The Anxiety Trend

THE ANXIETY TREND

I recently ‘decided’ that a multitude of emotional issues I’ve had over the past few years and the way I deal (or don’t deal) with them could all be put down to an anxiety disorder. I’ve obviously experienced anxiety in the past at times when it would be perfectly ‘normal’ – driving tests, hospital visits, hair appointments after I’ve used 4 boxes of DIY bleach.. we’ve all been there, right? but after having what I believe was a panic attack a couple of weeks ago I started to wonder about my emotional health.

I’ve always been quick to cry, can’t be in a confrontational situation because I’ll reach a certain level or angry/upset and, tears. No crying in the workplace is a good rule and so no confrontation it had to be. Even as a teenager I remember crying at movies that weren’t really all that sad, I can be in floods over an advert (have you seen the Pampers one about the premature babies? Gets me every time!!!) or a sad song on the radio but I’ve been led to believe that I’m not alone in that. There are lots of us over-emotional lot out there and so I thought it was.. ‘normal’.

This year we moved in to a new house (actually it was Christmas last year) with my parents. As you can imagine this was a huge change for everyone and me being me I pushed down every problem that I had, every niggle, every nugget of stress and reminded myself over and over why we were doing it and how great it would be once we all got settled. It’s definitely better now we’re in a routine but at the start of the year I was basically ready to be committed. All the tiny things I wasn’t dealing with had me at full stress capacity so anything at any time could tip me over the edge and I’d be sitting in the bathroom sobbing with all the taps on.

I spoke about this before when I said that I thought the ‘positive vibes only’ culture was making us all a bit miserable and at the time I hoped that was the realisation that would put me back on an even keel but I now realise that there was more to it. When I was sitting in the bathroom at work gasping for air, heart beating out of my chest I thought perhaps this could be that ‘anxiety’ everyone’s been talking about. Outside of our huge change of living situation my life has been pretty stable and good for a while. My family is great, my husband is very supportive, the kids aren’t giving me too much of a hard time but I have been finding it increasingly difficult to deal with day to day stuff.

A huge, looming ball of angst that’s hanging over me has been YouTube and blogging. I have felt so out of the loop, so lost, everyone is feeling it I think but as a blogger you are your blog and when people aren’t engaging like they used to it’s hard not to feel that on a personal level. It’s unlike (most) other jobs in that you are very connected to the success of what you’re doing and if people are unsubscribing from it they are also unsubscribing from you. Obviously (in most cases) that’s not a conscious decision but it’s hard to separate that in your mind when you are basically selling yourself for a living, however you slice it.

When I look back over the past year I can see myself unravelling and struggling to find the answer to how I’m feeling. I wrote this post about numbers not being the be all and end all, I wrote the post about positivity being the new negativity, I even wrote a post when we were on holiday and I effectively locked myself in a bathroom because I couldn’t deal with my family. Warning signs, anyone? What I took a very long time to understand was that the difference between feeling anxious/stressed and having a disorder is that you cannot fix the latter. Nobody can come along and take that weight from you, it’s yours to keep.

I didn’t want to tell anyone about it because I thought it would seem like attention seeking and that nobody would take it seriously because ‘everyone has anxiety these days’ and honestly? I didn’t believe most people so why would anyone believe me? I think that the blogging community are prone to suffer from anxiety because they’re at the forefront of this social media numbers game. We’re forever telling kids not to value yourself more/less depending on the likes you have on instagram or the friends you have on snapchat but that is quite literally what we do for a living. We have to value those things, it’s out job! So you can see how the sudden downturn in engagement across the board has a huge number of people in a tailspin.. which in turn made it seem like half of YouTube had adopted anxiety for the lols.

I eventually recorded a podcast (random, I know but I felt the most comfortable talking about it that way) and I received so many emails and messages after the podcast from women around my age feeling the same thing. Completely isolated and like nobody would understand if they spoke about how they were feeling. I do think that the older we get the harder it is to admit you’re struggling with emotional/mental health because you have lives and families and bills and shit to deal with. You don’t have time to worry about trivial little thing like crying yourself to sleep for no reason! I mean, at least you’re sleeping, right?

I don’t really want to talk to my friends and family because I know that much as they will want to understand they wont be able to and I really can’t be bothered trying to explain it if I’m 100% honest. You can’t fix it but you can (I hear) learn to manage it and know what triggers you. I am still on the first page so I’m brand new at this and have no idea what sets me off but I know that dealing with things as and when they arise rather than just ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away is job 1. I’m considering going back to my office job full time to take the pressure off the social media side of things too.. and funnily enough I’ve seen a couple of other people say the same thing on twitter this week. Perhaps there’s something in the air.

Either way I wanted to post this for those of you who feel like you have nothing to complain about and yet often find yourself with a low feeling you can’t shake. I like to put on a sad movie and let it all out, it’s cathartic and still allows me to ignore my real problems while giving me an outlet (and a cover) for all the tears I’ve been saving up. Might not be the healthiest way to go but for now it’s all I’ve got. If you want to chat you can leave a comment or email me at mikhilamcdaid@hotmail.com ..it can be really shit to feel really shit and have nobody to talk to so let’s talk to each other.

