About anxiety, being authentic, accepting encouragement and being brave
Welcome to my first ever blog which I want to start with a confession:
I am afraid of writing.
I have always been a slow writer, something to do with my dyspraxia, I always scored lower in my written exams than my oral ones. I learnt that “I just cannot write”.
I get blocks, my head hurts, my body gets tense and I start shifting in my seat. My writing seems to be a matter of life and death. So why put myself through this?
Well, partly it is because I am stubborn – I don’t like feeling that I cannot do something which is important to me. But it’s also about being brave. On the Counselling Directory the most searched terms in January 2019 were anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder, totalling a number of 26588 searches, plus another 10097 searches for panic attacks. This compares to 11206 searches for depression. Anxiety seems to be the mental health enemy number one. Anxiety keeps many of us from doings things and I am not talking about jumping out a plane with a parachute. I am talking about things like leaving the house, starting a new hobby or asking for what we need.
When an anxious client walks through my door, I see their fears but also the amount of courage that they muster everyday in order to go about their daily life as best as they can. Being brave is often the only choice they feel they have got. When we come to a point where we cannot cope with anxiety anymore, when there just isn’t enough courage to match the anxiety, we often tell ourselves off for being anxious – which only increases the anxiety.
I know that my anxiety around writing is related to the frustration and disappointment I felt as a pupil and student, when my knowledge did not show up on paper, when I felt less clever, less good than others. Through my writing I want to be brave, for myself and others.
But there is something else that helps me write this blog. During my counsellor training I was told, that my thinking out loud helped some of my colleagues in reflecting on their lives, understanding themselves better as well as learning how to be more compassionate with themselves. I was also told that I should write more.
”So, I am finally taking this encouragement, taking a leap of faith to put my voice with those who are working and living to improve mental health within our communities, who try and bring more authenticity, connection and vibrancy to life.
I hope that you, too, find something helpful in my writing. Maybe you would like to think about one or two of the following questions? What it is that you are avoiding because you are afraid? Where do you need encouragement? Is it okay to be anxious? Can you imagine ways how you could make feeling anxious easier for yourself? How are you being brave? What does it feel like to acknowledge that you are anxious as well as brave? What would it take for you to make a leap of faith?