Catastrophizing: Anxiety’s Strongest Weapon

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone! From wherever you’re reading this from, I’m writing this to you all from the UK at 7 AM in bed.

I have woken up the same way I went to bed- anxious. I have this pit in my stomach and nauseating pressure between my clavicle and throat. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for me.

As I always say: anxiety is not a choice but we choose how we manage it 

This is always easier said than done, and I am not criticising anyone who struggles to manage it because it is one of life’s toughest battles, I have nothing but empathy and compassion for all of you ❤

We need to accept that we are going to have bad days, lots of them, and we aren’t always going to be able to manage those bad days, and that’s okay. Acceptance is the most challenging but rewarding token of satisfaction- when we’re anxious there is something so powerful about being able to say:

“I’m anxious right now but I can’t find the fight within me to manage this right now, and I’m okay with that. I’ve been through this before and it has  passed, and this will also pass. When I’m feeling better, I will face my anxiety head on and take it from there”. 

That’s what I’m telling myself right now in this moment, as I write this. It doesn’t take the anxiety away, but it takes away the extra heavy layer of feeling bad about feeling bad.

So why am I anxious? And why have I included catastrophizing in today’s blog post title?

Well, as you may know from my blog posts last week, I was not having a good week at work- I burnt myself out. This week, I was determined to not do the same, and generally I succeeded. I stuck to my 9-5 hours, balanced a healthy social life, drank more water than I usually would, and enjoyed some much needed me time. I did not exercise this week, but I do not see that as something negative as the reason I didn’t is because I genuinely felt I needed rest and relaxation. While it was at work, it was all still rather manic but I was approaching it with an ‘acceptance’ attitude: Work kind of sucks a lot right now but I’m doing the best I can and it will all be okay.

This was all fine until yesterday, Friday afternoon, two minutes before I decided to walk out the door and head into the weekend when (for some unexplainable reason) I was swept with an overwhelming panic that I have missed thousands of crucial emails in one of the various email boxes I manage. This whole email fiasco is too complicated to explain, and why I suddenly decided to freak out about it yesterday I cannot explain it to you right now, but the gist is there is nothing I can do about it until I am back in the office on Monday. 

Typing that sentence was so difficult for me because I hate feeling like I can’t control a situation now, in this very moment. That’s when catastrophizing comes in. 

Deciding to panic about this at the 11th hour on a Friday afternoon was a poor but inevitable choice, it just sprung up on me and it was all I could focus on. Heading into the weekend, and as I sit writing this right now, my anxiety has pulled out the big guns: catastrophizing.

My mind is running through the most ridiculous and irrational scenarios possible, ranging from:

. Disappointing all of my coworkers

. Dissapointing of all of my friends

. Getting fired

. Never getting a job again

. Going to prison and my life becoming an episode of Orange is the New Black

It’s actually good for me to type this out and see it in front of my eyes versus trying to fathom them all behind my eyes- where they run freely in my mind and take me to the worst of worst-case-scenarios. This just helps me a bit more in realising how irrational my thought process is at the moment.

Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t take away the anxiety. I can only speak for myself, but I’m pretty sure a lot of us who suffer from anxiety are well aware that our thought process is irrational, that doesn’t make us any less anxious though.

The truth is, and gosh dangit am I wanting to pull my hairs out over this right now, I cannot do anything about this until Monday.

In the rare case that I have indeed missed thousands of emails, I will just have to deal with it on Monday. The fact is, if that is the case, it was a 100% honest mistake. I do value my self-worth and part of that includes my work ethic- I know I put my best into everything and I always want whatever company I work for to succeed, and I know my coworkers know this too.

The above is a very rational thinking process, and once again, it sadly does not take the anxiety away.

All I want is for the remaining 48 hours of the weekend to whiz by so it can be Monday morning and I can finally take this rock of ‘catastrophe’ off my chest. I’m going to have to be okay with the fact that I may not be able to be ‘in the moment’ this weekend, and I’ll be okay with that.

Also, a bit of a tangent here, but writing this has helped me discover why I panicked about this email situation out of nowhere- because my my mind is always looking for something to worry about.

Like I said, acceptance is the most challenging but rewarding token. That doesn’t just apply to accepting ourselves at our worst, but accepting ourselves at our best.

Friday afternoon hit and I was in a great mental headspace, I’m not used to that feeling, and my automatic reaction is to think: wait, what have I forgotten about? I should be worrying about something…I’m feeling anxious that I’m not anxious! Quick, let me scramble through my mind to find whatever it is that I have not worried about yet.

Well, that’s really my mind at the moment, laid out for all of you.

Thank you so much to anyone who has taken the time to read this, it is always so appreciated! I know my posts can vary in mood when it comes to my anxiety, but I always want to keep it 100% real with all of you!

Please never hesitate to contact me with any of your thoughts or if you ever want to share your story with me, I promise I will always respond!

Best,

 

Me x 

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