Anxiety doesn’t have to operate on rationality. I can only speak for myself, but I am sure many people struggling with anxiety would agree that one of the biggest challenges is accepting that our triggers and thinking process may be unfounded. Last weekend, I wrote about catastrophizing and how a very honest mistake would lead to my life becoming an episode of Orange is the New Black. That’s actually a perfect example of how my anxiety operates on an irrational level consistently: Making mistakes (even the tiniest one) drives me into assuming the most catastrophic consequences will occur. The logical part of my brain fully realises that the reactionary manifestation is illogical, but that doesn’t take the anxiety away.
I also write a lot about how sometimes, the best way we can manage our anxiety, is to simply accept its’ presence, and accept that it’s not rational- but sometimes we also have to accept that it is actually perfectly rational.
Yesterday, I woke up feeling in a complete panic state. My heart wouldn’t stop racing and I felt in a complete surreal state of mind, almost as if I was dreaming even though I knew I was awake. I felt incredibly irritable and my anxiety was peaking.
Upon reflection though, this all made sense, the reactionary manifestations of my anxiety were logical. It doesn’t make the experience any more pleasant, but sometimes we need to take a step back and tell ourselves. “wait a minute, my anxiety makes perfect sense right now”.
It made sense because I had a bad night’s sleep. It made sense because I was completely overworked. It made sense because I have been having to work with someone that is very emotionally upsetting for nearly a month, and I’m dealing with this person for over 40 hours a week. It made sense because I am a European citizen who checked the news yesterday to find out there is only more uncertainty surrounding the status of EU citizens after Brexit. All of that was tied together with my monthly visitor: My period and all the shit that comes with it (both metaphorically and literally).
What I want you all to know is that anxiety is never friendly, whether it is operating on rationality or not. However, in my experience, I sometimes do get frustrated with the fact that I cannot explain my anxiety or make sense of it. I now accept that my anxiety is irrational, but days like yesterday have taught me that sometimes my anxiety is perfectly rational and does make sense, and I also need to accept that.