Welcome to the first instalment of my Inside My Head series! In this series, I will take you into my mind so you can see how depression, anxiety and insomnia affect me on a daily basis. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for the rest of the series and walk this journey with me.
Worry and I are old friends. He would tell you that he is my favourite visitor, as he frequently pops in to see how I’m doing. It doesn’t matter what kind of situation I’m thinking of or what kind of day I’m on, worry can turn it from a molehill into a mountain. He also likes to drag people he knows are important to me and start spouting worst-case scenarios concerning them. It doesn’t matter who they are, what they do or anything, I can find worries.
How many different things can you think of that you might worry about? Money? Family? Your job? All quite big things, right? Now try and think of some of the little things. Do you find you worry about them much? Unfortunately it’s a strong trait of my anxiety that I can worry about the little things just as much as I worry about the big things. I reckon it’s part of who I am.
Everyone worries. Everyone. Worry is a normal part of life. When that worry starts to control you, though, that’s when it becomes a problem. Over the past ten months, I’ve lost count of how many situations I’ve deliberately avoided out of worry. It eats away at you, picking away at the bedrock until you start to doubt.
And that brings me nicely to the flipside of this couple.
No matter what Worry might tell you, Doubt is actually my favourite of the duo. She’s always there, hiding in the shadows, whispering in my ear, telling me that she is the only voice that speaks any truth. Whatever good thoughts or positivity goes through my mind, she can take it and turn it into something nasty and venomous. It’s almost as if she goes through my mind with a fine-toothed comb looking for things she can torment me with.
Out of all the things that tumble through my head, doubt is also the hardest for me to shut out. For every word that someone says, she will be trying to convince me that they don’t mean it, that they’re not really interested or whatever else she can use. Occasionally I do have moments of clarity surrounding her – more so nowadays than before – and I realise that what she’s saying isn’t true. Most days, however, I find it hard to resist her subtle whispering.
In truth, I think doubt is one of the reasons I put so much time and stock into my mask. Thanks to doubt clawing at me, I have a tendency to shut people out, keeping them at arm’s length so I can make sure they don’t prove to be false. It doesn’t always work, believe me, and untangling it all can almost prove to be too much work.
Thanks to Doubt, though, I always find actions speak louder than words. As clichéd as the comment might be, you can’t really go wrong with actions. Words can get picked apart in the corner of my mind until there is nothing left of them. Actions, however, stick. I remember them. I’m more inclined to remember what you’ve done to/for me than what you have said to me.
As an example, I was having a really dark dip and one of my friends decided she was going to drive from the other side of the city near the middle of the night to come and bring me a McDonalds because she knew I hadn’t eaten that day. Things like that tend to stick in my mind. Instead of simply telling me she was there for me, she took time out to come and do something nice for me to help me.
Hopefully doubt will become more manageable over time. Even now, I still struggle with it. Perhaps it’s always there. Who knows?
Next week I shall be taking you properly into my head, looking at how I can feel trapped by my mind. Come back next week to read more about that or, alternatively, check out some of the other posts I write.
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