It’s a nice afternoon; you’re sitting on your bed, in your comfiest clothes and your fluffiest socks, doing some blogging or some online shopping or watching your favourite YouTubers. The dog is laying at your feet, sleeping peacefully, not making a sound but you can feel the weight of him against your leg and it’s a welcome comfort, knowing he’s there. You’re sipping on possibly the best cup of tea you’ve ever made yourself – way to go! And munching on your favourite snack; an apple pie or a bar of chocolate or maybe, because it’s that time of year, an Easter egg.
You’re home alone but that’s okay, you don’t mind. In fact, you quite like having the house to yourself. There’s not much noise, apart from whatever you’re doing, your dog – who’s now snoring – the chirps of birds outside your window and because you live right next to a park, the odd scream from a child who’s flung themselves down the slide or the odd woof from a dog who’s playing with their owner. You’re content, right now. There’s not much on your mind and most of today’s to-do list has already been done and you know what you’re like with to-do lists. At this moment in time there’s not much to worry about and you’ve got better at that, haven’t you? Keeping yourself in this moment in time and stopping your mind wandering too far ahead to worry about things that have yet to come, maybe won’t ever come and when they do come, will probably be absolutely fine anyway.
So overall, you’re alright right now. Everything is fine. When suddenly, you get a faint flicker of butterflies in your stomach. You try and ignore them – don’t give them a second thought. And they’re gone – phew. For a few moments. Until they come back but lightly stronger this time. The waves of butterflies is getting more intense and more frequent and it’s not the nice kind of butterflies like when it’s your birthday and you’ve got a ton of surprises to open or when you’re about to meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in years. It’s not those good types of butterflies that remind you that you’re alive and you’re excited about life.
It’s the butterflies you get when you’re expecting bad news. Like when you’re about to go in for a job interview and you could be sick with nerves. It’s the type of butterflies before going to an important doctors appointment or receiving test results. It’s not really butterflies at all; it’s great, big, black, angry moths. Not beautiful, elegant, gentle butterflies that remind you of the happy, exciting things in life.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it. You’re not going to a doctors appointment. You’re not receiving test results. You’re not expecting any bad news. You’re sitting at home; your safe haven with all the comforts you could possibly need. But suddenly, you’re not concentrate on anything. What was you blogging about? What did that YouTuber just say? Hang on, did you just accidentally buy the wrong size jeans? You can’t form a coherent thought; you can’t rationalise why you’re feeling like this because there is no reason for you feeling like this. This is anxiety, this is what it does to you. Makes you feel like you’re about to go into a job interview, for hours and hours and hours on end when you’re not going anywhere at all.
This is what my anxiety feels like, sometimes, on a daily basis. I can be sitting in the exact scenario I just wrote about where everything is fine but feel like I’m about to receive the worst news of my life. I’m find myself constantly expecting something bad to happen because surly something bad has to happen soon? It’s exhausting; being constantly anxious. It’s exhausting; having butterflies 12 hours a day. Sorry not butterflies, moths. It’s exhausting worrying about everything and nothing all at once. Knowing that everything is fine but feeling like your world is going to come crashing down at any moment. But it’s not. Because everything is fine.
I was diagnosed with GAD in 2012 and this is a personal account of what it feels like for me. I understand that all mental health disorders are different and even those who have been diagnosed with the same condition can experience it very differently. You can find all my mental health posts here and please don’t hesitate to share your stories on this post, I would love to hear them and give you a platform to get your thoughts, feelings and frustrations about mental health out on. But as always, if you think you’re suffering from a mental health condition and need help, visit your GP.