There was a time in my life where I felt like I was looking into a black hole of nothingness. I wasn’t depressed (at least, I don’t think I was) and I certainly wasn’t suicidal. It was a time where my anxiety was at it’s absolute worst. Not too long after it started, when I didn’t know what it was or how to cope with it. Besides, before October 2011, I didn’t even know what a panic attack was. I didn’t know what anxiety was, let alone what it felt like. I was a girl who pranced through life, going out as much as she possibly could, meeting people and literally – literally – didn’t have a care in the world.
This isn’t a post about my anxiety journey (but if you are interested in that for some more background info, I wrote about it here and here) I want to talk about the importance of looking forward to things. Because during my time of black hole nothingness, I didn’t look forward to anything. I had nothing in my life to keep me above water. Every day, hour, minute felt pointless, knowing that the next day was going to be the same. And all the days after that. I had absolutely nothing to look forward to and it was hard. Really bloody hard.
Since developing my complex anxiety issues, I’ve learnt a lot. Make the most of what you’ve got is one of them. And look forward to things is another. Lavish holidays 3 times a year just aren’t feasible for a lot of us but finding something to look forward to doesn’t always have to mean something big. And that was one of the most important lessons I possibly could have learnt at this extremely difficult time in my life. If you’re only looking forward to the “big things” then you’re going to go through life very disappointed.
At the time of writing this post (2nd March), I’m looking forward to watching James Bond tonight with my boyfriend, doing Yoga in the morning, the new Formula 1 season starting, our weekend trip away to the Severn Valley Railway in Shropshire and going out for tea and cake with my mum for Mother’s Day. Oh and giving her her Mother’s Day presents which I’ve worked hard to get together. None of these things are particularly life-changing or note worthy. Especially in the eyes of people who can afford to look forward to things all year round. But they’re important to me. They keep me ticking over. (I can confirm that I had a lovely trip on the Severn Valley Railway and my Mum liked her Mother’s Day gifts!)
So my homework to you is tell me one thing you’re looking forward to this month or even sometime in the entire year. Just one thing – big or small – as I’d love to hear them. If you suffer with mental health conditions (or even if you don’t, actually) it can be incredible easy to just float through life, not thinking about the things that are happening to you, just rolling with it. But joy can be found in the tiniest of things and the easiest of activities and you certainly don’t need big parties, lavish meals or expensive holidays in order to look forward to things in your life.