⚠ Trigger Warning – detailed descriptions of PTSD and anxiety symptoms, but no descriptive mentioning of abuse!
“I’m no longer sure if it’s because I have an old soul or if I’m just a fragile soul who feels mentally and physically old”
Anxiety isn’t something I speak about a lot, and by ‘a lot’ I mean I’m only just recently starting to voice my thoughts and speaking up in depth about my own struggles with anxiety and mental health in its entirety, to be frank.
I can remember being as young as 3 years of age and having an extremely distressing episode of an anxiety attack. Yep, I remember the majority of things that have happened in my life. Emotions, the highs, lows, the physical and mental pain, the crushing sensation of not being able to have control over things. Some things are a blur to me but for the most part, I remember. The part I can’t seem to pinpoint is if something else happened in addition to what I already know, which caused me to feel so much distress from such a young age. It’s crazy knowing something scarred you, recollecting one part but not having a clear vision of the whole story. “If it were just normal temper tantrums I wouldn’t be able to remember it so clearly, right?”, I ask myself trying to make sense of my memories. Some specific things that have happened in the past that my brain doesn’t fail to forget and I suffer the consequences of reliving them over and over again. I’ve always been a person who feels deeply, extremely deep, like the bottom of the ocean floor deep. Everything has always affected me harder than it should do, good things and most definitely the bad. Even other peoples emotions, it’s like I’m in tune to it all. I’m no longer sure if it’s because I’m an old soul or if I’m just a fragile soul who feels mentally and physically old.
“I felt restless, frustrated and engulfed by the chronic physical and mental pain”
During these last couple of months, my anxiety paid it’s unwanted dues and said: “HEY GURL HEY” like it had never even left. Since I’ve been on antidepressants for the last six months I’ve been able to get a little rest, relentless nightmares and flashbacks were suppressed, constant crying myself to sleep cut down immensely, depression seemed bearable and I was able to deal with my anxiety at a controllable level. Since May 1st I’ve been taking Fluoxetine (Prozac – antidepressants/SSRI), fast forward to the beginning of August and now October all of my dreaded symptoms have come back to harass me and take control over my life again. All of the things I mentioned; the depression, anxiety, nightmares etc. are things that I’ve dealt with since I was a child, but never EVER spoke up about it. I brushed it under the rug as something minor, I just thought it was my normal when really it was eaten away at me and taking away from my quality of life.
Last month I had a really bad panic attack, I was home alone and had just arisen out of bed around afternoon time. My trigger for that day was a dreadful flashback I’ve been getting ever since I became a young carer, at the age of 11. The night before, I was feeling my mood change and my chest was getting tight. I had been in bed for a few weeks and hadn’t been able to leave the house due to my Fibromyalgia and CRPS. Feelings of hopelessness had resurfaced, flashbacks and uncontrollable tears came back to flood my eyes to maximum capacity. I didn’t know how to combat it. I felt restless, frustrated and engulfed by the chronic physical and mental pain.
“There will always be triggers but I can only try to create calming thoughts in order to combat them and feel alive”
Due to my anxiety being mostly triggered because of situations I had no control over, it’s made me long for the feeling of having anything I possibly can under my control within my vicinity. Living with chronic physical pain and limitations makes it almost impossible for me to have control over quite a lot of things, even small things. The older I get the more I’ve had to let go of the ideation of control and having everything in my bubble running well, but the thought of not having it altogether causes more anxiety too. Ugh, a mess!
As the years go on I recognise different triggers that cause me to have debilitating episodes of mental illness relapses:
- Weather changes
- Being in unfamiliar places
- Chronic health issues
- Reliving unfortunate experiences
- Being in the presence of controlling, patronizing or confrontational people
- Enclosed spaces
- Big crowds & lots of various noise – social events
- Phone calls
- Spontaneous unplanned trips
- Surprises – ANY surprise
- Vulgar people – verbally or physically abusive
- Public speaking/performance – when I was younger I used to play instruments, sing, dance. I still consider myself to have some sort of ‘confidence’ but when it comes to being in public the older I get the more I experience social anxiety
- Music, smells & people who remind me of a particularly traumatic time
- Being put under pressure – growing up and being in education was tough (learning difficulties)
- Getting lost, doing things wrong and being trapped in places (especially when I’m by myself) – these are such mentally painful and torturous triggers for me
(The list isn’t finished I’m just tired of typing)
Now that I’ve even come to some sort of terms with what’s going on with me, I can take my time to write out the symptoms and emotions I experience and hopefully, this will help me to feel a little less controlled by my illnesses, as though they can’t torment me in secret anymore. I know there will always be triggers but I can only try to create calming thoughts in order to combat them and feel alive.
I recently remembered a drawing that I had started last year but had lost interest and forgotten about, something that happens quite a lot with chronic illness sufferers. I dug into a bag that had some of my drawings and decided to finish off the drawing that I had already started. It’s a drawing of a lady walking through the park with her dog on a cool autumn evening.
The girl in the picture could have been me but I don’t have a dog, so I guess it’s a drawing of me if I did have a dog. I’ve always wanted a dog, a dachshund or a labrador, but just never had the circumstance for one. I drew the picture with an autumn vibe, a time when the leaves show off their vibrant tones and animals collect and store their food to get ready for winter hibernation.
Autumn is bitter, sweet. Everything is dying but getting ready to come back stronger and even more beautiful by next year spring.
When I think of autumn, I think of it as a time when nature says it’s final farewell for the year in the most beautiful and graceful manner. I guess I’m just trying to see the good in the unfortunate and autumn is settling to me 🍁🍂🍁
This was super duper hard for me to write, it’s a MASSIVE step, don’t even know if any of this makes sense and I feel a little exposed but I know this is important for me! It’s unfortunate that I’ve basically suffered in silence for near enough all my life. I’ve spoken a little about my depression to health care professionals before and did CBT but I don’t think I was able to truly focus on getting to causes and acknowledging things that have occurred during the 24 years I’ve been on this Earth. I recently went to see a psychologist and I’m finally being referred to a mental health hub. All I can do is acknowledge my situation, seek the support I need and remember that healing isn’t linear. For anyone else suffering out there, you are so not alone!
📖 1 Peter 1:24&25 – (Click to read this scripture on JW.ORG)
I just have to add, drawing grass is tedious! But I’m glad that I finally finished this picture and the grass looks really healthy, Lol
Most of my art is just drawn from my imagination, you’ll realise this the more you get to know me and the more I post my art on this blog.
More art coming soon… 😘
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PEACE & POSITIVITY
LOVE & LIGHT
3 thoughts on “Anxiety & Art PT. 1”
Great post! Don’t doubt yourself, when you write from a place of truth and honesty, it will convey what it needs to those who need it. It was clear and easy to follow. I too love fall and you did a great job on the drawing.
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I thought your post was great. It all made perfect sense to me. Its a great comfort reading experiences of others which I can relate to, certainly makes you realise your not alone!!
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This was truly a great post Laura, thank you for sharing with us and being vulnerable. You are so strong and artful! I related to many of the things that you said and I am sure others will too. We all may be from different places but we are in this together.
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