Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Succession Anxiety

When I was in therapy, one of the first things that they told me was that I needed to be realistic, that I was never going to completely rid myself of anxiety and that, no matter how hard I tried not to, I was always going to dip and relapse when things got particularly hard for me. This was something that seemed a lot more ideal in theory than in practise - I saw recovery as a time when I was no longer having daily panic attacks and struggling to get out of the house, and it was, but I didn't realise that recovery from Generalised Anxiety Disorder would bring a whole new sense of anxiety; Succession Anxiety.

My recovery came with a need to prove how well I was doing. The more people complimented my steps forward, the more it felt like I had to keep pushing forward, I had to keep taking that next step, I had to go above and beyond to prove that I was 'better' now, suddenly I was okay, able to cope with whatever life threw at me. I took on University, then I moved out, upped my blog posts, started a YouTube channel and then, finally, got a job - all within the space of a few months, and it was like proving to myself and everybody around me that I'm okay, I'm fine and coping, I can do adult things and live my life without anxiety tying me down every move.

And I am okay, I am fine and coping - but this sheer anxiety to succeed has trapped me in a whole different way. I'm always juggling to make sure things get done, working late into the night, swapping pieces of work that can be left out for more important bits. My life is one conveyer belt of "what absolutely has to go out tonight, and what can wait?", and I've now taken on so much that I don't know another way to live other than this permanent position where I feel like I'm running from plate to plate attempting to keep them all spinning.

The sad thing is, I know I'm not the only one out there that's feeling like this; we are made to feel so guilty about our mental illnesses by the people around us and the media alike, that in recovery it seems as though the only options are 100%, or nothing. It's all in or bust. If you don't go the whole way you might as well have not set off at all. But, I've learned the hard way that that isn't the way to look at my life. I might not be where I want to, but I'm a hell of a lot further than where I was when I was a girl crying in bed at the idea of putting makeup on (now I just cry about makeup because I'm too lazy to battle with my eyebrows every morning).

So it's okay to say you're struggling, whether you're recovered or otherwise - it's entirely fine to drop things because you can't handle them. You are doing well enough. You are enough.

Sammy xo.

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