365 Day Writing Challenge 26: Fear

365 Day Writing Challenge

26. Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?

Oh, God. Asking someone with anxiety to talk about fear is a risky business. What scares me a little doesn’t really come into it. I don’t really tend to do little fears. Here is a list of things that are scaring me at the moment:

  1. New job: Am I doing it right? Do people like me? What’s going to happen when I start my masters in September? Will they be annoyed with me for not telling them? Do I bug the girl who’s training me too much? Why do I feel ugly and nerdy next to everyone else? I have my one to one tomorrow, that’s terrifying. Will they be OK with how much overtime I did this weekend? Why am I so bad with people?

 

  1. That I’m turning into my mum: Don’t even want to get into that one right now.

 

  1. General: I’m not outgoing enough. I suck all the enjoyment out of everything by worrying about it. I should have more friends. I’m not living up to my full potential. I’m going to feel anxious forever. I’m not getting the most out of life. Which leads onto…

 

  1. The big one. Death.

 

What’s really good is that when I’m in a calm mood like this I can think of rational challenges to most of these things. I don’t believe them all the time which is a big step forward. But when I am feeling anxious they are my reality. I react in different ways; this past week I have been feeling really sick. And sort of silently frantic. And that there’s constantly something in my mouth that makes me feel choked that I can’t get rid of.

But, as I say, I’m doing so much better. In fact, if you look at how I used to be I’ve come in leaps and bounds. This time last year I didn’t have a job. I didn’t leave the house. I had panic attacks all day. I can’t believe that was just a year ago but it’s true. And I’m also noticing that I seem to end a lot of these anxiety posts with “…but actually I’m doing really well”. Which is awesome. I already live my life so differently than how I used to (even pre-anxiety). I always feel like I’m “getting there” or “on my way” to something, but a lot of controlling anxiety is about acceptance, so maybe I just need to accept where I am now, and how good it is. 🙂

(Featured image from MentalFloss)

 

 

 

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Brain Status

Thoughts

Argument: Life is short. You have to do everything you can, snatch every opportunity, write, go out, go to poetry events, make every second count.

Counter-argument: Part of my anxiety is not being able to relax, thinking that everything I do is not good enough and I need to do everything, and I need to do it now. I’m doing really well at the moment being easy on myself and relaxing more so shut up.

Five minute later

Argument: Life is short, you have to do everything you can…

This is the status of my brain at the moment.

365 Day Writing Challenge 5: Food

365 Day Writing Challenge

5. Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a cafe.

Ah, food. Food used to be one of my great loves in life. I ate A LOT. I never put on weight because I have such a fast metabolism, so I just used to eat whatever I wanted.  I love Greek, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, sushi, Thai…and in large quantities.

Now my relationship with food has changed drastically. When I was out of work for a year because of my anxiety, food became one of my main triggers. I hated eating. I didn’t enjoy it any more. I’d put off eating for hours and hours. In the past I would always have a clean plate, even if I didn’t like what I was eating. But now I could barely stomach anything. I’d physically start gagging after a while if I didn’t like it. I wouldn’t be anywhere near full but it felt like my throat would just close up, refuse to accept anything else. I lost weight for the first time that I can remember since puberty. I’m back at my normal weight now but I’ve lost the podge I used to have on my tummy and I can’t seem to get it back. I can feel my ribs and see them and I’m sure I didn’t used to be able to. It always makes me sad.

I’m better now. I don’t eat as much as I used to, but I eat enough. But I can’t just eat. I have to be doing something else – watching TV or reading or playing a game. Because if I look down at that full plate of food then all of a sudden it feels like a giant task I have to fulfil and I can’t bear the thought of it. On bad days I still find the thought of organising meals, cooking, eating, too much. But I always do eventually, because I know it’s important.

I still don’t fully understand why it happened. My therapist said it was all to do with control. I had always eaten whatever was put in front of me whether I liked it or not, and the gagging I was now feeling was my body physically refusing to do it any more. I think she was right. There was a leaflet on the table of my therapist’s office, with a picture of a girl with paper round her mouth and on the paper it said “I won’t eat”. I used to look at it every week and think, “that’s me.” When I was anxious my panic attacks were caused by two extremes – either I wanted to be control of everything and when I couldn’t I panicked, or the thought of having to make any kind of decision or have any kind of control made me panic. I think the food situation is probably the same – I couldn’t bear sharing control over food with my mum (we weren’t getting on at the time and food was always a bone of contention) to the point where even the thought of a meal made me incapable of any decision. I remember reading that lots of eating disorders aren’t to do with being fat, but to do with the person wanting control over their life. I probably had a mild or small form of eating disorder, which is scary.

Writing this has made me realise how much I want my good relationship with food back. Even though my relationship with my mum is a lot better now, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it while I’m living with her. I’ll need my own space, be in control of my own money and food. But I’m going to try in the meantime. I’m going to try smaller portions so eating isn’t as daunting. I’m also going to try eating mindfully. I’ll get there.

(Featured image from deviantart)


 

© Kate Warren and Rebuild Expand, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild Expand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Anxiety

Poetry

I can feel you

In the hunch of my shoulders,

In the grit of my teeth

 

I can hear you

In the voices of others

Telling me what I can’t do

And what I should

And must.

