Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Reflecting on an anxiously calm day



I thought I'd start with an oxymoron in the title, because that is genuinely how today has been. Anxiously calm.

I don't usually notice when I'm anxious because it has become a daily part of my life. It feels like normality, and only when it gets worse do I start to notice that my heart beats faster than everyone else's and my head feels heavy and I'm stressed more than I need to be. It may seem impossible to call it 'normal', but you have to remember that I've been struggling with it for four or five years now, and I didn't know what it was until last year. So I've been thinking this is how everyone feels and really I've been suffering with an illness for all these years.

So now that I'm very aware of it, it seems only right that I force myself to calm down. Breathing techniques help to a certain extent, but once I'm stuck in the cycle, I'm stuck for the foreseeable future. Then come the all of the side effects of becoming very aware that your body is freaking out in public without your permission.

I had to deal with anxiety today like on any other day, but after having a few very bad anxiety days lately, this was a 'good' day. The physical side of it wasn't causing me much bother and my breathing became steady the more I focused on it. Then I was much calmer than I had been since last wednesday.

Anyone that has anxiety will know that the feeling of being calm is a blessing, and you can't appreciate it enough when its here. I was walking home from school, and even though I had to stay in for an extra hour because of extra lessons and my hands were freezing from the biting cold, the silence and calm I experienced was like being gently wrapped in a hug. I even made sure to make no sound when I walked because there was nobody around and all I could hear was the low hum of the cars on the road, and I suddenly became more aware of life and it was just blissful. 

The weird thing was that I felt quite lonely on the walk home, but I didn't mind, because it felt like there was a clear space beside me. You don't realise how heavy the demon on your shoulder is until you shake it off.

These are just my thoughts today, because I am grateful for the little things in life, and being calm is such a rare experience for me. One of my close friends shared with me today how he was feeling in himself and how long its been going on for, and I was struck by how brave he was to tell me, as it isn't something you tell many people. And after listening to him share something so private with me, I felt compelled to write down my feelings, even if I don't feel like saying them out loud quite yet.

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