I deliberately made the title of this one a bit vague, because by letting-go, I mean it in a couple of different ways.
Life is constantly moving at 100mph. You’re up, you’re working, you’re socialising, you’re working again, you’re eating, you’re on social media, you’re doing your hobby, you sleep. For a lot of us, this is just how it is and it’s manageable. Some people like it, and others thrive on it and can’t handle slowing-down. One thing that worries me though, is going to sleep at 22 and waking up at 45, having not enjoyed the ups and embraced and learned from the downs. Life moves so very quickly when you’re busy all the time, especially when you’re always busy in your head. That’s partly what I mean when I say letting-go. It’s okay to vacate the world, sit in the clouds for a bit and enjoy a birds-eye view on your own life for a little while. It’s okay to sit and listen to some music, or do literally nothing at all and just enjoy the quiet. Letting-go of all your responsibilities and your stresses gives you that valuable time in your own head where you listen to the current of your thoughts. Not to take a negative twist, but sometimes it can be quite valuable for tuning-into more unhealthy, maybe even ominous thoughts. It can equally be a time for you to enjoy being with yourself, and to hear your mind speak. Some people I know have told me they aren’t comfortable being alone, because they can’t handle being in their own company. A key part of being healthy in my view is to be able to enjoy your own company. I think that’s one of the main cornerstones of loving and appreciating yourself, is having the ability to have a relationship with yourself.
Anyone who knows me well-enough knows my phone goes on ‘do not disturb’ at half-past nine every night (and now the rest of you know), and the general rule is I either reply very slowly or I don’t at all. This has worked to varying degrees over time, but in my head the time after half-past nine is my time. Again, I’ve used my time for good things and I’ve used it for not so good things, but the key thing is that that time is allocated to be my own, and I can slow it down as much as I want, like I am now. Whilst typing this out, I’m having a conversation with myself, and already my daily anxieties have gone away.
People can do this differently. Some people’s ‘me time’ might not be quiet at all, but it works for them. The key thing is that it’s okay to let go of your commitments, your responsibilities, and your stresses. It’s like carrying heavy shopping bags- it’s okay to put them down for a bit whilst you gather your strength again. You can, with time and patience, learn to put all these stresses down for a bit.
The next bit is for people who panic a lot.
I panic a lot. My formal diagnosis was a bit weird. I was diagnosed with panic disorder, but I had elements of someone with an anxiety disorder. Anyway, panic disorder does this great thing where it creates the initial feeling of panic for no reason at all; or maybe there is a reason deep-down, but it’s not necessarily pressing you at that time. Panic comes, the physical symptoms come, the panic intensifies, the symptoms intensify: bosh, you’re having a panic attack. You’re in what we call a ‘vicious cycle’. The key is kind-of identifying that initial feeling of panic, and rather than fighting it, you try and see it as something that will just pass, like a cloud. I love my sky analogies.
Anyone can have a panic attack. Having a panic/anxiety disorder of some sort doesn’t grant you entry to a special panic club where we all sit in complete catatonic silence staring at the ceiling. Anyone can have a panic attack, and anyone can just panic. I bet you can recall a time where you’ve panicked. Unfortunately, some of you will be able to recall a time where you had a panic attack; I just hope it wasn’t recently. Panic can come out of nowhere: a deadline you’ve got could start freaking you out, or you could be worrying about something you said 4 months ago to your partner, it could be anything.
I spoiled it a bit earlier, but if you feel panic coming-on, or you’re actually having a panic attack, brought on by anything whatsoever, please remember this: IT WILL PASS. I promise you you aren’t going insane, I promise you you aren’t going to die, and I promise you that the strange feelings you’re having at this very moment aren’t a symptom of some underlying condition. Panic does strange bloody things to your body, and none of it is harmful. You can read all this in different wording on the NHS website for panic attacks. What I want to tell you is that if you do feel panic, remember it will pass; let it go. Just like any thought, panic can come and go.
I just wanted to write this because I’ve been having some difficulty letting-go lately. Sometimes things get a bit overwhelming, and although you don’t see it at the time, you come to realise that what you need sometimes is to drop everything for a bit and go back to basics.