When I’m struggling with Anxiety I have no energy, no inclination and no mental capacity for dealing with the everyday stuff. If my husband asks me to pay a bill or call a company about something my heart races at the mere suggestion. Because anxiety and depression robs you of the confidence to believe you can do anything bar, if you’re lucky, the truly essential tasks. Accomplishing just those can take everything you have.
When I’m struggling, I don’t care about the everyday annoyances – the rain, the traffic, the delayed train. A disappointing ending to a book or a stroppy colleague. My mind is consumed only by my specific anxieties and everything else just seems to exist outside of that in a seemingly pointless bubble.
However, somewhat ironically, it’s the everyday stuff that always pulls me through and saves me in the end. It did with PND two years ago and it has begun to again since this anxiety recurrence. It was taking each everyday task one at a time, and proving to myself I could do them all, that got me back at work and taking care of my son. It’s the knowledge that I dealt with those small, mundane items on everyone’s to do list that has built my confidence in the last month or so. “I made dinner from scratch today, I must be getting better.” “I took Caterpillar to the park alone and didn’t have a panic attack, I must be getting better.” “I went to work and did my job well, I must be okay.”
Recovering from episodes of anxiety for me involves collecting evidence that I can do all the things my anxious mind tells me I’m not capable of. The best weapon for fighting irrational thoughts is an artillery of hard facts, and achieving those everyday tasks (even when you feel horrendous) is a good place to begin fact-collecting.
This week I’ve found myself being irritated by a delayed train. I’ve been bored by a task at work without being anxious about feeling that emotion. I’ve spent many days just living, good and bad moods flowing by, without obsessing about them. I’ve had periods of normality. I pray it continues.
The wonderful, mundane, everyday minutiae is beginning to come back to me and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.