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8 Comments

  1. Sophie
    20 September, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    Hi,
    I’m so glad that you are brave enough to post this. Anxiety has been a part of my life for… well as since as I can remember (I’m only 21 years old at the moment) and have constantly felt the “selfish” feeling or the feeling that people will either not believe you, or not give the illness enough credit on how debilitating it is. I think I’m currently in a rough patch which has lasted a few months (since my Granma died in June), and it’s so difficult to get out of, especially when there’s nothing going on at the moment – due to waiting to start my masters in January and having a weekend job. Fortunately, there are medications to help with anxiety. I hope you find a plan that can help ease some of the anxiety or even manage it all! šŸ™‚

  2. Anna R
    20 September, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    Really interesting and honest post Khila. It’s sounds like things have been really tough for you lately. I hope you’re able to get the help you need to manage it. I’ve been reading a brilliant book called Emotional Agility (it’s Ā£1.99 on Kindle atm). It’s very much in tune with the kinds of things you’re writing about, in particular the author writes a lot about how negative emotions are useful and shouldn’t be ignored because they contain important information. Anyway if you’re in the market for some reading I can recommend it.

  3. Virginia
    20 September, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    I’m sorry you’re experiencing anxiety. It can be paralyzing and yet often can lead to impulsive behavior. It is scary and very stressful. No matter how “good” a person’s life seems, anxiety is real when it’s there. Please talk to a mental health professional. I practice transcendental meditation which has given me the most help. It’s expensive to train to do it but so are the doctors and the medication. Take care.

  4. Jane
    20 September, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    I can identify with so much in this post. After divorce I was so intent on carrying on for my kids, trying to show at work that I could ‘keep going’ and, to cut a long story short, I reached breaking point. I’m just coming out the other side of ‘this, and now back at work. Well done for picking up on the warning signs and thinking about changes you might consider making now. I am wondering if rearranging your furniture is a sign you are ready for other life changes! I would also consider talking to your doctor. I’ve noticed you often comment about your age (you are not old, I’m 43 so have several years on you!) and I’m wondering if social media is making you more conscious of this than you need to be? Whatever you do, you’ll always have a viewer / reader in me. And parenthood is hard – don’t we all hide in the bathroom occasionally??? šŸ™‚

  5. Jekaterina
    20 September, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Hey, thank you for sharing! You always come across a such a positive and upbeat person. I would never be able to put myself out there like you do because the first negative comment would completely destroy me! I hope you will find a way to recognise and cope with your issues. It’s a hard and long road! You are my favourite blogger, I hope you won’t give up on it as you are really good at it. Much love from fellow Yorkshire lass xx

  6. Andrea
    21 September, 2017 / 9:36 am

    I’m sorry you’re struggling with anxiety and emotional distress. I have ‘dealt’ with it for many years. I found CBT and psychological counselling helped me with unearthing the reasons behind it and how I could best learn the skills to cope.
    I understand why you don’t talk about it. It seems common for people to flippantly say now that every little panic is anxiety or every little sad moment is depression but for you to be opening up about it like this I’d say it does seem like you have anxiety.
    Maybe a trip to the doctors would be an idea. They can do blood tests to check hormone levels and for other things such as anaemia or thyroid problems that can cause mood change. I’m not saying what you’re feeling isn’t anxiety but it could be some physical problem at the root or making things worse.
    It must be difficult to be so reliant on the viewers or readers for youtubers and bloggers. I couldn’t do it for that reason alone. I crave to be accepted and liked so it would affect me badly.
    I think you should go with what your heart tells you to do. We get all bent out of shape trying to please people and trying to do what we think is right. What we should be doing is going with what our gut instincts tell us. I’ve been doing this ,with still some anxiety (I doubt I’ll ever get rid of it completely) ,for a little while and honestly I’ve felt relieved. I’ve spent my entire life trying not to upset anyone and avoiding confrontation. I am 50 next year (yes that’s old!! Lol) and I’ll be buggered if I’m spending the second half of my life feeling as I did in the first!
    My advice is talk to your gp. It could be something medical. Think about counselling. It may help. It would at least give you chance to cry in private or let it all out.
    I am a viewer and reader. What I love about you is your honesty. That’s why I’m subscribed. Keep being true to you. Take care. Xx

  7. 24 September, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    I have battled with my mental health since my teens, I am now 36 and I have to say it never gets any easier you just learn to manage it and not trigger it. I am currently blogging and I am on the verge of giving it up, I feel nobody cares or wants to hear me because I’m fixated on the numbers. I started blogging to help my over thinking but it feels like it is adding to it but if I give up I will feel a failure, we are constantly in catch 22 situations with anxiety, it is hard to know what to do for the best. I’ve been following your blog for a while and think you are amazing.

  8. 26 September, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    I was ‘diagnosed’ with severe anxiety and mild depression (although I’m not sure I agreed with the depression part) at the beginning of the year, after, what feels like a lifetime of feeling overwhelming panic, racing heart, always worrying about something, and if there was nothing to worry about, I’d worry about that. I just thought it was who I was, and how I functioned.

    It wasn’t until I couldn’t actually get out of bed, didn’t want to do anything and felt like all I could do was cry that I spoke to someone and even with an official diagnosis, I still feel like a fraud. Like everyone will look at me and say “what has she got to be anxious about” – because I can (mostly) hide it from everyone but my best friend and husband, they don’t see what happens on the inside. But, I’ve got to try and not care what other people think because knowing it’s anxiety and knowing my triggers, and how to cope with them (I was prescribed anti depressants but I didn’t think I could face the initial side effects) is the only way I can get through it. Talking about it on my blog really helps. The numbers game is SO shit – it’s constant pressure and I have to forcibly remind myself to ignore it otherwise I would just give up. And I don’t want to give up.

    If you ever want to chat, anxiety, fidgety legs or racing hearts, just shout. x

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