Fight or Flight

Putzel (63)

Happy October the 1st Autumn fans! I’ve woken up to a grey and miserable day, which couldn’t be more fortuitous, if I’m honest. I have washing to do, floors to vacuum and bathrooms to spritz (plus this week’s Blog Collab film) – and frankly, I welcome the excuse to stay indoors. Like I ever really need one.

I type this as I watch my first Horror movie of the season – Last Girl Standing (2015) – and think about what I want my first post to say. I thought maybe I’d start light but then I thought I’d start as I mean to go on, openly and truthfully.

Last week I attended my first group counselling session. Technically it’s a course called Coping with Worry and was set up by my GP after I burst into her office and begged her to help me with my anxiety.

The group set up was the first available option (versus one on one therapy) and even though I’m not a natural when it comes to groups of people, I didn’t think I had much to lose in terms of giving it a go.

So far we’ve learnt about what anxiety is and what might trigger it – and the objective is to teach us the skills we need to deal with it. There’s no curing worry altogether but we’re also being taught that there’s such a thing as good worry. For instance, I can worry about my job not being fulfilling which then might spur me on to getting a new, better one.

Bad worry, in contrast, is the worry that cripples and stops us taking any action. This course might be Psychology 101 to other people but it’s making me think about things in a way I never have before. Hey, I’m new to my diagnosis, man.

My group isn’t massive but it’s full of normal people (who knew?) who think like me. When I’m getting myself twisted with worry that everybody hates me, it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who thinks this.

Fight or flight is a term we’ve just become familiar with. External forces will come along and fuck with you all the time. They might be big, they might be small but the mind perceives them as a threat, which causes a jolt of adrenaline. This is the fight or flight moment (the choice to smash it in the mouth or get the fuck out of Dodge) that triggers all sorts of physical symptoms, like sweating palms, headaches and tension. It’s akin to facing up to a slavering bear in the forest. How interesting is that?

You might wonder why I’m talking about this in such an open way. I did think about holding it all in to myself but that made me feel worse. Since I’ve been talking more openly about my feelings, it’s brought me closer to a few people who feel exactly the same way – someone I’d never have expected to be a fellow anxiety sufferer asked me for details on how to get help herself, which is so cool.

I’m also learning not to feel apologetic or weak for being an anxious person – I’m not a delicate flower who can’t do life, I’m a warrior arming myself with new skills to kick better arse. That’s how I chose to see us anyway.

My homework for the week is to keep an anxiety/worry journal. As you know I also have my other blog, which was built for exactly that purpose. I’ve neglected it so far but since I’ve made positive change (new job), I’ve started to feel so much better and ready to get back to doing the things I love.

I’m coming to realise that Anxiety and I are probably going to live together for the rest of our lives. And that’s okay, as long as it realises it doesn’t run the show.

I’m in charge, after all.

Truth Serum

You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask? Via The Daily Post (30th September 2014) (This is also today’s Blogging 101 prompt: Make a Prompt Personal)

Lasso of Truth Innit
Lasso of Truth Innit

There are so many truths I would love to uncover but I think it’s important to preface this post with a dash of realism.

The truth can often hurt and, while they say it can also set you free, sometimes I’m not so sure.

I mean, it’s okay, for instance, not to know exactly what someone you work with really thinks of you because who does it really help, unless you actually care? It’s okay to have small secrets.

Even in relationships, I don’t think you have to play your entire hand always. My husband doesn’t need to know just how much I love my time alone when he goes out with the boys, does he? (He does know but for the sake of this post, let’s say he’s clueless, ok?)

What I’m trying to say is this: lies, or the omission of truth rather, are sometimes designed for the greater good, to protect the ones we care about or it doesn’t matter in the long run.

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t need all the details. I’m happy to trust that I know what I need to. Life is hard enough without being cut up over every little truth nugget people choose to lay on you, and these same folk can be very generous with their opinions when you’re not asking for them.

If I’m really honest here, I would say that the one person who would most gain from drinking the serum in this scenario, is me. I’m not honest all the time, hide my true feelings and trip over my words where I should be expressive.

I turn a blind eye to the fact that I don’t know what I really want out of life, professionally and creatively. I could do with having a stern talking to myself, no holds barred.

So, while I’d love to know the truth about whether Beyoncé was ever pregnant (from the lady herself), I’m going to drink the truth juice myself and get busy with the results.

