One woman’s story. Do you relate?
“Back in 2007, I had it all: A loving husband, a ‘solid’ job in the bank, good friends and a family I like to share time with. I was living in a lovely area – not long having moved in – close to all the amenities we need and not far from my folks.
I went out almost every weekend to trendy restaurants and many weeks hooked up with the girls for a show or a bite to eat. In my spare time, I volunteered and I got a swim in every other day. Perfectionistic and ever so organised, I could’ve won a prize for ‘best in show’.
Constant Fear and Anxiety
Behind the show was a different story: I was a worrier. My logical brain said it was foolish to worry so much but that didn’t stop me stressing.
Any time I was a bit bloated or had an unusual feeling in my tummy I worried I was dying of cancer, if my husband was a bit late home I imagined he was ‘dead in the ditch’, if my boss requested a meeting I panicked thinking I was going to be fired.
The knot in my tummy was frequent and regular tension shoulder pain was normal for me.
Then my ‘solid’ job wasn’t so solid anymore and I was made redundant. Up to that point life have gone petty much to plan. I’m good at planning and work hard to achieve my goals. So this was my first real set back – and I folded. The ‘worry’ went into overdrive. I listened to all the gloomy predictions on radio and TV and became convinced that I’d never be employed again. I couldn’t face the fear I was feeling and started to have angry outbursts. There was no reasoning with me and people were walking on egg shells around me. Sometimes I was calm enough to know I was losing perspective, but mostly I felt constant fear and 2 months later had my first panic attack.
I began to resent my friends who were still employed and doing well and spent more time with those who were in the same boat – complaining about our situation. I stopped volunteering (even though I’d more time than ever) and couldn’t be bothered swimming. I didn’t see my friends as much – I blamed it on not having the money – but really it was because I didn’t want to be ‘cheered up’ and was going more into myself.
I was turned down for what jobs I applied for and began to lose what hope I had.
It became more difficult in my marriage and my husband got frustrated with me as it went on.
He encouraged me to go for help, then pleaded and eventually demanded that I do something about my foul mood.
He got me the name of a therapist and even though I resented going, and hated admitting that I needed to, I went.
I’m glad I did.
Together we looked at how I was thinking and how it was making the situation seem much worse than it actually was. I could let go of the fear I was feeling and the anger. I regained a sense of control and was more clear headed.
I started back swimming and was able to meet up with friends and be happy in their company. Thankfully they stuck with me through this spell. And that was what it was – a ‘spell’.
I did get a job and things got back to normal. But it’s a new ‘normal’. I don’t worry almost at all and am able to question my fears now if they arise. I sleep better and am generally more relaxed. I’ve learned about myself and have grown more resilient.”
A way out:
This is a typical story in my work. Anyone of us can be prone to anxiety getting out of control. When we are in ‘danger mode’ we are focused on what is wrong and what can go wrong. We miss opportunities and can become insular. There are ways and means to address this tendency however – so it doesn’t have to be so stressful going through set-backs.
If you relate to it and would like to chat about how life can get easier for you then feel free to drop in for a chat.
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Have a good week,