I’m writing this after a good day. And compared to my weekend, that’s a really great day! It’s about those moments of calm, particularly after a tough time.
Have you ever been walking down a flight of stairs, maybe in the dark, and missed the last step, so for that really brief and strange moment you think you’re falling? That lurch in the pit of your stomach. Those unnerving, dread filled seconds before logic takes over. That’s what anxiety can feel like. As in, actually FEEL like. Sometimes people forget that our mental health can manifest itself in some peculiar physical ways. It comes from nowhere, and usually at the most inconvenient or uncomfortable of times.
And worst of all, sometimes those moments make you feel like you’ve lost your mind. That you’ve gone the actual, serious kind of crazy. It doesn’t matter if it only lasts seconds, that sense of disconnect from the real world can be scary. A fear that “this is it, this time I’ve lost my mind”. Sometimes it passes as quickly as it arrived but that feeling can be really hard to shake. After all… no one wants to feel like they’ve lost control of themselves.
But the silver lining to all of this? The one thing that I’ve learnt about anxiety, amongst a lot of bad things is that it doesn’t, and cannot, last forever. Eventually your body runs out of tension, runs out of fear in that moment. And then? The good moments are right around the corner. It’s two minutes from now. Maybe an hour from now. Even a day from now. But believe me… those heavy, falling moments can be followed by lightness.
And feeling content is a whole bunch of pleasant. It’s the first cup of coffee or tea in the morning. A warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach. Butterflies. It’s sitting by the sea. Lighting a winter fire. The smile you can’t shake and fall asleep with. A friendly message. It’s all of that and more.
So if you’re holding onto the edge of a cliff, you have endless feelings of falling ruining your days, and your feet are scrambling for safety, all I can say is to let go. Let go now because you’re going to fall later anyway. Let it happen, let it hurt… but then let it pass. Sometimes holding on causes more hurt to your mind than finally letting go.
The bad times will happen and probably continue to as well. Because we know we can’t always cure our anxiety. But those moments when you do feel so light you could fly? They’re what we live for right?! Not the stupid, cruel tricks our brains play when they’re bored in the dark. And actually, we appreciate our inner calm so much more when we’ve known life without it. Finding our peace all over again is more special than simply having it to begin with. See, silver linings.
It’s cliche, and soppy (hey, I’m known for being soppy) and something you’d probably read inside a photo frame in a home store. But all the same: Stop asking yourself… What if I fall? Instead ask… What if I fly?
Focus on those good moments. The moments of calm in the middle of the storm. The best analogy I’ve ever heard of accepting, but not being swept away with, the feelings anxiety can give us: it’s the difference between being out in a really bad storm… and sitting indoors watching the storm out the window.
So if you’ve been reading this and feeling like you need it, I hope you have a happy and content day today. Or really soon.