I woke up before my alarm went off at 7:00 AM, I spent a fair few minutes contemplating whether I should remain in bed or get up and ready myself for the day. I usually keep my phone switched off when I go to bed and use a traditional alarm clock to set alarms. But recently I don’t think I am making the full use of the absence of digital media when I get up. I went back to bed and got up again at 11:00 because I was overwhelmed with anxiety again.
I had to meet my lecturer regarding a project I was supposed to be working on, but frankly I just couldn’t get myself to do it as per schedule. I was just stressed thinking about that and all the other assignments that I have left undone. I grew stressed about being stressed about the things that would never get me stressed before. Then I get stressed when I think about why I am feeling stressed ell the time. All my past and potential future failures come rushing into my mind and leading to more anxiety. People do not really understand “anxiety” here and frankly I am done explaining.
I finally did manage to get out of bed with a dry mouth, clogged mind, fast heartbeats and an aching head. There was also the sudden butterfly feeling in my stomach that one would normally get when they are about to go into a big deep trough on a roller coaster. Even though I am not perfect at managing my anxiety, I am still trying and I am willing to help myself. I believe that no therapist, medication or mental health nurse could help you unless you are willing to help yourself. I cannot use some sort of magic spell that could make it all disappear and I do not think that the authors of the so called “self-help” books understand anxiety either; hell, I never did until I experienced it first hand.
I am sure my anxiety is not even close to being as severe as the ones who are clinically diagnosed. I have witnessed that I get more and more anxious when I don’t move my body or my mind. It has to be occupied so it doesn’t point towards all the things that I think I could fail in. As soon as I felt that my anxiety was about to kick in this morning, I sat up and meditated. I know meditation is contrary to keeping your mind occupied, but focusing on your breathing and nothing else is a good workout. I mentioned earlier that I have an alarm clock in my room, I switch off my fan and listen to the second hand ticking. I breathe in for four ticks and breathe out for the same number. My mind does wander. but I try to get it back to the sound of the ticking. I do that for ten minutes.
Right after I finished that, I sat down to write this blog where I can give my mind another “work out”, it’s all about keeping your mind occupied. But it is important to keep it occupied on a task that you are sure will provide future benefits. Life is too precious to let oneself get withdrawn into a corner when one is faced with anxiety. Self-help is the best help. Choose a window for your anxiety, it could be as small as writing a few lines about your thoughts or planning a trip that you would really like to take in the future. I read in Mel Robbin’s “5 Second Rule” that your brain frequently goes into self protection mode and makes you stop doing the things that you really want to do. In a way, your bran is wired to work against you; so do not feel bad when you feel like you couldn’t push through sometimes; it’s just biology, and like any system, your brain can be hacked to benefit your well being too.