reflected, even if it is only a glimpse of their experiences which we can relate to.