Anxiety can impact each one of us differently and it can really fuck with our heads. I’ve had anxiety for many years but only really realised I had it in the past couple of years. I didn’t realise how much my anxiety impacted my life till I started my online counselling last year. The counselling helped me break down and understand how my anxiety affects me, what triggers my anxiety and why. It was great! I found it interesting and it helped me understand myself and how I work.
My one to one therapy sessions were mainly focusing on my PTSD and anxiety. I finished that in April this year and I haven’t had any issues with PTSD or depression since. My anxiety still stuck around but I put that down to the fact that I was miserable back in the UK. I was done with the whole country. My move to Australia was like a waiting game that I was so done with playing. I just wanted to get out. I wanted to close the door on my past and leave all the trauma and shit behind. When day finally arrived for me to leave I didn’t cry once. It wasn’t a sad day for me. I had waited so long for this, I was ready for it. When I landed in Sydney I got a bit emotional. I had made it to Australia. I had finally made it. Despite the many times I might have doubted myself I had fucking made it. The door was closed on my past and it was officially time to move forward and focus on myself.
My first couple of months here were great. I had fallen in love with the place and I was the happiest I had ever been but after a while my anxiety began to creep up on me. I was finding it difficult living and working with the same people. All staff members pretty much live on the yard and although we tend to try and keep ourselves to ourselves it was hard not to bump into work colleagues on my evening walks. It was a big change of lifestyle for me. I’ve lived with work colleagues before but this was back in the UK when I had my own car and went home on the weekends. I still got my space and me time that I needed after work. I could keep work and social friends separate however, I don’t have a car here, no matter how long I walk for I will still be on the work property and the only people I really know are my work colleagues. It began to eat me up and I think it kick started my anxiety. I started to feel like everyone was talking about me and my business. I know they weren’t but that’s just how my anxiety works. Eventually it got tough for me to go for an evening walk after work. I didn’t want to see anyone out of work hours. The working day was enough for me. Socialising got tough. I didn’t know what to say to people or how to talk to them. I just wanted to be in my shell but I didn’t want people wondering why I was being so ‘anti-social’. It was a constant argument I had with myself. I then began to worry more as I didn’t have the people who know about my past here with me to help me get through this. Sure I could message or Skype them whenever but the time difference made it hard sometimes. Some days I got pretty lonely. I felt lost and Christmas was fast approaching, which is then followed by new years and then my birthday. I had been down this road before. Dreading the future and feeling lost. It was all similar to me. I knew I was borderline relapsing and I knew the only way I could get out of this was by myself.
The yearling prep had started at work and I was loving it. Sure it would be hectic some days but that kept my mind busy. Having constant work to do helped me get through the day and sleep at night. Work wasn’t so much an issue to start off with but as the weeks got on my anxiety got worse. Some days I would have to stop myself from having a panic attack mid way through a parade or yard duties. I’d usually go and hide in the yard toilet for a couple of minutes to try and compose myself. Some evenings it was hard to separate myself from a tough day at work. There was one day where I thought I had majorly fucked up (I hadn’t at all) and I spent the evening crying about it because it was just on repeat in my head. Constant replay. When something like that replays in my head I usually go through every single person that was there and see it from their point of view which sets off my paranoia. I wonder what they must have said about me or thought about me. I wonder what they said to other people about me. The pressure of not feeling good enough for work was adding excess weight onto my shoulders. The yearling prep is working up towards the sales in January and the thought of going to the sales was enough to almost start a panic attack. I couldn’t do that. My anxiety causes my body temperature to rise, my heart to race and excess sweating mix that with the Australian sun and you get one hot mess. I can be a pretty sweaty person anyway but when my anxiety kicks in there is no doubt that I will be the sweatiest person ever which then also kick starts my paranoia because I know I’m the only person sweating this much. It’s a vicious cycle really. Literally the other day there was me and 2 other work colleagues sat down, talking about the sales and my face started to drip with sweat. Fucking piss take. Where the sales takes place is apparently a lot hotter and more humid than where I work. I knew that if I went I would not cope well. The pressure, stress, heat and paranoia would not mix well together.
This went on for more than a month. I hit some real low points where I thought about booking a flight back to the UK (which says a lot because I severely dislike it there). The anxiety was really getting to me. People were asking my roommate if I was okay. Thankfully she’s pretty understanding and she knew what to say to them and knew what was going on with me. I had shut myself off. My brain would stay somewhat awake for work but as soon as I clocked off that was it. I shut myself in my bedroom. Sometimes spent the evenings crying. I hadn’t planned on ever feeling like this again. I thought that I was through with all of this when I had finished my counselling. I was beating myself up a lot about it and I was so mad at myself for letting me get this way again. I spoke to a lady called J about it. She’s like the mother of the yard and I’ve always felt comfortable talking to her. She’s really understanding. I told her about what was going on and my worries. I explained that now it was mostly the sales that were causing my anxiety and she came up with the simplest solution…don’t go. I had thought about not going but didn’t want to speak to my boss about it as I didn’t want to feel like I would be letting the team down. I was scared some people wouldn’t understand why I wasn’t taking this amazing opportunity. After a few days my boss came to speak to me and I briefly explained what was going on. I think if I had gone into detail I would have broken down into tears. She was amazing though. She got it. She understood. She helped lift some of that pressure and weight off my shoulders and I felt 10 times better after I had a chat with her. Don’t get me wrong I am absolutely gutted I am not going to the sales because I know that I would’ve been going if I hadn’t had all of this anxiety troubles (which helped me realise that there is nothing wrong with my work skills) but I know I need to stay for my sake. I don’t want to push myself over the edge. I don’t want to even risk falling back into a similar mental state that I was in last year. No. Not gonna happen. It is pretty shit because all the work I have done has been leading up towards the sales. I know it would have been a great opportunity and experience for me. Trust me I know that but I also know how much pressure and stress it would have put on me and my anxiety.
My anxiety convinced me that I had slipped back into my old ways. That I had taken 20 steps back from where I was several months ago but looking back I’ve realised that it’s all bullshit.
- For once I have put my mental state first and I have done what’s best for me. Sure I still have my anxious/paranoid moments where I feel like I have let the team down but possibly for the first time in a long time I have put my mental health first.
- My anxiety tried to convince me to book a flight back to the UK to run away but I told it to fuck off.
- I’ve been able to realise that it is my anxiety that has been causing me to feel/think this way, it’s not actually me.
Despite what my anxiety tries to convince me, I know how far I have come and even though it’s been pretty shit sometimes I know that I am still good. I’m still doing okay. I’m still PTSD and depression free. I know I can stand up to my anxiety. I have regained some faith in myself. I’ve realised that I will probably have many more little blips along the way but I know that I can get through them.
I still have a bit more work to do till I can safely say I am over this current bump in my path but I will get over it.
Thank you for reading,
Sending my love to you all,