This post is something a bit more personal: some advice I have to give after I went through a bout of anxiety. However I hasten to add I am no doctor or therapist and this is just the blog of a wannabe journalist, who tends to be a chronic worrier at times and wants to help anyone going through something similar. Enjoy!
Image from Jessie Cave #lovesick
In When the razz brings out the sadz, I signed off with “To be continued…”.
I’m sure you have all been checking up on the blog daily for this promised continuation (ahem) and I can now finally say it’s here! I closed off in that post with the advice that if you ever found yourself with a whole load on your mind that was impeding on your day to day life it needed to be dealt with – here’s how.
I am going to split this into two installments, this being installment numero uno: Snowballing.
Snowballing is my terminology for the pile up of ruminative, unhelpful, intrusive worries. It’s when one worry leads to another and then another and then another… And suddenly you are just one big ball of worry who has forgotten that you are actually made up of a lot more than these said worries.
You find yourself thinking in Worrinese and there can be days when it’s the only thing that consumes your mind. That, my friends, is snowballing at its finest and awhile back I did a stint as a pro-snowballer, making myself a few snowmen along the way. My anxiety levels reached an all time high and an avalanche was about to happen.
It was time to pull the brakes on my anxiety and help myself take back control.
- First thing was first – I needed to address my What If Syndrome (as I christened it.)
Everyone has anxious thoughts, they are there to keep us from harm’s way.
“What if this isn’t such a good idea…?”, “What if it is more important for me to work instead of starting another series on Netflix…?”
But What If Syndrome is a whole other kettle of fish. It seems like every second thought is a “What If?” worry. For me, it was draining and down-right unhelpful. And anxiety will literally devour a what if thought. Like a wotsits crisp, a whatif crisp. It was time for the anxiety monster to go on a diet. A diet of thought challenges.
- Thought challenges – the Aloe Vera plant for the mind.
You know how aloe vera is like a natural remedy for many a physical affliction? Burned hand? Give it a rub of Aloe Vera. Bad break out? Aloe Vera. Blisters from sun burn? Aloe Vera, Aloe Vera, Aloe Vera.
Thought Challenges can quickly become your Aloe Vera for anxious thoughts – the mind’s natural way of fighting back.
Basically when I began to think in What If’s, which usually lead to PANIC STATIONS! and then a trip to Down-in-the-Dumps-ville, I held up a big, red STOP sign in my mind and said, “Is this a thought or a fact? What benefit does this worry have right now? None? OK SO, IF IT HAPPENS THEN I’LL DEAL WITH IT.”
- Lastly, it was time to get back on the saddle.
I had to remember not to let anxiety get the better of me. After all, I was more than it. It was just a small part of my make up and that’s all it would be if I kept the ball in my court.
I studied for college exams, using the thought challenges all the while. I launched myself into building up my journalism portfolio and set myself the goal of having 15 pieces of work published before the end of Semester 2 in college (10 so far!)
So get back on the saddle. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself but when you’re down and out, feeling small and can’t seem to sail on silver girl, challenging your anxiety and tackling those worries with productivity can work wonders.
And yes that was a Simon and Garfunkel reference,