When There Aren’t Enough Lifeboats

When anxiety hijacks my brain, a part of my mind realises what is happening and tries to jump onto the nearest lifeboat to safety. Sometimes we make it there, maybe sweating a little, but the worst has been avoided. Other days, we leave stragglers behind to drown when there just aren’t enough lifeboats to save them. This is when the anxiety swims around for days, waiting to be rescued by something bigger than itself. As of late, these anxiety-riddled swimmers have set up camp in my brain and are paddling about, trying to find a way out.

Anxiousness comes to people for many different reasons, and although you can try and avoid those triggers, sometimes you don’t realise what they are until you come across them for the very first time. In my personal experience, I couldn’t quite understand what awoke the nervous and socially awkward beast in me, because it was never just one thing. It would grab hold of me at concerts or parties with people, but also in my room, completely alone. Recently, I have understood the one vague reason for my anxiety – the feeling of being overwhelmed. Social gatherings put me on edge, maybe it’s the one too many people or not wanting to be hugged or touched. When I am alone and overthinking, with a thought pattern that is so ridiculous, is probably the most overwhelmed I could ever be.

I have actively been trying to wiggle out of my comfort zone, one foot at a time, forcing myself to attend events or putting myself in situations I would normally avoid. Maybe in an effort to try and prove that there are, in fact, enough lifeboats to save myself from anxiety taking over and turning my brain into a pool of unwanted stress. My first attempt of stepping out of my comfort zone sent me into a downwards spiral of panic, like the loud and uncomfortable journey of draining water from a bathtub – the unbearable screeching that makes you close your eyes and shove your hands over your ears, much like a child would do. But, you know what? At least I tried, and that fact alone has pulled me back to reality. It just means I have to try, and try again, until I get it right at last.

Struggling and understanding anxiety is a different experience for everyone, and there is no point in comparing yours to anyone else’s. Nobody’s anxiety is worse than yours, it isn’t more manageable or easier, and it’s not more important, because it simply is not yours. We all battle these things in our own way, and comparisons between mental health are not a healthy way to make yourself magically okay. It is a lifelong struggle for some, and a mere bump in the road for others. Take note of things that calm you and remember them when you may need it most, and remember it is okay to speak up and seek help if you feel you could benefit from that. There are so many beautiful reasons to be here.

I wanted to share this little story to let you know, if you feel a similar way to me right now, that you are not alone, and it is okay to share these thoughts even if it might be intimidating. In a way, I wrote this as much for me as I did for you. Sincerely, E has never been about the views or money. Writing has and will always be a therapy for me, whether people read it or not. This blog has always been my outlet, a safe space to share the strange things in my head, that don’t seem that unusual once typed out for you. For that , I am extremely grateful you are here.

If you feel like you need a helping hand, please use the helpful links below. There is no shame in asking for guidance – if anything, it is the most brave thing you could ever do. In saying that, it can be overwhelming, so you can find me on Instagram at @ellreadsbooks or email ellie.sincerelye@gmail.com if you feel more comfortable reaching out to a familiar voice.

Lifeline
Headspace
Speak Up Stay ChatTY
ReachOut
Beyond Blue

Thank you for riding this journey with me, and I hope we can all jump on enough lifeboats one day to feel at ease and live the precious gift that is life.

Until next time,

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