Grey.

So I’m back again. Pretty surprised with the amount of views this has had – didn’t really expect much interest but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. So thanks to you all for reading, liking , sharing and commenting – please carry on!

I suppose I chose this title because it can mean a number of things – anxiety can make your brain feel pretty grey with ‘brain fog’, the view that some people seem to take on anxiety or mental illness, which really pisses me off, is a pretty black and white one. By that I mean sometimes mental illness is a bit of a grey area in terms of explaining to people what you feel – unfortunately I, and I bet a hell of a lot of people, have, upon explaining they have anxiety, been met with a response similar to “so you just get nervous then” or “are you being serious”. This is incredibly insulting, ignorant and shows a total lack of empathy or understanding. To those of us with anxiety, this isn’t a joke or attention seeking – this is a reality. It’s not just being nervous before interviews or exams, it’s the constant on-edgeness feeling all the time, the fatigue and tiredness at the end of the day , not just one day, sometimes every single day. It’s being scared of something, irrational fear over seemingly insignificant things. It’s an illness, not a choice – I don’t choose to be like this or feel like this – I swear sometimes people think I enjoy feeling this way? Some days are better than others, granted, but without wanting to sound selfish, as I’m sure lots of people feel this way too, on my worst days it frankly fucking sucks – I want to be someone else sometimes, a constant battle to at least give the illusion of being ‘normal’ to the rest of the world. You just want to hide away from the world and sometimes even yourself. I don’t choose to feel like this – it’s just my fucked up imbalanced brain chemicals doing their ‘interrupting cow’ moment – having a good patch in life, then BAM! chemical attack.

Suppose that kind of leads nicely to the next thing I kind of wanted to talk about. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate – it happens to absolutely tons of people, many of them you won’t even be aware of that could be colleagues, friends or family have anxiety. Again though, it’s ok to talk about it. Also anxiety doesn’t give a flying fuck about your current life, work or any other situation – it rudely interrupts whatever you happen to be doing and just kind of goes… “HEY LETS FUUUUCK YOUR LIFE UP AND MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE FUCKING SHIT YAAAAYYY” – I could be having a week of minimal anxiety, generally loving life, then BAM, or I could be having a meh week or terrible week at work and anxiety adds itself in like a bad decision made when 10 pints in on a night out to fuel the shitty fire.

A problem I personally have with anxiety is the mood swings that I mentioned in my previous post. Anger seems to be something that is a recurrent issue – I can feel the anger rising up inside me from stupid little things like someone talking over music or the dog barking. The apparent insignificance of it all seems so fucking stupid but yet so fucking real – it feels like I teeter constantly on the edge of ‘losing it’ – that I’m only one offhand comment, question or something away from absolutely blowing my top. You know what, I’ll say it, I’m scared of losing it, being in control, losing my shit with someone I love or care about when I honestly don’t mean it at all. My anxiety is the root of this and I get that it probably won’t be cured as such, but sometimes it is SO fucking frustrating, I’d liken it to having shackles on, particularly when you really want to do something or go somewhere but anxiety is like “Are you suuuuree? really?? something bad will happen? something bad is going to happen if you go?” when in actual reality the likelihood is like 1 in 10000000 of anything remotely horrific or horrible happening. Anxiety is like a voice in the back of your brain telling you everything is awful, you’re a bad person, you shouldn’t enjoy yourself etc. I know it seems easy for me to say, but I do get moments of clarity where I know this is not the case and I will be fine in the end, but anxiety is always there, sat on my shoulder, ready to jump in at any given moment. I suppose that’s part of anxiety too, the fear of anxiety itself.

Fear. Fight or flight. That’s pretty much what anxiety does to your body. It wants you to feel scared and in danger. Exhausting when there’s no actual real threat present – constant paranoia of potential threats, bad situations, confrontations. Paranoia is something that I sometimes struggle with, that someone is following me in the street or in the train station, that someone is staring at me or that someone is talking about me or laughing, that it must be about me. Again, the normal version, if you like, of me knows that the reality is they aren’t following me or talking about me or laughing about me, but that’s the point where anxiety goes ‘BINGO’ and joins in with its usual antics.

Triggers. Just this week I’ve had no actual panic attacks, just episodes that have been within touching distance of triggering one. The causes? Waiting for a train to an unfamiliar place and an unfamiliar journey (Birmingham), having to sort out what was an absolute shocker of an accommodation situation, which was at the point of if I’d had to stay 2 nights there I wouldn’t have been in the best state of mind, and considering that on the second day (which was Wednesday) I presented a poster of my Masters work at a Research Symposium, and had I been in that state of mind it would have been a pretty pointless exercise. The third instance was negotiating an unfamiliar train station and the stress of finding the correct coach and seats on the train. Regarding the accommodation situation, it ended with me paying out to stay at another nearby hotel which was 1000 times better and instantly eased my anxious state.

Sometimes my mood swings go from extreme anxiety to hyperactivity, which is a bit strange but I’m now learning to adapt to it and when to be productive and always having a pen and a notepad on me to write anything down. Sometimes my memory is awful and I’ve no idea if this is anxiety or not but I strongly suspect it is, and I get so anxious that I’ll miss something or forget, that I need to write it down ASAP or feel horrendous.

Anxiety is inherently irritating – it always makes me feel like I have done something wrong and need to apologize when in fact that’s way off the mark, but there lies anxiety telling you apologize or I’ll make you feel worse. The constant questions the apologising it’s sometimes too much and I just go to pieces. And sometimes that’s ok. This is reality of living with anxiety.

This week’s post has been more of a struggle than last week’s to be honest. I suppose it was more that I couldn’t put my mind to write anything as everything was just going lalalalalalalala in my head with no real direction or meaning – a lot of ‘thought swimming’ if you like. Sometimes this is what my brain gets like – simple shit just becomes infuriatingly difficult – information is hard to take in (just ask my work!), my focus is way off and I feel like stuff is falling apart. On a plus note, I’m looking into getting a tattoo based on my personal anxiety experiences.

Something I’ve struggled with recently is accepting who I am – I’ve learned it’s okay to be yourself – you can’t help who you love – I’m bi-curious, and have interests in both genders, however it is just the way I am and I’m proud I could come to terms with it, its something that did cause me anxiety but mostly does not. Suppose what I’m getting at is be proud of you, be proud of what you’re trying to do and how hard you’re trying, it’s hard but keep fighting.

Some days the exhaustion of anxiety is overwhelming. As somebody who has high functioning anxiety, I suppose it feels like my duty to plough on through, even on bad days, which is why the support from work (thanks so much) and previously uni (again massive thanks) and of course family and friends, is absolutely bloody vital for me to manage day to day. Anxiety is a battle I won’t be backing down from anytime soon.

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