Good time to ask me anything at all that you like, guys…

 

Things Are Going To Get Easier (Then Harder), Then Easier Again

Write a letter to yourself aged sixteen (via my trusty Writing Exercises)tumblr_n74xzvbK091r7621zo1_500

Dear Christa,

Honestly, this is a hard note to write given that I know how sensitive you are. You’re still sensitive by the way and you cry a lot; happy, sad, angry (especially angry), you have excellently functioning tear ducts. Well done.

Where to start on this very important document though? First of all, let’s get the obvious one out the way: you aren’t even that fat. Over the next two decades, you will wonder what the hell you were even worried about. Right now, aged sixteen, you look pretty great.

When you get to my age you will have more confidence with less to be confident about. Which, when you consider it, is almost as good as having a flat stomach. When you get here you’ll understand.

I realise as I type away at this, that at my core I’m not that different to you. A little bit less insecure yes but still prone to moments of crippling self-doubt. And I still haven’t the first idea what the f**k I’m going to do with my life.

The only difference now is that I know that’s okay. That living a full and happy life is as important as setting the world on fire, although there is still time. There really is still time.

Keep writing though. Write often, write honestly – basically don’t just talk about it willy nilly; do it, okay?

36 year old you is still as hopeful as you are; still deeply faithful to the theory that everything is going to be okay in the end. Still a romantic twat, even after three years of marriage and over six tripping on shoes left in the kitchen (in front of the sink!). Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah… you get married.

I’ll give you a moment to process that. In fact, let’s just talk boys for a second.

Boys are great, as are the men they grow into. They are fun and funny and you’re not sure about them now but you will find this out for yourself. Some of your favourite friends will be and are, boys. At the moment, you are probably doing one of two things as you read this, or both: a) turning up your nose snottily as if to say ‘ew’ and b) thinking about boys again, for you think of them often.

In fact, it’s impossible for you to talk to one without forming a crush and then fantasising about them, like, all the time. You aren’t even particularly sexual by now so those daydreams are pretty tame.

I can’t remember if you’ve even seen a penis yet, let alone touched one. I think you might still be petrified of the idea of them (they’re not that bad).

You should be experimenting by the way, so I’m not going to lecture you on that. Enjoy the ride, for god’s sake. Actually, I’m not going to talk you out of doing any of the things you will do, except maybe one big one. The choices you make will make you into me. Plus, you’ll have stories for later. My friend told me I have the best dating stories the other night, and it made me proud.

So, carry on. Do everything exactly as you choose.

Do me one favour though. When, aged 24, you get your heart obliterated by a bad man (worth it) and you hit rock bottom with a thud, DO NOT accept the offer of dinner with the first person who asks you. This will not be a good scene and it will last six long years that you will never get back. Trust me on that. (You don’t even get dinner).

Although, didn’t I just say all these things will turn you into me? Maybe scrub the above paragraph. But take less shit and remember, when he says you need help, that you are crazy; he’s projecting.

So yeah. You’re a wife and it’s awesome and not at all as you would imagine. You’re not a mother. I don’t think you have any desire to be but just so you know, I’ve decided not to do that. You have a step son though, he’s nine.

You fancy your husband a lot and you like beards now.

There it is, kid. A recap, if you will: write lots, experiment a lot, penises are actually pretty okay, collect stories for later use and don’t let shitty relationships keep you down for long. Oh yeah, and travel, as much as you can afford to and as often as you can. You’re going to love Thailand.

You’re going to be okay, you know?

Peace out,

Christa xoxo

Ps. Your friends trick you into wearing shorts to school round about now. Don’t fall for it, it rains that day and they all bail on you.

Notes on a Weekend Visit

1Much as sometimes it knocks my nose out of joint, I pretty much always come around to my mother’s way of thinking. I spoke to her at the weekend about a situation that had wounded me greatly and she listened and, at the end, simply said “You’re too sensitive”.

I didn’t like it very much. In a way it makes me feel like a child again to be told I’m overacting but sure enough, as my outrage dissolved, I realised that she was right.

It is frightening and also comforting to know that even though you believe you are a complex soul, and maybe you are, there are people around who know you as well as you know yourself. If not better as they get a load of you after you’ve been alone, wrestling with your issues for way too long.

So, thanks to PM, the woman who bore me, I have calmed down on the petty freeze out I had planned and I’ve forgiven the person who wronged me. Just like that.

Who needs God when you have the Wisest Woman in the Western World on speed dial (when she remembers to keep her phone on)?