Hello. How are you? I’m fine, thanks. But hang on a second… back up the truck… am I fine?
I wasn’t fine for a while. Years, in fact. Ages of time. Loads of things built up and created the anxiety bully that lived in my head, and I listened to what she said and obeyed her every command until late last year, when I couldn’t do it anymore. I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder, and was off work for 2 months while I stared at a wall and took medication. (OK, it wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty awful.)
I blamed everything: work, my long commute, tiredness, the dark mornings, cold weather. Whilst these were definite triggers, I didn’t attribute my breakdown to my long standing feelings of unaddressed guilt, my unhelpful thought patterns, negative labelling of myself, and catastrophizing anything I could. I wasn’t actually aware I was feeling any of those things; I just looked outside for the causes and not in.
Of course, it’s not all my fault. I can’t help my thoughts or the feelings I feel. But I had never owned them, faced them, or understood them. I just let them treat my mind like a marionette. This is an incredibly brief background to what I’ve been standing up against since December 2015.
I’m now a meditator, a Buddhist in training and a mindful minion hoping to live a completely different life in 2016. What I want to concentrate on now is the future, the positives, the little bits of sunshine in every single day that bring you right back to the moment you are living in. But it’s not easy, I fail a lot, I’m only a beginner and it’s my ups and downs I’ll be sharing.
Can I do it? How did I even get here? What led to my diagnosis? Can we eat pizza now? All in good time.