There are many anxiety symptoms but one I feel a lot is anxiety overwhelm. People often say they feel overwhelmed in the same way they say ‘a bit OCD’. You have a to do list that is pretty full, you have to cram a few things into a day, it’s busy, life is busy. But true anxious overwhelm is just debilitating. I have sat in a chair unable to move, feeling crushed with the weight of my mental to do list, unable to make a start because I just don’t know what order to complete things in. Often people are surprised when they learn that I suffer from anxiety as apparently I come across as confident and together. Somehow! 🙂
Sometimes I feel like I can’t take a breath, my chest gets tight and my stomach clenches. I can physically feel the presence of all the things that need doing, almost as if they were literally standing behind me, breathing down my neck. My mind flits from job to job, like flicking through the open tabs on my browser, unable to remember what I was last on, what I needed to do. On days like that, I am unable to complete many tasks, if any.
Midway through a job I will start to think about something else that desperately needs doing, something that I deem has higher priority and I will start to do that, but then something else will jump the mental queue. The higher priority the job is, the harder I find it to tick off the list. And the worse the pressure is to get it sorted. I know I have bad anxiety, it is something I battle with regularly, sometimes it’s so much worse, sometimes it is manageable but it’s always there. I constantly feel like I’m not enough, my house is a mess, there are piles of (thankfully clean!) washing everywhere you look. Apparently washing and hanging out clothes is something I can just about manage but actually folding and putting it away, not so much!
The pressure to provide my family with some form of nourishment every day weighs heavily, I try to meal plan but so often I just don’t get round to it, yet another thing on my list to do. I have a burst every so often and plan a few meals, even manage to add the ingredients to an online shop but all too often, by the time I get round to making the meal, half the necessary components have already been eaten!
Then there is work, I have emails to reply to every day, DMs coming in on instagram, work ops everywhere but some days I can’t even begin to reply, I just freeze subliminally and can’t open mail, it’s almost like a fear. The longer I leave it, the worse it gets. Then it grows into something huge. The minute I do it, when I eventually get over the block, it just melts away and I feel enormous relief. And I know this and yet I still struggle. Welcome to anxiety! It also makes you overanalyse things. Often I will really obsess about something, a conversation, an interaction online and actually it was just me avoiding the real issue, whatever that happened to be!
So what’s the answer? Well I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I make lists, then I try to order them by priority. I try and make home lists and work lists and then look at how I can tackle them both in order of importance. I try to get up before the children and have some time working before they wake up, then I endeavour to put my phone down for a bit. I try and fit in a run or walk into the day where possible, preferably running as it really helps my anxiety. I also take beta blockers when I need to. I suppose really, it’s just about calming my mind and although I’m rubbish at doing breathing exercises, they do help. Can you relate?