Taming the Beast

Anxiety: Taming the Beast

The weather recently has been all over the place, and I have certainly felt under it.

From thunder storms to glorious sunshine, my moods have reflected all the Welsh weather has thrown our way.

For me, the erratic meteorological conditions of my mind are caused by one beast: Anxiety.

I have always struggled with anxiety, but as I get older I understand more how it lurks, silently and unseen, until I almost forget that it is actually there, almost, but not quite.

When I was younger I would convince myself with every ebb that this was the end of it once and for all. Now, I realise that it may have receded but it's always there. The key to dealing with it is not hoping to banish it but remembering how to handle it before it takes hold.

I am proud to say that this is the first time I have truly recognised the warning signs and been able to take steps to nip it in the bud. As a younger girl, younger woman, I would hope that this time it wouldn't be as bad, or perhaps even not see it coming, allowing it to creep up on me. Now, though, I feel as though I have got to know the beast, and I am on my way to understanding it, maybe even taming it.

What I wish I could tell myself all those years ago when I was in the throes of mad anxiety and deep depression, feeling there was no way out, no way forward, is that we can all equip ourselves to cope. We can learn. There is hope.

Like taming a beast, it'll never be easy, it'll never be instant and mishaps may well occur. We sadly know that sometimes the creature wins and takes even the best of us, but if we share our knowledge and experiences this doesn't have to happen.

We may each encounter different species of beast, but if we share the details we can learn their similarities and differences, learn to understand why they manifest in the way they do and how we can master them.

I hope that if you are reading this and you have a beast stalking your mind, you will know that it can be and will be okay. That you are not alone, and there are ways of negating this, as well as people who can help when you are wounded and exhausted, people who will understand your fight.

I have put together some resources that have helped me below, but first and foremost, contact your GP. I always thought they wouldn't take me seriously, but found that they can be a great help. Granted, there may be the odd dinosaur who won't quite get it, and if this has happened to you or if this does happen, don't forget that you can see someone else if they don't give you what you need.

The brilliant accompanying artwork below is by a talented artist, Federica, who happens to be my housemate. Please check out her Instagram feed and show her some love. She gets it.

P.S. If you ask her nicely she'll do a commission for you…

For more on Mental Health, click here.

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