If only I understood the reason for my anxiety – if I could understand it, explain it – then I could solve it.
But this was just a distraction. In fact, it made things worse.
Here’s some advice you might hear if you’re dealing with anxiety:
“It doesn’t matter WHY you’re struggling, accept the feelings and focus instead on the present”
Sounds great. But, then, so does this: “we should confront and heal our past traumas so they stop bothering us in the present”!
And these good-sounding bits of advice seem to be contradictory..!
How are we supposed to know WHEN to confront past traumas, and when to let go and focus on the present?
(And I bet you’ve come across loads more of these seemingly-contradictory pairs of advice.)
Here’s an answer I often return to:
You might be interested in this talk I was invited to give recently at the University of Liverpool.
The occasion was “Working Conversations”, a conference intended to discuss what a better mental health service might look like.
I was invited to share my experiences with anxiety, some thoughts about custard, and to throw open a few questions for the ‘proper’ experts to consider during their discussions for the rest of the day.
Hopefully I did an alright job! You can see the talk via this link.
I’m very interested in your feedback, so please do let me know what you make of it below!
[post status: a quick & messy throwaway thought]
It’s a two-way street between our feelings and our actions. Sometimes we perform well because we’re confident, but acting confident also helps our performance.
Hence the popular advice: “Fake it till you make it!”
Isn’t it weird that something that happened years ago “feels like yesterday”, while something that happened last week “feels like forever ago”?
Well actually, I’ve just realised it might not be weird at all.
Our brains would genuinely be happier if we could attach a fake steering wheel to “life” and pretend we were controlling everything that happens to us.