Anxiety paranoia or reality?

I had an extremely anxious day yesterday. Something happened that just set me off and I had periodic anxiety attacks through the whole day on and off. It wasn’t fun.

I thought it would fade with a nice night in and a good night’s sleep, but I woke up today with an overarching feeling of dread and just general ‘bleh’ness.

No major anxiety attacks but a general black cloud of meh.

As my anxiety is very socially focused and tends to make me feel like I’m not good enough in every aspect you can think of, obviously this has had some affect on how I’ve been interacting with people today.

Everything I say seems to fall flat, people even remotely avoiding eye contact with me makes me think they hate me, the world is a little greyer.

That feeling of ‘am I really paranoid today or did my colleague just avoid eye contact with me when I spoke?’, ‘Was that laugh a pity laugh?’, ‘They’re just not telling me but I hurt their feelings somehow and now they don’t want to be my friend.’ ‘Yep, that must be it. I just think it’s my anxiety paranoia, when it’s really all my fault. Totally.’

It’s exhausting on these sorts of days, but what’s more annoying is the feeling that if people knew more about what you were going through, it wouldn’t even help. It would just make you look weak, or risk some sort of promotion you were going for, or make people think you were faking it. Any of the above and many more damaging thoughts alongside them.

Mental health is a tough topic, and it still hasn’t been properly understood in the general public enough to help people think they can be more open and honest about needing any kind of help.

That fear, mixed with the fear that this isn’t even just a blip. It isn’t just a couple of anxious days you’re going to have to go through till you come out the other side. It’s just how you are now. That’s what scares me the most.

That one of these days I’ll stop being able to pull myself out of it.

But today isn’t going to be that day, I just refuse.

I’ll keep feeling like I’ve done something horrible to people to make them want to avoid eye contact with me, sure. But I’ll also grab a slice of cake or a giant sandwich, something that makes me feel just that minute amount better. I’ll throw myself into work or reading or something that distracts the bad thoughts, even temporarily. And I’ll hold on to that tiny bit of progress through my own personal storm of a day.

It gets better, I’m sure of that. But in the meantime, let them eat cake.

On Traditions, Role Models, and Moving Forward

So Doctor Who is going to be a woman. I’m sure everyone’s heard already, and if you didn’t you’re clearly very good at hiding under your rock!

Of course, as is the norm when something suddenly becomes more female-friendly, some people were incredibly pissed off. Now, I’m not one to fight people in comment threads on this (though if you said it to my face I’d have a few words to say), but in this case the particular comments got me thinking about why this sort of thing bothers some people so much.

I’m going to cover some of my thoughts in points below. I’m paraphrasing and amalgamating various comments I’ve seen so if you haven’t seen this exact wording that would be why.

 

1 – “Where are all the role models for men/boys going?”

Because women getting role models automatically means men have to give up some of theirs? With how much media and people’s online lives are expanding, there’s so much more room out there in films and comic books and novels for representation of all kinds. I never want men to have to give up the wonderful variety and strength in the male role models they have growing up, I just want to give women the same thing. A Wonder Woman film having huge numbers of badass Amazonian women doesn’t negate the numerous male superheroes and supporting cast that we can also see.

And this doesn’t just stop with women, there should be more representation for everyone, of all races, sexualities, genders. Why put a limit on how much there is, and then hoard it for men only?

 

2 – “But it’s a tradition for the Doctor to be male!”

Okay… but why? I get that traditions are great sometimes, especially when they’re good ones. Christmas traditions about what you eat during the holidays or where you go on your summer holidays are great examples.

But we need to keep re-examining traditions. Ask why it’s still a tradition? Is it important that it doesn’t change? Is this an inherently discriminatory tradition?

Many bad things were traditional at one time of another. Women not owning property, being married off to much older men at a young age, you could even make an argument that slavery was a tradition. Just because something has been done, even if it was for a long time, that doesn’t mean it should keep being done. Positive change is much better than hoarding traditions in my opinion. And at the end of the day, why does The Doctor need to be a man? Is it really such an important part of who they are? The Master changed, why not The Doctor also?

 

 

3 – “It’s unrealistic!”

Seriously?? It’s a show about aliens, time travel, and the main character has two hearts. The epitome of realism right there.

 

I suppose in the end it’s just about thinking about whether the change is for the best, and if we can let go of our prejudices long enough to actually examine the changes we need to make and see if we can let go of our damaging traditions.

I hope we can, and I hope that little girls watching this show will be inspired to take charge and be confident themselves in the future. And I hope that people can look past the trolls on the internet and see the positives out there that come when we include more representation in our media. I also hope to see much more of this expansion of representation in the future.

Finally, good luck to Jodie Whittaker.

The Self Doubt Spiral

See, I read that title and it seems like I know what I’m talking about, like it’s a ‘thing’ and I’m just quoting the peer-reviewed hypothesis about people with generalised anxiety and the self doubt that comes with that.

But honestly, I’m just a person stating their own experiences and wondering about how they fit in in the world. True, there is evidence that people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder do have big issues with self-doubt. This just comes with it, and can even get worse once you start to deal with the anxiety.

Your coping mechanisms for anxiety can be based around a lot of double checks:

– Do I really feel validly stressed or am I OVER stressing a small problem?

– Should this situation make me feel this bad or am I over analysing it?

– Was that conversation good or bad or hell, just neutral, and I’m overthinking it for no reason?

So even realising you’re becoming anxious when not necessary involves you doubting your own thoughts and feelings and checking whether they’re valid or not. This adds up to a lot of self-doubt, and sometimes self-doubting your own self-doubt.

Hence the word ‘spiral’.

This can be tricky to get yourself out of and if someone’s come up with a foolproof way of doing so, please, let me know. The only thing that can help me when I’m deep in one of these spirals is lots of happy TV, comfort food, and just letting myself feel whatever I’m feeling. It could be really strong or worrying or angry but if I feel it completely for even a short period of time, it lets me work it through and allows me to let it go just that little bit.

I think it also helps for others to be understanding about how much you can doubt yourself, and try not to pile on when they can and help you deal with it when it happens.

Even coping mechanisms can get you down, even if they are helping you cope at the same time. Dealing with Mental health issues is often a double edged sword, and I’ve never been great with swordplay.

I guess in the end you have to find coping mechanisms to deal with your coping mechanisms and hopefully find a way back to wherever you need to be to feel like yourself again. Good luck.