As I work through the issues and triggers around my anxiety and spend time in therapy, areas of my life are being scrutinized and turned over. My therapist recently asked me “what do you do to relax, do you know how to relax?” I thought hard for a few minutes and the only reply I had was “I do not know how to relax, I think I have forgotten how”. Basically, I have forgotten how to relax and I am in fact, a bit broken.
It’s rather scary to acknowledge that. I simply do not know how to switch off and allow my mind and therefore my body, to relax and rest and revive itself.
It’s mostly my own fault, partnered with life and circumstances. I am a parent and a homeschooling parent at that. I don’t get a lot of time to myself, and whilst I adore my children and they are my life, being around kids isn’t exactly relaxation time, really, in day to day life, when you are running around dealing with everything that comes with family life and the expectations mum’s balance. I also work, pretty much full time, and that means the little non working time I have is spent doing all the things that need to be managed outside of work – see above, spending time with my family, as well as things like domestic chores, and all the things adult life demands of us.
I think for me, the idea of relaxing, scares me too. I am so used to being in flight or fight mode, on an almost constant basis, and switching that off might leave an empty void that I can’t fill. Anxiety makes me try and fill all the space in my life with things and people in order to not have to switch off and try and look after me, and now I have forgotten how to even think about myself and my needs.
Anxiety tells me I can’t switch off. Anxiety tells me that to sit still, or try and do something that takes me away from everyone else’s needs and wants is selfish and silly.
I cannot just sit and do nothing, and watch a movie, and feel calm and relaxed, or at least for not very long. I can’t sit and read a book and lose myself. When I am exercising, my mind is racing with all the other things in my life I am focused on.
It’s becoming rather urgent. The physiological effects of anxiety and my inability to maintain any form of deeper self-care for myself are showing. I need to make changes. The past year, with the really hard things that have come our way, has tipped the balance to a point where I have to make some changes.
I am putting some things into place to try and fix things.
Relaxing and being kind to myself. Trying to ease my slightly off the rails mind. I have forgotten how to do that. The odd patch here and there doesn’t really count.
Anxiety has in a way broken me. I need to fix that.