Goal setting in the mind of an anxious person

I really struggle as defining myself as someone who has ill mental health. Despite my drive to raise awareness and combat stigma, it still gets to me sometimes. I get frustrated that I’m not better yet. I get annoyed at myself that there are some days where I feel limited by my anxiety and depression. I get wound up that I’m not ready to take on the world. Yet.

Yet. That’s such an important word that I’ve tried to introduce into my day to day lexis. It reminds me that I won’t always feel this way. It reminds me that my limitations won’t always be there.

That’s my ambitious brain talking. I like her!

My ambitious brain is starting to make more of an appearance these days – which is nice. It’s completely at odds with my anxious brain, who really doesn’t like another in limelight but that’s OK. My anxious brain is trying to keep me safe. Unfortunately for it, I’ve always been more comfortable in the stretch zone. Oh the ongoing conflict of an anxious, ambitious person!

Anyway, how do I get by with such an internal feud going on. I’ve had to learn to listen to my body. A few years back, I underwent a programme of therapy using the Rosen Method, and as odd as it was, I found it so helpful in understanding how my body undergoes this stress and how it tries to protect me from it.

On those days where I feel energised, focused and driven, I’ll try to write some goals and allow myself to do some day-dreaming. I might even get a few bits done. Right now, I’m developing this blog and looking at starting up my own business. There’s lots to do and lots to learn, which really excites and satisfies my ambitious brain. It also really helps on those days where I wake up and I’m not so sure. There’s a list ready and I know that even on those tentative days, I have a plan to follow and I can just do the bits that I can handle. They help me get to my goals one step at a time.

On those days where I’m low, depressed and anxious, I’ve learnt to take care of myself without the guilt. Guilt for me is the biggest trigger for a downward spiral. And so I try to keep it at bay, reminding myself that I’m not OK but I’m working towards it. I appease my anxious brain by taking a break. On those days, my goals are smaller. They include getting out of bed and getting into clean clothes. Remembering to eat something. Keep drinking squash (I’m not keen on plain water). Maybe drop a message to my tribe (I’m guilty of locking myself away when things are bad). Nothing dramatic but just so that they know and they offer their love and support when I need it most (people can’t actually read minds. Yet.)

Wherever you are on your own journey, I hope that you are kind to yourself and remember it’s OK to have a bad day. There’s lots of stuff around self-care at the moment so it can get confusing. For me, it’s knowing that on those days where I’m particularly tough on myself, I remind myself that I am my own worst critic so no-one else actually thinks these things. I try to human and I will do something that I enjoy and can feel a sense of achievement. Whether that’s painting a new model, levelling up on my game or making the bed.

And then, on those days that I’m up to it, I’m working on world domination.

I wish you luck with your goals – whatever they are and however long it takes you to get there!

Lou

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