Working through a tough time.

Tonight, I’ve been telling myself I’m at the end of a tough period. The last two weeks have been pretty difficult for me. Working two jobs has really thrown my life up in the air; the usual time slots that the parts of my life occupy have been taken up by work. For a person with anxiety this can be a big deal. Your journey is often spent on the safest part of the road, never deviating away for fear of how you’ll respond to the sudden change of a new path. The anxious mind can struggle a lot with change.

With the last two weeks being so busy, I lost a lot of control over myself. My usual habits went out of the window because they didn’t have their allocated time slot in my day. That, and a lack of sleep. I need a lot of sleep. I’d fall asleep eventually after a late shift, but then wake up quite early with a hideous thirst. I still can’t explain why that happened, but it left me feeling really drained. I had no motivation to cook healthy food, or go to the gym, or even really pay attention to the motions of my own mind. So for two weeks I just existed. I went to work, came home, drank, and then tried to sleep. Eventually I cracked one night and had a panic attack over the whole way i’d been feeling. Two weeks with no control over myself, no direction, no motivation to do anything.

It can feel like bad periods like this will go on forever. Until today it did feel like it would go on forever. How the fuck will I dig myself out of this hole, when I still have to go to work, keep a house tidy, and maintain relationships with people who don’t know what’s wrong? Getting myself back on track felt like a mammoth task. Thing is, i’m not back on track yet, but I feel differently about getting there now. The problems of the past two weeks, they’re not impossible to surmount. Through the lens of anxiety, you look at problems and see an indomitable enemy. However, what afflicts you now doesn’t have to last forever. Pain comes in a moment, but our decision to hold on to it makes it last longer than it should. The moments that led me to that panic attack: poor decisions, lapses in self-control, lack of sleep, they’re all momentary. In the long run they can be completely insignificant, but only if you see them for what they are. Take some time to breathe, and think clearly. You’ll find that the lens is removed, and in that moment of clarity you see that the route back to the straight and narrow isn’t as complicated as it first looked.

And that brings me to where I am now, telling myself I’m at the end of a long two weeks. I’m at the end of a negative cycle, about to break out of a bad habit. When I do, i’ll learn more about myself- that I need to pay more attention to the motions of my mind, that disruption isn’t a bad thing, but rather the way you respond to it can throw you completely off-course, and also to talk to someone. I spoke to my Dad and a couple of trusted friends only when I was at the point of breaking-down. These last two weeks shouldn’t have impacted me the way that they did do, but there’s no shame in admitting that. I have lessons to put into practice, and I will.

Nick C.

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