“We need to know about other’s lives to know that we’re okay… you need to live bravely to encourage people to live bravely in their own lives.”
Laura Jane Williams on Fiona Barrows’ There Are Other Ways podcast
I love sharing my life online. I don’t know what it is about it, but I do find something truly cathartic about getting my thoughts and feelings out into the world. This is especially true when people really respond to it, saying that they too feel that way, or they also struggle with this certain thing.
I got accused recently of sharing too much of myself online, particularly the bad parts. Someone close to me said that my social media presence was taking too much of a ‘negative’ turn, particularly on Instagram. That sharing certain parts of my life – such as struggles with mental health and loneliness – was not something people wanted to see. “Instagram is where we go to escape,” they said, “we don’t want to be reminded of the sad things in life.”
Greetings, all. I thought I’d share this piece that I wrote last year, originally posted on a health and wellness website called The Olive Fox, which is now sadly defunct. I didn’t want this post to go to waste, so I thought: what better place to rehome it than my ol’ faithful blog? It’s quite apt really, since this post is about mental health and meditation, and as of late, I’ve started incorporating meditation (and yoga) back into my routine to overcome another bad spell of mental heath. I hope you enjoy.
As we edge ever closer to the end of 2016, I decided to take some time to sit down and reflect on the past 12 months. I wasn’t going to, originally. I thought, “what on earth can I contribute that won’t have been said a million times over already? What have I got to add that won’t be an horrific cliché?” But then, I decided to shrug away the negative side of my brain.
2016. “What a horrendous year!” they say, “So many deaths! So much political discourse! Good riddance – roll on 2017!” I used to love New Year, until I realised that time is just an illusion, and bears no real meaning in the grand scheme of things. Maybe this is why as a human race, we’re obsessed with ascribing meaning to it, to make it matter. As much I resist, I still can’t help but feel a lightness at the end of the year, the feeling that it all starts over once again. Tomorrow is just another day, the clocks may be changing, but nothing will really change. But there’s something refreshing about ‘starting over’, even if it’s not really starting over, just continuing on.
As I mentioned before in my post about being bad at socialising, I suffer from anxiety. Though it does very much affect me in my daily life, most days it is manageable and I am able to float through life without worrying about it too much.
However, life is full of ups and downs, and with that come some particularly bad episodes of anxiety and/or panic attacks. Here are just a few little things I do when I feel my anxiety has gotten the better of me.
I’m going to address the elephant that’s been in the room for most of my life: I’m bad at socialising. And it’s getting worse with age.
Don’t get me wrong, I have friends and can make pleasant small talk with strangers. Having said that, as an introvert, I hate small talk and will avoid it whenever possible. With friends, I am lively and opinionated and (occasionally) the life of the party. Although at work, I eer on the side of caution, I keep my head down and just get on with my work.