I’ve had an anxious few days worrying about work related matters. It started towards the tail end of last week and preyed on my mind over the weekend, before descending again from on high like a hungry vulture on Monday morning. Various unwanted thoughts have spun a not so merry dance around my head despite my best efforts to kick them to the kerb and focus on other stuff. Once an obsessive thought gets its claws into your skull it’s hard to shake.
The old me would have hoisted the drawbridge and battened down the hatches. I would have retreated into myself and not breathed a word of the internal battle raging within. Why? Because I thought nobody would understand, not even my nearest and dearest. I thought I was a weird, deviant, downright bad person, it never crossed my mind that such thoughts were indicative of poor, but treatable, mental health.
There comes a point, however, when you have to front up to your demons, tackle them head on, and take it on the chin. OCD is a bully, used to pushing sufferers around and getting its own way. It’s a big fish in the small pond that is my inner space. And like all bullies it doesn’t like people standing up to it. That’s not part of its game plan, it doesn’t expect you to fight back.
But fight me must. Anxiety is a by product of OCD. The intrusive thought settles and the anxiety follows in its wake, like a comet’s trail. The only way to combat the thought, our addled brains reason, is to to succumb to tortuous routines. These offer only temporary relief, though, and actually reinforce the obsession when it returns. Such thoughts have sought to consume me in recent days.
I don’t like feeling like this, I don’t like waking up with a cloud of worry hanging over me. Unnecessary worry, for there are other much more worthy causes when it comes to fretting and frowning. In the greater scheme of things this work concern is small fry compared to what I could be sinking my teeth into. It’s a distraction, a bluebottle buzzing around. It’s irritating and irksome.
It’s a struggle but struggling implies hope. Struggling means you haven’t given up, you haven’t lain down and waved the white flag. I dreaded work this week but I showed up. I talked about it with Fionnuala, didn’t allow it to distract me to that far off place I used to hide. Anxiety can apply the brakes but I will not allow it to stall the progress I’ve made throughout the year.
Mental illness is largely invisible. It is a silent killer. An army walk the streets every day fighting unseen battles. They are warriors who turn up and live their lives the best they can, the only way they know. One of the reasons I started this blog is to publicise such issues in the hope that my story will comfort and encourage others. That doesn’t mean I’ve won, every day I start again.
I’ve had an anxious week, it’s happened before and it will happen again. I’m no masterpiece, rather a work in progress. I cannot afford to rest on my laurels, become complacent. I’m no superstar but I’m here, every day. I am grateful for my wife and kids, who spur me on. They make me crawl out of bed every day, rain or shine. Every day, even the most anxious ones. I turn up.
Do you have anxious weeks? Can you relate?