Captain’s Log #4: The Anxiety Blob

Greetings Pilots and Passengers.

Message of the day:

Source: MrMonkfish

Anxiety is like a slimy blob that crawls along and slowly trickles up your limbs, one by one consuming them in a sticky black tar that smothers you and corrupts your thoughts. No matter how hard you try to throw the sticky goo off of you, it simply won’t go away. On the days that you do manage to rid yourself of the blob, it only shrinks into the size of a rubber: You can’t throw it away though, so you simply put it in your back pocket for safe keeping. Instead of ridding yourself of the crippling creature that haunts your dreams and plays havoc with your heart, you simply can’t let go – all the times you shared together, the safe moments at home where the blob told you everything would be fine in front of the TV.

I still have the blob, but I would like to think I shrunk mine down to the size of a small piece of blu tack. It lives in my fingers, because I still pick at them when waiting for the bus or planning conversations ahead of time. The tar often works it way into my chest and makes it hard to breathe when I think a little too hard about different situations, but now I ask myself why I feel this way instead of letting my anxiety get the best of me.

I couldn’t have done any of this by myself: My anxiety used to fill every cell of my body and constantly followed me around like a smoky shadow. At night it would sit on my chest and remind me of all the things I could have said, but especially all the things I never said at all. It told me that I don’t have any friends because I am a coward and I can’t do anything, but most of all that my friends don’t like me. These are the reasons why I found it hard to beat my anxiety alone, because I simply believed that I was all alone.

Over the past 6 weeks I have been working my way through a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) course, which targeted my panic and social anxiety disorder. Instead of going down the traditional 1-1 or group therapy route, I opted for SilverCloud: An online CBT service which allowed me to work through modules at my own pace, with the help of a trained supporter who regularly checked my progress and messages. This isn’t an ad for the service, don’t worry – it’s just an update of what I have been up to this last month or so, and how I have actually been kicking the monkeys out of my blob.

After working through modules and tackling exposure therapy head on (which was certainly not fun at first), I have managed to back my blob into a cage where it lives most of the time. Sometimes it slips through the bars and latches onto my skin where it splits and divides, taking back some form of control as an insidious form of revenge. But I’m learning how to tell it off and lock it away as punishment for all of the suffering it has caused over the years.

Yes, I have been discharged from my therapy – I did it!

I have a long way to go, however, as I still carry my blob cage around with me when I leave the house. One day, the cage will serve no purpose because the blob will be so small it might as well not exist – I can’t wait for that day to arrive, but I will remain patient and continue to put my CBT into practice.

Speaking of anxiety, if you haven’t seen my latest video covering my experience with anxiety, I recommend that you give it a watch:

Even though the blob can seem overwhelming and terrifying at times, just remember that it is more scared of you then you are of it. It doesn’t want you to know that you are in control, because then it will slowly cease to exist.

You are strong, loved, and certainly not alone: Remember that.

Captain Emily, signing off.

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