© 2021 Select Healthy Mind Ltd
This article was prepared by
Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist -
This very heartfelt and personal account of the effects of living and coping with anxiety was written by a very dear client of ours who has kindly has allowed
us to share it with you in the hope that others experiencing similar thoughts and feelings will recognise them and know that they are not alone.
…A letter from the heart.
The films ‘Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs’, ‘The Borrowers’, ‘City of Ember’, ‘The Secret Garden’ and several more are great films that many people like. I wonder how many other adults relate to their themes and core characters?.
High winds, heavy angry rain, tormented skies with thunder and lightning are also appreciated by many. I value their demanding confidence...SEE me!...FEEL me!….I relish giving myself over to their surround sound and feeling their strength.
Many people appreciate beautiful scents and scenic views, hobbies and pastimes like gardening or painting. I find myself wondering if there are others...if there is anyone else……..who experiences the scent of a flower and finds their soul clinging to it for dear life…...anyone who looks at the rolling hills and patchwork of England's countryside and simultaneously absorbs its wonder and questions if it's real?
The conflicting themes of control and freedom, life in miniature and life amplified, feeling so in need of and touched by nature that everything else in the universe pales into insignificance….and the tumultuous torment of gusting winds and leaden skies heavy with rain, resonate with my emotions and appear often to me as exterior demonstrations of myinner conflicts.
I believe I know myself really well…I believed I knew myself really well. I have spent years absorbing and understanding, growing and reflecting. Yet I learnt last year from my G.P., something that blew my mind. I struggled to process what she said and life felt completely surreal in the time immediately following the appointment. I apparently hadn't been suffering mini strokes and it wasn't the temporo mandibular disorder in the right side of my face that was causing the shockingly painful bursts of pain that had been flashing up the back of my head for the past week…..it wasstress….and anxiety.
I was SO embarrassed. Painfully embarrassed. I’d been coping!..I’d coped with SO much. Just when things Should have been getting better...how was I NOW experiencing physical pain !?… so bad that I had acupuncture right there and then and was prescribed codeine based painkillers/anti-
I returned to the G.P. for the next acupuncture and I cried. I told her I hadn't taken the tablets and why and she explained why I needed them. I’d not understood before that my body was so exhausted and tense that it was rigid and needed to rest and heal. I took the painkillers, had the acupuncture and finally arranged to see a counsellor/therapist (not that I really needed to…..i was ‘fine’)
"Few people today would dispute that chronic stress is a hallmark of our times or that anxiety has become a kind of cultural condition of modernity," says Stossel. "We live, as has been said many times since the dawn of the atomic era, in an age of anxiety." But not everyone has a"normal" response to anxiety.
Panic comes in many forms. It can vary from a gnawing unease in the belly to believing you are having a heart attack and will be dead within seconds whilst you're facing you’re greatest fear. My personal norm is a shifting unease that moves to a persistent negative voice and gathers momentum as it feeds on my low self esteem, my fears and the challenges I'm facing. Physically, I tend to feel tight chested, with a lump in the centre, slightly light headed and on theverge of tears. My joints tend to all sing out their aches as if a conductor is bringing them all in to tune up and I can go cold and hypersensitive. That’s hard enough to cope with in the relative safety of my home but if I’m away from home it's really a tough challenge. Walking home fast, hugging the walls and jumping constantly as I'm so tense is quite normal in my life.
There have been times where I've stood in a quiet place trying to steady my breathing and "hold on" to the ground, to root myself to the physical earth using my senses, while my body feels heavy and yet oddly detached from my mind. Anxiety manifests itself differently for people and I'm aware that we all experience that parallel universe place differently.
There are times when I've actually believed I was going to explode...or implode...that’s scary. Times when every fibre ofme hurts and I've considered terrible alternatives to living with that intensity of sensitivity and despair. I have and still do, struggle with a severe dislike of myself whilst desperately trying to love myself at the same time. I have questioned my sanity….and I've scared myself. People…..ex-
Alongside the anxiety and stress, low self esteem and lack of confidence ...I have claustrophobia and apparently a form of vertigo. In the main I can manage the latter two but a necessary trip to London or a tunnel can be a massive challenge for me. Over the years I've developed my own coping mechanisms and let very few people know. I'd rather absorb the pain and fear and exhaustion and appear OK to the outside world. Sometimes I can't contain it and it's quitesoul crunching to have a panic attack and be heavily breathing and in snotty floods of tears whilst everyone around youis happily performing the everyday task of commuting.
So is there a happy ending to all this? Not yet...but by simply sharing this much about me I may touch someone who has experienced something similar and if that helps at all then I'm a step further along on that path towards ‘the happy’. “People all over the world plough the internet every day searching for mirrors to their own pain, looking for evidence that people have overcome dire mental discomfort. An echo”. I'm getting to know ME.
I hope I have lots of time to because I think I'm quite an interesting person…