Anxiety & Me

Honesty is an important part of being resilient, and although I work every day to react with strength and balance to the difficult things in my life, I struggle to keep anxiety at bay.

With 4 amputations, I feel physically vulnerable, and at the moment I have a cut on my leg that just won’t heal. Working very late hours as one of a very small number of customer service staff in a call centre is stressful. I have been deeply affected by the deaths of my  brother, my mother and my brother-in-law over the last 5 years. Money is a constant source of worry.

I never had any counselling for my post-sepsis syndrome – I couldn’t afford it. Now, nearly 20 years on, it feels too late.

Of course I am incredibly grateful for the life I have left, for my wonderful marriage to Nic, and for our children. But I am human, and my own situation can be intensely hard to cope with. Anxiety is with me every second of every minute of every day and I have learned to manage it – doggedly, manfully.

I tell myself, it is what it is. No more, no less.

What has happened, has happened, and I simply have to make the best of it. It’s especially important that I don’t let things get to me not just for my own sake but for the people around me. I do of course have their very best interests at heart, so I need to stay balanced, positive and perfectly functional. I don’t want to bring anyone else down.

How I Reduce My Anxiety

  1. I break down daunting tasks into small manageable steps.
  2. I avoid things I know will make me anxious. I turn away.
  3. I’ve cut down on watching TV news.
  4. I use calming mindfulness apps such as Headspace.
  5. I get away from screens when I can & go to the beach as much as possible.

When I say, I go to the beach, that’s Porthmeor Beach in St Ives, and as it’s so many hundred miles away from where we live in the East Midlands, it’s a virtual trip on line to the webcam. I look at it every day, and it fills me with calm.

The key point is, I try to be in control.

I’ve convinced myself that it’s only down to me what goes on in my head – nobody else – so if that’s the case, then I’ll be a ruthless editor and only allow good things to dwell in there.

Other ways I seek to reduce my anxiety include watching & listening to comedy (BBC iPlayer Radio4 is a good starting point), watching sport, going to the coffee shop, and working on my hobbies. 

Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of times when none of this works. My disabilities are severe and life has a way of biting you when you’re not expecting it. I’m as fallible as the next man and it is not easy.

All I can say is, if you’re feeling anxious, you’re not alone. I’m with you. We’ll get through it.

We will.