Anxiety & Christmas

Thursday, 15 December 2016

I don't really mention this a lot on here but I have an anxiety disorder (GAD) that effects me now and again pretty badly, my lymbic-system just loves to fuck with me. My mental health has been great this past 3 months but I always make sure I practice extra self love around this time of year, just so I don't slip into old habits and allow my anxiety to take over. Mental health is a strange thing and seems as I can't speak for everyone because it is completely subjective. This post will only be from my point of view and experiences, but I do hope it allows people to understand and give reassurance to people who feel the same. 

When I was little I used to get this thing that my mum liked to call 'Christmasitis' I wouldn't be able to get to sleep through the whole of December which would lead to my immune system being down and then I would get ill and have to spend Christmas being poorly in bed, it wasn't fun. We used to just think it was excitement, but now I'm older and more informed I know it was the beginnings of GAD.  Christmas time is a time of added pressure for me, this is because of a mixture of deadlines, an increase with shifts at work and just an added pressure to be happy all of the time. Christmas is a time of joy and fun and festivities and society tells us that at Christmas we must be happy all the time, for me this is difficult because my mood fluctuates a lot depending on my surroundings, I can be excited for Christmas one minute and then once I get to work become a little bit more reserved. People at work and Uni call me scrooge a lot which I don't think is very fair, just because people can't see me when I'm most comfortable and allow myself to relax and celebrate the run up to Christmas in my own quiet way. I also put an almighty amount of pressure on myself to find the perfect Christmas gift for people and if I have no ideas I begin to panic about what people will think of me if the gifts wrong or if they don't like them. I know to some this may sound stupid but I care a lot about making people happy, sometimes a little too much! 

My anxiety has been a lot better this year though, I have barely felt anxious over the past few months and it's only starting to make me feel abit on edge I'd say only this week, which is a record. I think this is down to the CBT sessions I had over last Christmas and the summer and now I know what calming techniques to put in place when I do feel like it's all getting a little too much. I've also been really busy with Uni work meaning I haven't really had a lot of time to think about Christmas. I also try to start buying my Christmas presents early on so I don't have to go into town when it's busy, I also tend to order my presents mostly on the internet, just because it's easier. I know to some this might be a safety behaviour that is frowned upon when going through therapy, but I'm out of therapy now and online shopping is fun with no human interaction so you know, it's great (sorry therapist).

 I know this Christmas is going to be great and for once I'm feeling pretty okay about it. If you are feeling the pressure this Christmas time just know that you're not alone. Take some time for yourself away from all the merriment and cheer and just live normally, practice self love and increase your meditation hours, if you need to go into town go early in the mornings to avoid crowds and if you're going through therapy try not to internet shop because it is a pretty big safety behaviour but if you need to it's okay. Christmas is a very commercialised and sometimes the true meaning can get lost in all the to-do lists and shopping. If you feel anxious, take the pace down a notch, nobody's going to mind if you retreat into your room and watch your favourite Tv ep. or your fave film for a while, there are quieter ways to celebrate and always look after yourself no matter the season.     

Do you feel extra anxious over Christmas time?


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