Don’t sweat the small stuff
Recently, on a down day, I started flicking through the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. It makes sense, granted. But, what exactly is “small stuff”?
I wasn’t able to pay bills that needed to be paid. I sat and shook and sweated while worry literally consumed me.
I have an anxiety disorder and only in the last year or so have I managed to take control of it. For me, the slightest little thing caused immense grief.
Everything I did was wrong. I was convinced that I always annoyed the people I knew. There wasn’t a day went by when I wasn’t worried about, or petrified of, life.
Ask anyone who suffers from anxiety and I guarantee you’ll hear of how someone literally lives in fear.
We manage to find things to worry about when there is nothing there. You can lie awake all night fully convinced that something awful is going to happen.
Consumed by fear
You get attacks…where your heart tries to break free from your chest and no matter how hard you try you are unable to breathe. Your hands turn cold and you start to shake, to hyperventilate.
The people with you are either embarrassed or scared, and no matter how much someone tries to convince you that everything is ok, to you it never is.
This is what my life was like for ten years. Fear consumed me for ten years. I don’t know how I did it.
Working through anxiety
After years of living behind the veil of fear and anxiety, I decided to do something about it. I went to my doctor who put me in touch with a wonderful therapist. I attended counselling for quite some time and was put on antidepressants to curb the anxiety.
I managed to work through so many issues, things I hadn’t even realised were contributing to my anxiety.
I learned there really is no quick fix for anxiety and it’s not something that goes away. You learn coping skills and techniques that help you understand your triggers and deal with them before you end up caught in a fully fledged panic attack.
The reason I’m writing about this today is because I’m not having the greatest of days today. Anxiety is kicking in and I’m scared. I don’t like knowing that my body still has some form of control over me. My stomach is in knots and my heart is beating too heavily, too quickly.
While I am immensely proud of the fact that I haven’t had a fully blown panic attack, a part of me is still disappointed that after working so hard, learning new behaviours such as letting go and positive thinking, that my mind is still susceptible to the fear.
My “small stuff”
Today I’m arguing with my mother. This is trivial I know, but this is my “small stuff.” I know that people are doing exams now and that you could possibly be feeling all of what I mentioned above.
OK to feel like this
If you do or have felt this way, it is important to know the following: it’s perfectly OK to feel like this!
There are lots of things you can do to help yourself in this situation.
- Focus on your breathing – this is something I find particularly powerful
- Talk to someone about how you’re feeling – they will more than likely understand the feeling!
Acknowledging and asking for help
Many well-known people who have openly sought help for their anxiety. More people than you’d realise.
Johnny Depp who seems so incredibly confidant, Emma Stone, one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and the Oscar award winning Adele – they’ve been there, they know what it feels like, they asked for help and so should you.
All I know is that if I hadn’t sought help when I felt like my world was crumbling, I wouldn’t be the confident, outgoing, and most importantly, happy person I am today.
What can I do now?
- Check out some information on anxiety from our experts
- Find out about anxiety
- Read about Florence Welch from Florence + the machine's struggle with anxiety