Your mind can store the most precious of memories, but it can also keep taking you back to memories you want to forget. It is so powerful that it can take you to places you’ve never been – but it can also take you to a place you never want to be.

A lot of people live their life without fully realising the extent to which their mind can take them. They don’t dwell, they just live. They don’t look back, only forward. Nothing really worries them and anything that does is short lived. And I don’t blame those people, life is far too short to do otherwise.

In fact, personally, I wish I could be more like those people. I battle daily with anxiety, like many people do, and I am always trying to improve, to get better, to overcome my issues – but this illness is probably the hardest to fight off.

Despite being a very private person, I know I need to talk openly about these issues and since I made that choice, amongst other things, I’ve touched on my illness with depression (Depression ‘Just Is’) and I do truly believe that I have that locked in a metaphorical chest cabinet – trying to escape but failing because of my determination, my family, my ability to manage, cope and acknowledge it; all of which keeps it from taking over my life again. But anxiety, for me, seems more deep, more powerful. It consumes, scrambles and confuses me. It hurts, it drains and it damages.

My biggest issue that I have to overcome on a daily basis is how people perceive me, what they think about me. Fearing I’ve upset someone’s feelings, that they think badly of me – when I genuinely feel I try my best all the time and I would do anything for anyone to help them, but the feeling that I’ve not met their expectations or that I’ve done something to hurt or upset them, as silly as it sounds, sends me into a scramble and my mind goes into overdrive. Even someone having a bad day and snapping at me can affect me all day. It drains me of my emotions, it can change me from my happy state to a quiet, reserved, zoned out state and the more often it happens, the more it scares me and makes me wish I could overcome these issues easier.

I caught depression early, I was able to resolve that. I retrained my mind to think differently. Catching something quickly is always best. But anxiety, it just seems part of me. Over-thinking everything has been such a huge part of my life that I know nothing else. I have managed to stop some aspects of my inability to switch off. Every evening before I closed my eyes, I literally played back my day through my head. Torturing myself to see whether I had done anything wrong. Whether every decision I made and a situation I was in, was right and played out how I believed it should. The only positive from this was that it developed my memory skills like some twisted brain training game from a Dr. Kawashima – apart from that, it did no good and I am glad I no longer do that, 6 out of 7 days, anyway.

One of the hardest parts about this issue is others understanding it. I am lucky I have a safe haven at my home, with my partner who understands me and kids who love me regardless – but because it is hard for people to understand and for me to explain, it literally makes me want to shut myself off and keep myself away until I feel I can stand tall again. Luckily, my family can make me smile and overcome my scrambled thoughts, but some days are more difficult than others. If I could have surgey tomorrow, guaranteed success with no chance of danger, to remove this awful part of my brain, I would have it. Without a shadow of a doubt. There are times that I could cry when I know I am struggling – it is one of the hardest things to cope with so often, with so many critics and judges in the world.

For those with the same issues, I suggest you find that haven for you to. Somewhere to go, something to do – which refreshes your mind. Everything can seem very much like this:

When you’re in that state, it is hard to see light. To think clearly, to have the attitude of “oh, so what…”. You will experience headaches. But remember, life is too short. You need to prove nothing to no-one, all that matters is your health and your happiness. And I know it is diffcult, heck I struggle myself and all of this advice packs a suitcase, jumps on a plane and disappears to some place I’ve never heard of – but if you have to, write it down, read it – remember it. Think it everytime you know you’re struggling. If this is a battle between you and your mind, come out on top – control it rather than letting it control you. I am working on this, it is an active project. I aren’t perfect, I am by far a shining example of someone who has overcome this, but I am overcoming it now with the right support.

For those who don’t have the issues, think before you judge. I always get called moody, grumpy – or have comments thrown around like “what’s the matter with him”, in a tone that just isn’t necessary. I don’t mean harm to anyone. I just sometimes have to sit quietly, to gather my thoughts. Sometimes, it’s just because I struggle with social situations. Putting myself “out there” opens me and my personality up for scrutiny, which is difficult to handle at times. What you may not realise is the person you’re judging has a lot going on and because they may not be physically rocking backwards and forwards, or shaking in fear – doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering from anxiety.

Being supportive to someone who is struggling can be as simple as a kind word, a smile or a hug. Just a “you know where I am if you need me”, goes a long way. But don’t judge – you know the people you’re around, you know what they are really like deep down if you’ve taken the time out of your life to try and get to know them.

Nothing is permanent if you work at it long enough. Everything can be fixed. I just need to find my own way to cope better, on the spot.

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