One of the many, many joys of depression is that it often goes hand in hand with anxiety. As someone once put it to me, they’re two sides of the same coin. Me, well I guess I’m just lucky in that I get to experience both sides of this coin. While this blog is primarily about dealing with depression, for me anxiety has also played a huge part in that. Sometimes my problem is primarily anxiety with a tendency towards depression, other times I’m depressed and slightly anxious.

So, say I’m having a good day. I decide to do something a little out of the ordinary, like, oh I don’t know, let’s say I start a blog about my life with depression. I feel really positive about it. I’m amazed and uplifted by the response that I get, and I’m 100% sure it’s the right thing to do. But then, on another day, let’s say today, someone slightly implies that it might not be such a good idea. And boom, anxiety grabs hold of that and sends me through the roof. All the second guessing starts, all the self doubt comes flooding in. What the hell am I doing? How could I ever have thought this was a good plan? I’m making a total idiot of myself etc etc etc. I have a knot in my stomach from thinking about it.

So what can I do? The first thing is to recognise where I went wrong. The person who triggered this spiral of doubt and anxiety never actually said they thought it was a bad idea. They asked me a lot of questions, which I took to mean they thought it was a bad idea. I didn’t think to ask if that was the intention, I interpreted it that way, I was trying to mind read, projecting my own fears and doubts about doing this on to someone else.

It has taken me, quite literally, years, to be able to recognise that mind reading and projection is something I do a lot. An awful lot. And without fail, every time I do it, anxiety takes hold. If I’m not careful it will run away with me altogether, leaving me spending hours, days, weeks, agonising over something that might not even be true, however I perceive it to be.

So how do I feel now? I’m aware of the doubt, aware that it’s my own. Of course I have doubts!! I’m putting myself out there for the whole world to see, when a year ago most of my friends didn’t know. But, I also have to remember that I thought long and hard about doing this, I didn’t rush into it. The knot is still there, it will take time to fade. But really, would it be right to let my perception of someone’s opinion be the deciding factor in whether to continue with this? If you’re reading this, then I thought the better of it!!

I wonder if this sounds familiar to any of you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, on how anxiety or depression has influenced your thinking.

This article has 7 Comments

  1. I can relate to a lot of that indeed. I think the process of weighing up things in the mind is what we all do. When we get anxious, there seems to be an information overload which prevents us from getting that clarity. As you have rightly identified, there is the perception and the reality.

    The very best of best wishes with your blogging journey. It's hard not to imagine that this is anything other than a really positive step forward.

    Le grรก,
    Dec

  2. Fiona, I agonise in the same way and project my own fears all the time, I think that it's a trait we all have, it's just stronger in some of us. We are only human after all!
    Keep going, you are doing a fab job. x

  3. Thanks folks, feedback always appreciated. You're right, I think everyone has a tendency to do this, but like you say Leah some more than others. It's when it starts to cloud all our thoughts that it becomes more of an issue. The mind is a weird and wonderful instrument!! Now if there was an easy way to get it to behave….

  4. Hi Fiona, thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

    Anxiety is my new found nemesis, very recently diagnosed but something I've encountered most of my life without realising it. Or maybe not wanting to realise it. My anxiety took hold in the shape of physical symptoms that developed into a nasty health anxiety – in the last two months I've had three A&E visits with anxieties about a brain tumour, retinal detachment, and most recently and with the most awful mind games, was motor neuron disease. I'm a fit, healthy 24 year old, great life, great job… So why on earth does it happen to us?

    I see what you mean about the questions regarding chemicals versus other causes, and one interesting point I found was that there are more GABA chemicals on the right side of the brain, which in turn cause left sided bodily symptoms for most anxiety sufferers – I couldn't even smile without the left side of my face cramping after 10 seconds. I lost most of the last 2 weeks to tears and stress and obsessive behaviours about checking my strength, covering my hands because I perceived there to be wasting of muscles, checked every old picture I had on facebook of my hands to see if there were changes. There weren't. But I still had myself in a box. The mind is, indeed, the most weird and wonderful thing.

    Fast forward a few days, one clear EMG, one clear nerve conduction study, one clear MRI brain, started on some anxiolytics…. and yes I still feel funny on the left side but the fog has started to lift. And I'm down a lot of euro, but I guess it's worth it to know you're not going insane. Psychologist referral soon and supportive friends and family, I'm hoping this is going to be the start of a new me.

    Your blog has been a source of comfort, reassurance and inspiration throughout. Keep it up, and even if you fall down again, know there are people out here that understand and are sending a million positive thoughts your way. Thank you for coming out and helping others to understand that having mental health issues is exactly the same as physical illness.

    Keep smiling, keep writing, you have a special gift with words, you're doing great ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Anxious Bear, thank you so much for sharing your story, and for the words of encouragement, you've made my day!! I'm glad to hear that your fears weren't dismissed out of hand, and that you're now getting the help and support you need. Best of luck with the psychologist, I hope this is the start of a new beginning for you. Keep talking!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi Fiona and Anxious Bear
    I am so grateful for your contributions because I feel less alone and less weird also. There
    are times when I feel the weirdest person on this planet. I am a very anxious and often also very
    depressed bear. My early 'programming' was not good and so I do understand its consequences
    but other people have had far worse and manage life much better than I do.
    I am now in my sixties and have spent most of my life being anxious
    and I regret it so much, that I have missed out so much on life because I am so worried and
    fearful. Most of all fearful that I am not good enough; I need to be a good person all the time and
    so much of my energy is spent, attempting this and of course it is never enough anyway.
    I get easily exhausted because of all the energy that is needed for my fears. It is horrible,
    whenever I visit anyone or anyone visits me, I am ALWAYS ALWAYS worried that I have said
    the wrong thing, I want to apologise and I often also think 'I know what other people are thinking'
    and like me – in these projections – they are thinking the worst of me. It makes me so sad that even after years of therapy, I have to work so hard to not fall into this trap. But it never really goes away.
    And then comes the guilt that I don't manage to change. The therapist I have been seeing for some time and who has helped me a lot often says 'why do you continue with therapy if you are so
    reluctant to change something that is obviously painful for you'. I manage to be positive some of the time but most of the time it is the pigmy that keeps saying that I am no good. I don't like taking
    anti-depressants because they make me feel odd in other ways.

    Perhaps if I took anti-depressants long enough, I might begin to feel different. I no longer know
    what it feels like to be 'normal'. How come that people can feel good about themselves, feel
    and entitlement to some of life's good sides. I feel no entitlement at all. That's all for day.
    ANONYMOUS

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share, and huge, huge apologies for taking so long to get back to you, it's been a strange few weeks. I don't know what to say to you that might help, other than that I completely understand how you feel, and am so familiar with that 'not good enough' thought process. Are you in contact with a good doctor? Do they know how you feel? If you've read much of the blog you may have noticed I've had a lot of problems with finding medication that works for me. This latest one is still in the very early days, although does seem to be working. Unfortunately there are still side effects, and I'm slowly, albeit very reluctantly, starting to get my head around the fact that I'll just have to learn to live with them. I guess the issue for me is finding one that works that cause the least number of side effects as well. An on-going search!
      I hope that the pigmy starts to quiet down for you soon (I call mine bitchface) and you get some relief. You deserve to feel good about yourself. We all do. Some of us just have to work a little harder than others. Mind yourself

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