How Do You Find Happiness When Anxiety Rules Your Life?
I have almost completed the first month of my Happiness Project and whilst some parts have been going really well, others I have failed miserably at. I so desperately want this project to be a success, but anxiety is ruining it for me and I don't know how to make it stop.
Suffice it to say that life has thrown every bit of crap at me that it possibly can this week and all I have wanted to do is curl up in a ball and cry - if I'm being totally honest, there have been at least three occasions this week where I have done just that. On top of all the stuff I am dealing with, my fibromyalgia has chosen this week to be especially unkind too. I have woken every day with a muzzy head and a body that aches like it has just done ten rounds in the boxing ring. My energy levels are absolutely zapped and they've taken my confidence with them.
I am a natural worrier. I worry about everything, I over-analyse every single situation and pretty much every conversation I have with people. I worry about what people think of me and my family, I worry about offending or upsetting people, I worry about not doing a good enough job at work and I worry about not being a good enough wife, mother, daughter, auntie, sister-in-law and friend. You name it, I worry about it.
I don't know where I get my anxiety from - it certainly doesn't seem to affect my brothers at all as they have no problems with telling somebody what they think, or not caring what others think of them. The same goes for Mark and the kids, non of them seem worry about much at all (I am so glad that the kids haven't inherited my anxiety issues). I wish I could have their confidence, I wish I could do whatever I wanted and not care what others are thinking of me.
Even the tiniest of concerns can see my mood spiral downwards and the tears build up (ugh, why do I have to cry so much? Someone once told me that crying is a sign of weakness, if that's the case I'm the weakest person to every walk the Earth!)
I listened to somebody say horrible things about one of my children earlier this week and it hurt like hell, they didn't realise I was in earshot when they said it, but rather than let them know that I had heard what they said I walked away and cried. Why can't I be strong enough to stand up to people like that and stand up for my children?
My anxiety is so bad at the moment that I am literally questioning everything. Is Mark annoyed with me, because he's quieter than normal this evening? Are the neighbours annoyed with us because our front garden isn't as neat and tidy as all of theirs? (The renovation means that gardening comes second at the moment). Have I offended my friend because I couldn't see them this week? Am I fitting in at my new job? Am I doing enough at home - should I be cooking more meals from scratch, tidying more often, sitting down to hear my kids read, playing games with them more? Am I giving Mark enough attention - should I be arranging date nights, not changing into my pyjamas as soon as I get home from work, staying up to watch his favourite programmes with him? Is my son's teacher judging me because he wearing school shoes that the puppy has chewed in one place, but that I keep forgetting to replace? (they are perfectly wearable, but just look a bit worn out thanks to the dog). Should I delete the blog post that I've just written in case it offends somebody? Should I ask to join that blog group or not, because they may notice that I'm not very good at blogging and I don't have very good stats to be a part of their group?
The list goes on and on and these thoughts are consuming all of my time. I can't sleep because I'm worrying about everything and when I do sleep these worries invade my dreams in one guise or another. I am exhausted and I don't know how to cope with it. One of my Twelve Commandments is to 'Let It Go' but I have no idea how to.
So what do I do? How do beat the anxiety? How do I wake up and feel happy rather than stressed? When do I stop worrying?