Dear … anxiety

Anxiety takes form in different ways. Whether it’s your perfectionism influencing your need to be in control of everything in your immediate vicinity (whilst internally you’re panicking), painful spikes of disassociation as you’re frozen but your brain is racing, or not knowing your flight response was triggered until you’re in a safe environment emotionally breaking down.

It’s being tense and shallow breathing and the rapid calculations of the quickest way out. It’s the constant twirling of the rings on the hand. The jittering of the leg.

Quite often, this anxiety struggle is below the tip of the iceberg that is our public persona. If you know the tells, you’ll probably see the anxiety peek through, but otherwise for the most time, it’s hidden. Because making it obvious to others attract attention and when you’re anxious, that’s the last thing you want.

That’s why it’s not as simple as “you shouldnt worry so much” or “oh, just come out – it isnt that hard”.

So be gentle and kind with others, for everyone is fighting a battle you may not know of.

Yours,

Sophia

xx

A letter … about being rushed.

When  I was scrolling through Instagram stories, I spotted this image and it hit a chord. It hit a chord because it summed up how I feel when I’m feeling like I’ve been rushed (by life, or people, or a conversation). It also highlighted a recent lesson I’ve learnt and I thought I’d share it with you.

Source: @notesfromyourtherapist (Instagram)

It’s been quiet here on Liebe + Letters because I’ve had a sudden increase of my workload (almost two-fold) and have been a duck straddling water to keep above the water. This high pressure to get things done at a last minute has made me feel like I’ve been stuck in the eye of a tornado with deadlines, emails, tasks whirling around me at a far faster speed than myself. Cue a faster heartbeat, increase in adrenaline and stress levels.

I found it harder to fall asleep – my brain wouldn’t switch off. I need to come up with behavioural strategies to deal with this scenario. How do I make kids more engaged in this task? What do I need to do tomorrow? Set a reminder to contact a parent. On and on these thoughts went and in the end I became more exhausted. My mental health slipped and not surprisingly, I became sick.

After a few days of feeling directionless, it was a realisation I had whilst conversing with a friend that snapped me out of feeling rushed. I realised that I was being rushed, and it was to my own detriment. My brain was still processing all the extra changes and responsibilities, and I had not given myself time to slow down and properly process it.

In the middle of the vortex of being rushed, it’s easy to feel unnoticed, misunderstood and isolated. It is a lonely feeling seeing the world blur around you and it can get frustrating.

What helped me stop feeling rushed and more confident about my abilities was to call it out and acknowledge that being panicked would not help the situation. My mantra became “I am okay – there is enough time for what I need to do. Take a breath and have a look at the bigger picture.”

Taking a step back helped calmed things down and highlight areas I was overthinking. Calling it out helped stop the looping patterns that causes me to overthink. By the end, I could deal with my workload in a better way that wasn’t to my detriment.

Rushed is meant to be a temporary state, and I need to acknowledge that more. I’m working on steps on listening to my body more, listening to my anxiety less and slowing down to appreciate what I have. That’s my lesson that I learnt this week, and I’m hoping that it’s helped you too.

Yours,

Sophia

xx

Are you okay?

It’s R U Okay? Day today.

You will probably see people talking about whether or not they’re okay on social media. Having conversations about whether or not we’re okay is important. It starts a conversation, a moment of time to help people feel that they belong.

Let’s start conversations about mental health, let’s build connections with each other.

I once read somewhere that a problem shared is a problem halved. Sharing a problem starts with a conversation, a question, “Are you okay?”, that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask every day.

I know it’s hard to open up – sometimes it is because we don’t want to burden anyone with our troubles, other times it’s because we aren’t ready to communicate what is wrong.

In the murky days of my depression, that was how I felt. But my journey dealing with depression, and now anxiety, taught me this: I would never know what to say until I started to say “I’m not okay”.

Because I didn’t know all the answers, but by having conversations with people, letting them in, that’s when I started to have answers for dealing with what was wrong.

So, let people know you’re there for them. You may not need to say “are you okay?” It might be a simple “let me know if you need anything. I’m here for you”.

Let’s build a world, a community where a connection is strong among us. Let’s start conversations about how we truly are.

We are not alone in fighting our fights.

Yours,

Sophia

X

PS: Project Rockit released a really got resource in how to start a conversation. I will add it below, but before I do, I just wanted to say:

If you are struggling, feeling down or alone, know that you can just leave me a message and that I am here for you. You can also contact Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) or Headspace (1800 650 890).

Please open up to people. You are valuable, you are loved, and you are important.