I’ve learnt that everything you do is a reaction to your environment. Subconsciously. Consciously. It doesn’t matter how, but that’s how it manifests.
It’s too late to fix a lot of my mistakes but the only thing I can do is work to understand why they happened. And I do. I’m quick to learn and it took me a long time to see the light but when I saw it I reached for the clarity quickly.
Anxiety is often a result of being unable to cope with uncomfortably emotions and feelings whether they’re present or embedded. Even if anxiety isn’t something that has manifested inside you – count yourself lucky- there are two types of defence mechanisms that often come into play; primary and secondary. I’ve identified the reasons behind my defences. I don’t think these reasons are for everyone to know but they’re there. I can tell you that some of my mechanisms include isolation, repression and even intellectualization.
Take a look at the link below to find out more about defence mechanisms or take a look at the book ‘The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence’ by Anna Freud who defined the mechanisms outlined by her father, Sigmund Freud.Everyone has them and self-awareness is never a bad thing.
I’ve spent a long time analysing myself to figure out what led me to make mistakes I never should have made and how I even got into a position where I would need to know this stuff – it definitely was not through studying psychology. I would say repression is the one I’ve come to find comfort in (subconsciously) and I’ve realised that it is due to the fact that for as long as I can remember issues have been dealt with in silence. So what did I do? I did the same. Eventually, my anxiety became so bad that even though I realised this, I couldn’t open my mouth to speak on those matters. I was terrified and I had no idea why.
So it’s important to see that the stigma around mental health makes it even harder for someone with anxiety who is already terrified. I felt like stone and the cement wouldn’t crack. I wanted to open my mouth but my lips wouldn’t part, like there were invisible stitches only I could see and feel but never explain.
It’s so hard for people who don’t live with the daily struggle of anxiety to understand how you feel. Trying to make them understand only makes you feel inferior and makes you want to shrink into yourself even more.
How do you even begin to explain the feelings? When your throat chokes up, when you can’t feel your fingers and toes then your arms and legs and then your whole body through the unbearable pins and needles. When it gives you shakes to the point where you’re retching up your guts. When you pass out because you can barely breathe. When you can’t get out of bed and do the things you once loved. When it leads a panic attack that you’ve been trying to put at bay for the whole day. When you go to the doctor and they shrug you off and give you an inhaler. When they just chuck some more pills in your face.
I’m not one to over dramatise anything and that may be what this seems like but it takes going through it to really understand it. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
I’ve come to a place where people understand what I’m going through and it makes me feel a little less alone. I wish I could express how the anxiety makes me feel in spoken words as well as others. I wish it so hard; maybe I wouldn’t be where I am if I could.
Unfortunately, I don’t have that ability (just yet). Fortunately, I can write.
So I hope that the people who find this and can relate; I hope this makes you feel a little less alone. Because sometimes even when you’re surrounded by all the love and warmth you could have ever asked for, anxiety makes you feel like it’s just you against the world and you’d do anything to feel something again. Even though someone cares and makes you their priority, it puts thoughts into your head that have no right to be there. So unwelcome but so welcomed by the raging beast of anxiety.