This has been a troublesome week for me and I have struggled with my emotions at times. Most of this centers around a recent news event which I am sure you will have all heard about.
This event was the truly shocking attack on the crowd after Ariana Grande had played her concert at the Manchester Arena. While people were leaving there was an explosion in the foyer resulting in many injured and sadly 22 persons being killed. What was more shocking (to me and probably many others) was the fact the attack was directed at children and families just out having fun. I have close family who live in Manchester and it is hard to believe that any of my nieces could have been at that concert, or any of their friends could have been there. Terrorist events are awful and in the world we live in there are many more happening every day that affect many walks of life in many countries around the world. It is because of this that I no longer read a daily newspaper or follow news websites on my iPad as all I ever seem to be force-fed is bad news stories. Papers sell fear and a population in fear of something is easier to control.
How does this all affect me though?
The problem is, when you suffer from anxiety you begin to question yourself and look at the worst case scenario for everyday tasks. A news event such as this throws added pressure in to the mix and you begin to be fearful of going out again. I have had 3 panic attacks this week. 2 of these have been at home but I have been able to calm myself down and get my breathing back to normality to stop it escalating further. The other happened at work in front of my colleagues who saw me shaking, crying and generally in a mess. I had to leave the sales floor almost as soon as I started my shift and return upstairs to a quiet office until I could regain my composure and breathe again. I have beaten myself up about this happening as I have been making huge leaps forward in my recovery and this felt like I’d failed and gone back to the start again.
The reality is it is just a setback. Nothing more, nothing less. I haven’t had to rely on the mental health crisis team for support this time. I have been able to calm myself down and return to ‘normal’ working duties within a reasonable amount of time. If this had happened 3 or 4 months ago I would have turned around, gone home and shut myself away from everybody. I am incredibly proud of how far I’ve come and I am beginning to accept how far I still have to go. My manager came to me in the afternoon and said to me he was proud of me too and this meant the world to me. I even shed another tear but it was a happy one this time.
A large part of my anxieties are caused by over-thinking. I have got myself in to a state this week by thinking that everywhere I go is going to be dangerous. Now, I know in my heart that this is not the case but my head tells me otherwise. I start eyeing people in the street suspiciously and wondering who they might really be. I have been looking at things and thinking “something could be stored in there to hurt someone” or “what if something happens to put me in danger?” . My head is playing games and it has been winning until now.
Anyone who has ever been to my small island (it’s not really mine, I don’t own it or anything) for a holiday or at her majesty’s pleasure will know that it is a very quaint place. The people who live here value the pace of life and it is sometimes for this reason that it is often thought of as being stuck in the 1950’s. In all fairness there are still areas of the small island that still look the same as they did in the 50’s but they have progressed a little and now have broadband internet instead of dial-up (remember the stress trying to open an attachment in an email while on dial-up?). The chances of anything remotely terror related are very slim, but for anyone like me who worries, there is still a chance.
I cannot change what has already happened and I cannot change what has not yet happened so all I can do is try to life my life each day at a time.
If you have people close to you, regularly tell them that you love them. Look after yourself and each other. Smile at strangers, do a good deed for someone or just generally be kind to each other. That way we can try to overcome some of the fear and hatred and make our world a better place for our children to grow up in.