I'm back with a brand new rap.
Well, it's not so much a rap, as a renewed sense of well-being. For the past two weeks, I've done a tremendous amount of soul searching, trying to figure out where I am, where I want to be and what I want to do. One of the few positives that comes with anxiety is that it gives you a unique perspective on yourself, those around you, and other anxiety sufferers. You begin to realise what makes anxious people tick and you can relate to them. You create a silent bond.
For years, I felt alone and isolated. My triggers are quite specific and in all that time, I had never met anyone that suffered in the same way. And then one day, I spotted a post in the /r/anxiety subreddit. This person was going through exactly what I was going through ten years ago. Reading it was like looking into a time machine. I could see all the decisions they had made to lead up to that point, and all the decisions I had made thereafter. I felt I had to do something, I had to reach out to them and tell them not to keep treading the same beaten path.
It felt good to finally connect with someone who knew what it felt like. It felt even better to be able to tell them where I went wrong and what I had learned from my (many) mistakes. It turns out I'm actually really good at sitting and listening to others, lending a helpful ear or shoulder to cry on when needed. So I'm planning on becoming a counsellor. Giving back to the therapy services that have given me so much. My DMs are always open to anyone needing to vent or chat.
I'm also trying out a new method of dealing with my own anxieties - radical acceptance. That is, "about accepting experiences, beliefs, and perceptions, often without offering judgments or believing that things should be different than they are" (GoodTherapy, 2015). The idea is straightforward. Rather than seeing your anxieties as entities you want to be rid of, you simply stop fighting it. Anxieties thrive and feed on negative thoughts, so you simply accept that this is just the way things are now. No judgement. No self-criticism. No self-berating. Go with the flow and stop constantly trying to wrestle control back, because in the end, none of it matters.
We are insignificant specks on a living rock, hurtling through time and space.
Recently, I've been doing some dog-sitting for my parents. They have the most amazing view over the Blackmore Vale. One evening I was watering the plants and was struck by the thought of 'I wonder how many leaves are on this hedge. Thousands? Millions?' I looked up, seeing trees and fields for miles, and asked myself the same question - 'I wonder how many leaves are in my field of view right now? Billions? Trillions?' And this was only a miniscule proportion of the world. Existential ponderings do wonders for straightening a mind out.
Now, whenever I feel my anxieties rising, I go back to that thought about leaves and remind myself that the worry, the need for control, is all so insignificant. None of it really matters. I could drop dead tomorrow. None of it matters. Why worry about something you cannot control...
Of course, it is so much easier to write or read, than to put into actual practice. It's a hard step to take. Believe me. I've only been practising this theory of acceptance for the past week or so and it is incredibly hard to break such an ingrained routine. But I feel I'm on the right track. I finally feel like I can make some difference, to myself and to those around me.