the anxiety umbrella...same umbrella, different raindrops

Anxiety is one illness made up of different little elements, just like every other illness. No two peoples illness are exactly the same but it still feels like we are all put under one umbrella. Expected to deal with it all in one way and expected for it to work out and make us better. We aren't robots, we aren't programmed and I feel that is an important thing to remind ourselves of daily.

Being part of an online community is a huge part of my life. With that online community comes a lot of support, love, respect, positive vibes and friendship. However along with the online community comes a lot of comparison and self doubt.

I've been off sick for the past couple of months now and they've been tough. Those months have now led to me leaving my job, the job I thought I would be in forever (literally forever, I never planned on leaving until this past couple of months). The job I really did enjoy, the job that gave me purpose, the job that gave me motivation, the job that got me out of bed in a morning but also the same job that was making my physical symptoms go through the roof. The workplace that was making me physically ill. It was just no longer worth it.

I've felt lately that a lot of people have their judgement on my life and current situation but it's important to remember this is my life and nobody understands fully how I feel inside on a daily basis. I can share with people how I feel as much as I want but nobody will ever fully understand. Just like I won't fully understand another persons illness.

An important thing to remember is we are all at different stages of illness, under the same umbrella name but some of us just have a few more raindrops dropping on our umbrellas at the minute compared to others. I'm hoping if you're reading this that by the end you'll have received a little bit of hope and you'll see a little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel because we all deserve to get better.

Over the past few months years especially I've been comparing myself to others, what they seem to be able to do with ease (or so it seems) and what I just can't seem to do. Remember, when people share posts online it's usually their main stage not their behind the scenes. Photos are often filtered and posed.

It's heading on 10 years now that I haven't been on holiday, or even a night away (does house sitting count?). I know that at the minute it would just be a waste of my time and money because I just wouldn't be able to enjoy myself. I guess you could say I just don't have my head in the game (did I really just add in a High School Musical reference)? But this varies from day to day.

I hear/see a lot about people who are travelling to places all over the world. But not only are they travelling to these beautiful places but they are doing it with a mental illness in tow. I just want to know their secrets! I often find myself wanting to scream 'how do you do it?' 'tell me how!' 'pleeassseeee, I'm begging you!'. But if I'm being completely honest I don't know what they have to do to get to that point or what they've been through to get to where they are now. The beautiful photos could quite literally be on someones doorstep, within 5 minutes down the road.

If you'd told me 3 years ago I'd eventually be able to work 4 days a week (I'm obviously unfortunately not doing this now but stick with me) I'd of thought you were bonkers, it just wouldn't be possible...would it? It would be possible, some days I drove so far to work and turned back, cried then made it to work a little later...I've no idea why this would happen but atleast I kept on trying.

At the minute the furthest I can travel is about 30 minutes to watch football so any form of holiday is a little out of reach at the minute if I'm being realistic. Plus then I don't travel there like any 'normal' person would, what even is this normal people talk about? I go with my mum and a few friends who we sit with but they've started taking my mum and I drive myself, so I guess I technically don't go with them but you know what I mean. They like to get there early but I just hate waiting around, walking the distance and getting in a state of panic. I haven't always been like this when it comes to football. I used to park in a car park about a 10 minute walk but now it just doesn't seem possible so I park in the car park as close to the stadium as I can get. Some would call this safety behavior, I call this living life a little in a tricky situation. I will eventually get back to being able to park in the further car park but in the meantime I'm going to continue doing what I know makes life a little easier and things a little more doable without being so hard on myself about it.

Some of you with anxiety could be at the extreme end with anxiety and could currently be housebound (I've been there) but trust me when I say this, things will get better. You will eventually be able to do 'normal' things (there is that word again), you just have to take the teeny tiny baby steps. Yes, chances are you'll think they are pointless/stupid/ridiculous (I've been there) but eventually you will accept that if you want to get better it's baby steps or no progress. The baby steps will eventually pay off once you've accepted that you've been struck by an illness that isn't 'just all in your head' even though I guess technically it is inside our heads.

Honestly keep going, do little things and you'll slowly regain your life back. Do this when you feel ready but please, start at some point and never give up. If you try one day and you fail, get back up and try again, whether it be the same day, the next day or the next week please just don't give up.

Take care of yourself.