I didn’t think I was a worrier, I thought I was easygoing and carefree.
What I didn’t know was that I stuffed the worries deep down on the inside.
Packed them in tight. Refused to acknowledge their existence.
Recently, though I realised they were there.
They were like my Tupperware cupboard – I opened that door suddenly, without thinking and out they all tumbled on to the floor. They had me surrounded.
I buried those worries as tiny seeds and they had grown silently, large and hostile.
Navigating the newly discovered forest of anxiety felt like being really, really lost. Confusing, frustrating and the burning question of how did I even get here?
Maybe I gave worries a few seconds of extra airtime, when I should have shut them down.
Maybe instead of burying them, planting them and allowing them to grow I should have aired them to someone I trust – let them out into a safe place and they’d sound silly and die.
Or I could have been more vigilant – fighting those thoughts with much more positive, powerful and truthful ones.
Whatever it was that I did, or didn’t do, to get me lost in a forest of fear I’m not sure – I just knew I couldn’t stay there for long.
If you’re feeling lost in that forest or overwhelmed with anxiety these are some sure fire ways to get you on the road to home again:
Don’t try to fight a thought with a thought. Fight it with actual, spoken-out-loud words. The worry thinks, but noone likes you, you’re on your own. SAY “I am valuable, I am loved, I am not alone.”
The anxiety thinks I can’t do this anymore, it’s too hard.
SAY “I can do hard things. I am not overcome.”
You might have to say those words over and over but they settle down in your soul and eventually you feel them and start to believe them.
Phone a friend. One that will hear you out, and walk with you too.
On a particularly difficult day I sent a text to someone I trusted. She checked up on me three more times that day. Knowing someone was thinking of me, and praying for me lifted me out of my anxiety. Her words of encouragement gently cast light on some dark thoughts – and when there’s light on those things, they loose their power to rattle you.
Do something fun. Watch a funny movie, ride a roller coaster, go for a bike ride or a surf or read a novel or whatever it is that fills you up. Cast your cares, shake them off and laugh. It’s like medicine for your soul.
I’m not saying I have this worrying thing under wraps. But maybe they’re not balancing as precariously now. I got rid of a couple I didn’t need, and stacked a couple of others a little bit neater. And now I can open that cupboard without them all falling out.
Great post, Em. I also stuff things down, but have been giving myself permission to grieve, to confront feelings, acknowledge them so I can deal with things.
Your advice is so practical and encouraging. Love the Tupperware cupboard analogy. We all know that space in our kitchens!
This is so good Em. Saying things out loud is so important, such a good reminder for me to use that to fight my errant thoughts. xx