Mike Stuchbery 💀🍷
+ Your AuthorsArchive @MikeStuchbery_ Writer, Journalist & Teacher. Sometimes does stuff for @TheLocalEurope. Aug. 16, 2019 3 min read

So at the moment I'm not doing much besides writing short pieces, walking & tracking my blood pressure after my stay in hospital. Not my choice - it's been thrust upon me.

A lot of the time, it's just me & My Anxiety. It's got me thinking about the nature of the beast. /1

Talking to a psychologist and a psychiatrist, it's been made clear to me that my anxiety is a result of my (recently-diagnosed) ADD.

It's not something that has emerged in its own right, but a result of having to clean up the mess my disrupted thought processes have left. /2

Now, in a sense, that anxiety has been a survival mechanism for me. I'd be (more) screwed than I have been without it. 

However, anxiety is such a powerful state of mind, that it ends up masking a lot of stuff that would have led to me being diagnosed, well, decades ago. /3

This cartoon by @adhd_alien does a really good job of explaining how anxiety - a normal, sometimes healthy mental process can make the situation much, much worse for someone with an underlying condition. /4

Over the years, I recognise that I've become someone who, to be perfectly honest, avoids a lot of stuff because my anxiety tells me that my ADD will lead to embarrassment and humiliation. 

I joke about being a mad recluse, but it's not been far off. /5

The two feed in to one another. I've locked myself away because of my anxiety telling me I'll embarrass myself. 

My ADD brain then sends me a stream of ridiculous scenarios to make myself anxious with. /6

I'll give you an example. Today I was researching some German history, when I suddenly became fixated with the idea that I'd never be able to study in the country, due to a series of even more unlikely hypothetical situations including - no joke, a catastrophic conflagration. /7

Now, most of us would find that ridiculous, and I do too, when I'm well-rested and fed. Yet the thing about anxiety, is that you can only *do* anxiety when it strikes. 

It's very easy to run yourself down while anxious, which just perpetuates the anxiety. /8

Today, however, I was able to snap myself out of my anxiety death spiral, because I knew *exactly* what was happening. 

I had a cup of tea, stretched my legs, and soon I was enjoying myself again. /9

I'd talked to professionals, my wife and family members about both what can snap me out of an anxiety spiral, and what can stop them from happening in the first place.

Just knowing that it doesn't have to happen, you know what's really wrong can make a big difference. /10

What I'm trying to say is that anxiety is a shit of a thing. It hides all manner of underlying conditions, it's hard to act upon in the moment and it makes you miss out on a whole bunch of stuff. 

However, it can be managed fairly easy - if you've spent time looking at it. /11

Many people who suffer anxiety are constantly consumed with simply getting by, leading to behaviours that may seem strange or counterproductive. 

They struggle to articulate how they're feeling or to ask for help. /12

I'm a lot less afraid and miserable since I worked out how my anxiety and ADD comingle. 

I'm frustrated, annoyed and bored - but at least I have a shot at having a calm mind now, that can handle the stressors of normal life! /14

Do me a favour folks - check in those around you who seem agitated, or nervpus. Let them know you're there, and if it's clear they're not coping, offer support in getting help. 

Liberation from *constant* anxiety is life-changing. You'll be making a huge difference. /FIN

PS. Oh yeah, I'm not on my ADD meds yet - have to maintain a BP of 140/90 for a few more weeks. I'll let you know when I'm about to start, and how that goes.

You can follow @MikeStuchbery_.


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