 

I wake up and know you have been stalking me in the night

Telling me I am not the same

As everyone else

That no one does what I do

 

Everyone is watching you

 

You have to do it right

But you always do it wrong

 

Telling me to slice up the day

And count the crystallised seconds

And know that they are wasted

 

They tell me that you are not something to fight

But to be accepted

A part of me.

 

But how are you supposed to defeat yourself?

(Featured image from Pixabay)


© Kate Warren and Rebuild, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

People Who Inspire Me: Bunny Meyer

Articles

Bunny (aka grav3yardgirl) is a Youtuber in the US. She does videos on a variety of different things, the most popular being “Does this thing really work?”, a series where she tests out “as seen on TV” items. She has over 5 million subscribers and a loyal following she calls her “swamp family”.

Screenshot_2015-08-21-15-15-04

I love Bunny because every time I watch one of her videos, it makes me want to get moving and start writing. She is spending her life being creative and doing something she loves. I wish I could emulate her work ethic – she posts 5 videos a week, and it is clear that she is doing something she loves and is passionate about. She ends each video with “I’ll see you guys tomorrow”, knowing that her army of loyal fans look forward to and depend on the regularity of her videos.

There is obviously a lot of trust between her and her fans; although in some videos she has a full face of make up, more often than not she wears none at all. This is one of the reasons why I, and so many others, relate to her – she is always real, unpolished and personal; making self-deprecating jokes and letting her fans know she is just like them. Reading through her comments on her videos shows how many people see her as a friend, someone who makes them feel less alone.

Screenshot_2015-06-11-15-37-24 [49078]

Her quality that touches me personally the most is her openness about her anxiety – she talks about it easily and without shame. In one of her videos she tested an “instant plastic surgery” device that involved her putting on a mask that shone lasers onto her face, which scared her. She went off camera, returning to tell her viewers that she had had a panic attack and had needed to talk to her boyfriend to calm down. She could easily have edited this part out of but she didn’t. Instead she was honest with her fans – and making those with anxiety, like me, feel better for seeing someone they admire be so honest.

(Featured image from The Huffington Post)

What is it Really Like to Live with Anxiety?

Articles

I feel many people have misconceptions about anxiety. I cringe internally when people at work say “ooh, I nearly had a panic attack”. But I can’t blame them. Before I was diagnosed I knew very little about anxiety. I had heard of people having panic attacks on occasion, but that was about it. But now I can’t bear to see how anxiety is shown in the media. The examples given most often are introverted teenagers in hoodies avoiding social situations. It also always seems to be mentioned in the same breath as depression, and is seen as the less serious sister of the former – because everyone worries, right?

But it isn’t just worrying a lot. It isn’t being an introvert, or being shy. You can lead a perfectly happy, functional life, with a job and friends. But suddenly, out of nowhere, this unknown force inside of you, “anxiety” plunges you into a different world. You feel dread without knowing why. You feel sick, scared and want to curl up in a ball. You have no idea why you feel like this, but you convince yourself there must be a reason, something bad must have happened, or will happen, because otherwise why would you feel this way? You can’t understand how you can go from self-assured and confident one moment, to feeling like everything is spinning out of control the next. The world is surreal – it is happening around you but you aren’t a part of it. You are looking at everything from behind glass.  You are trapped in a nightmare.

Anxiety isn’t just “worrying too much” and a panic attack is much more than having to breathe into a paper bag. It is something much, much more than that.

I Did It!

Thoughts

Due to my anxiety I have been unable to work and have been receiving Employment Support Allowance payments. I just called them and said I felt I was now well enough to start looking for a job and closed my claim. I am now officially looking for a job and couldn’t be happier or more excited. Life is beginning to start again in full! I can’t stop smiling.

The Blog

About

   Hi, my name is Kate and I live in Manchester in the UK. I am currently (frustratingly) living at home after completely depleting all my money at uni. I started to make some of that money back due to a job in a call centre. Call centre jobs are of course notoriously stressful and after six months I had to leave.
This was because I had begun to have quite extreme anxiety and panic attacks. At first I was naive enough to believe that this was due to my horribly stressful job, and I believed that all i needed was a couple of weeks away from that environment and the anxiety would just go away and I would be fine.
However, as I started seeing my therapist I realised that the anxiety had always been there, and the job had just brought it to the surface. I had always been on the edge of the cliff, the job had just pushed me over.
Now, thanks to my amazing therapist and my wonderful boyfriend, I am beginning to make huge changes in my life. And I don’t mean changes like cutting my hair, getting a new job, moving to a different city. I mean changes in the way I live my life from day to day, changes in the way I think. Changes I know will transform my life in the long run.
And, finally, I get to this blog. I realised that I had so many ideas stuck in my head, I needed to get them out onto paper and give my mind a break. I also want to let myself be creative – something I have always denied myself in the past. So, this blog is a huge part of my changing my life. This is why I chose the name Rebuild.  I feel like I’m rebuilding my life from the bottom up and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. But what I know for certain that it will be better than the way it was before.
Thank you if you actually read through all of this, I didn’t realise it would become so long! I welcome any sort of comments and hope you all enjoy my blog.

P.S If you would like a less intense About Me then please look at Ten Things to Know About Me.


© Kate Warren and Rebuild, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Warren and Rebuild with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.