Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Anxiety Diaries | Elastic Band

I usually post new Anxiety Diaries every Friday but felt today that I'm in need of an impromptu extra dose of posting. To be honest I feel completely frustrated, pissed off, on edge, upset, bored and generally a whole load of other things that go hand in hand with anxiety. I've spent the day trying to purge my anxiety, shake hands with my anxiety, kick anxiety's ass, plead with anxiety, pally up with anxiety and I still feel absolutely rotten. I don't mean to drag anyone down with me, of course I don't, but I thought that writing here on my beloved little blog might help me sort through some things and give me a bit of a lift, as well as helping to reassure other anxiety fighters that having down days is OK. 

As soon as I woke up I knew something was wrong. I felt sort of... meh. Les mis, as my friend Alice and I like to say. Down in the dumps for no good reason, only when I'm anxious there usually is a good reason, it just takes a while to figure it out. I knew that on the surface I felt upset because I'm broke and there are things being released left, right and centre that I want to buy. What's tricky is, I tend to shop compulsively when I'm anxious about another issue, and I've found it difficult today trying to figure out if I want to shop to avoid dealing with something else, or if I want to shop just because I'd quite like the luxury of being able to shop, and to not be so broke anymore. 

I tried various things to take my mind off of feeling les mis and towards feeling more proactive and productive. I turned on my laptop and decided I'd write up a review, as that's productive and I love blogging. But nothing seemed to be going right. My photos seemed awful, my wording was all over the place and I Just. Could. Not. Concentrate. So I watched a trashy movie on Netflix to give myself a break, yet even after sitting through an hour and a half of What To Expect When You're Expecting (funny but nothing special) I still felt distinctly 'meh'. 

I figured I'd have a chat with my mum and see what she thought about it. 'I'm feeling a bit les mis' today, I started ('les mis' is a surprisingly addictive turn of phrase!) and then I explained how yesterday I was on fire, writing up two posts, tweaking my blog layout, brain storming future content, receiving and responding to an offer from a PR company. I felt so switched on and positive, in the zone, in the flow, etc etc. Whereas today I just feel rubbish. 'It's a classic case of the elastic band theory' my mum said. The what now?

A doctor once told my mum that our brains are like an elastic band. Imagine hooking an elastic band over your thumb and index finger. Now imagine that as you go about your day, hitting your stride and getting heaps of things done, concentrating hard and giving it your all, the elastic band is being stretched further and further. It feels good though, right? You're on top form, everything is running smoothly and you're stomping through your to-do list like there's no tomorrow. Sometimes, though, we get so wrapped up in feeling this way that we pull and stretch the band back a little too far. It becomes completely taut, devoid of any slack. You wake up the next day and... PING! The band flies off before falling in a saggy, worn out heap on the floor. 

The aim is to find a middle ground, where your band is taut enough to have you performing well and hitting your goals, yet with enough slack left to gently loosen up and be flexible, avoiding pinging away suddenly. Yesterday I was pulling my band waaaay too far, not taking any breaks, and today? I'm the heap on the floor with no stretch left. Which is just marvelous. Gah!

I know it's important to take breaks, have moments of chill out time and look after myself, but when I have those moments of being in the flow I always want to keep going and push on through as I'm worried I'll lose my stride otherwise. Here's the thing; the only way you're going to lose your stride is if you stretch yourself too far and then end up completely exhausted, irritable and anxious the next day. I'm fidgety and I'm restless and I'm weepy; my band was truly pulled too tight. 

Along with the deflated band theory is the whole shopping compulsively conundrum. I think it's that I'm missing being able to go out and have a little shopping spree, but I also know there are deeper reasons for my urges to shop today. I'm a total magazine whore and love reading the newest editions of pretty much everything as I find it so relaxing. I plough through magazines super fast and could happily sit with a big pile of glossies and work my way through them one by one all day long. I guess that sounds kind of sad, but whatever. It's a hobby... of sorts. Yet I recognise that part of the reason I'm so magazine obsessed is because I'm afraid, deep down, of being bored. Of having nothing glossy and easy to occupy my mind when I'm not blogging, or writing poetry, or doing anything else that requires brain power. 

I've resisted the temptation to go out and burn my debit card, knowing full well that I have next to nothing in my account anyway. I'm trying to perk myself up and quit being so silly - I mean, it's just a bunch of magazines! And yet I still feel absolutely rotten. There are CBT exercises I could do but I'm deliberately avoiding doing them because I don't want to feel better; I want to go shopping! Gah, I know how illogical that sounds and I'm so annoyed at myself because here I am tapping away each week writing up an Anxiety Diaries post and I can't get my brain together over one small, silly little thing.

I feel like I'm letting myself down by not being able to use all the tools I've been learning to make myself feel better but I can't seem to want to get out of my funk. I thought I'd pen this post to show fellow anxiety fighters that sometimes (OK, maybe more than sometimes) you'll have moments where you feel rubbish and full of anxiety, and you might know what you could do to feel a little better but for whatever reason you can't bring yourself to do it. And that's OK. I've been beating myself up all day but am going to try to cut myself some slack. Be kind to yourself, look after yourself when you're feeling rotten, be a friend and tell yourself to take things one day at a time. I might be feeling all floppy and 'les mis' today, but tomorrow is, thankfully, a brand new day. 

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  1. I love how your posts are so honest. I often feel just like this. One good day - almost too good?! - and then the next day I wake up feeling drained and rotten.

    Don't worry about it, everybody has bad days. Just try and think of the positives, focus on what you achieved yesterday and what you WILL achieve tomorrow.


    1. Yep, the one almost too good day and then, boom, it all goes pear shaped! I'm feeling much better this week, think I was just having a down day, which is to be expected I guess! Thanks for your comment, made me feel more positive when I read it :)xx

  2. Wonderful post...I like your pretty blog.^^
    Maybe follow each other on bloglovin?
    Let me know follow you then back.
    Lovely greets Nessa

  3. I'm with you on this Imogen, it is absolutely fine not to be okay all the time :)
    We put pressure on ourselves far too much! :(
    Hope your having a good day today! :)
    Anna :)

    1. Forgot to mention that I think the elastic band theory is very true! :) xxxx


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