I haven’t posted on here in a while. Not because I haven’t had anything to say, but because I haven’t known how to say it.
The last while I haven’t been myself. Or more to the point, I haven’t been how I see myself. And that in itself upset me.
For the last while I’ve been suffering from anxiety. Horrific anxiety.
The anxiety has woven it’s way into my life. It’s icy tentacles have snuck up on me. All of a sudden they have appeared, and snaked into my daily being. Stealthily, sneakily. Knowing that if they had been bold and sauntered in confidently I would not have let them pass. But because they have slowly, insidiously made their way in, I have allowed them to travel into my very being, into my core.
And I hate that. I hate the very fact I let them in. That I allowed them into my soul.
Because once they are in, they are a bugger to get out.
So for a few weeks, it was horrid. It was as if someone else was inside me, taking over my outlook. Changing it from sunshine to black. Making everything negative, and taking the very nucleus of who I am and turning it into someone I didn’t recognise. That every thought was a hostage, each and every thought was taken over by something out of my control. And twisted into something I didn’t recognise, something that wasn’t me.
Because I’m not like that. I see the positive in everything. I see the sunshine where others see rain. I see the rainbow before it even appears to anyone else. My entire ethos of being is one of positivity and light.
But that disappeared. And I thought it was gone forever.
And I didn’t know what to do.
I’m the person others rely on to get them out of the hole. To turn them around when they’re feeling shit. So what should I do when I suddenly find myself down that hole too? In the blackness and feeling that icy grip of anxiety around my heart and the loss of confidence that goes alongside it? All the while hiding the anxiety from everyone around me. Looking at me, talking to me, no one would have known.
It took me a while to realise, it took a good while. I admit, at first, I thought the blackness had won. That I had to lie down and take it. But then I asked myself what I would tell someone else to do in this situation? What would I say to a friend in this position? I would tell them to take stock, to look around and see all that they are grateful for, to understand that this feeling is not them. That this feeling is temporary. That this shall pass.
And it did.
I admit, I called upon every skill and trick I have learned over the years. I meditated. I breathed. I did self hypnosis. I took walks. I went to the water. I stood barefoot in the grass. I ate clean. I trained hard. I did yoga!
I made a conscious effort to take one step at a time, to get through the hour, two hours, the afternoon, the day. Bit by bit, minute by minute, putting one foot in front of the other.
And I did.
I got through it. Some days were hard, horrible. I would have a couple of hours feeling great, then all of a sudden, the anxiety would strike without warning. I would be going about my day, feeling fine and then all of a sudden that icy feeling would begin to snake around my belly, climbing to my heart, clutching it in it’s icy embrace and finally making it’s way into my head – filling it with unhelpful thoughts and feelings. It was the incessant negative chatter in my head that was the worst.
For a few days it got worse and worse, building, until finally it reached a crescendo. The noise inside my head became deafening and almost without respite.
Then suddenly, almost as soon as it had begun, it began to dissipate.
The yoga helped. The breathing helped. The getting close to nature helped. The standing ankle deep in the cold water of the loch helped.
I can’t say which out of all the things I tried helped the most. Or if it was all of the things I did. But eventually, the anxiety began to leave.
Slowly, gradually. Not fast enough for me (I’m not the most patient!). But much to my delight, the anxiety began to disappear.
And I became me again.
So why am I telling you this?
Because sometimes being a warrior isn’t about how hard you fight. Or how bloody the battle. It’s about making it out the other side. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other and being bloody minded and fighting through until you find your own way out. And it may take a while, it might take you longer than others, and you may go all around the houses to find the way out. But you will make it out, to taste the sweetness on the other side.
And after the rain, the flowers always smell so sweet.