The Anxiety Diaries Part 2

The Anxiety Diaries, Written By Becky Handley. Illustration By Alice Rose Bolton

The Anxiety Diaries, Written By Becky Handley. Illustration By Alice Rose Bolton

When it comes to my mental health, I find that I don’t do well when I have too much time on my hands. My depression goes into override and I just feel exceptionally low, struggling with the simplest of self-care tasks.

So, I try to keep busy but that’s when good old anxiety raises its head, making me feel like I cannot stop. I find it even harder when life is going well -

What if I have a break and these good moments end?

But there is only so long you can keep going before your physical health takes a hit too.

I had this happen last month whilst I was preparing for my degree show exhibition. I'd had a week of helping with the preparation, which proved to be quite stressful at times, then it was the degree show opening night which came with a whole new heap of anxiety. My hands were shaking, I felt sweaty and clammy and really, really insecure.

When I finally came to a stop so did my health. I woke up and felt so unwell – lightheaded, shaky and yet still I'd try and update my website, write a Facebook post and write my Twitter posts. It was only after my partner pointed out how stressed I’d been, he pointed out how I’d not been sleeping properly, so I put it down to exhaustion. I knew I should probably go and have a lay down. So I did.

As I sat feeling sorry for myself, there was this realisation the stress had got to me a lot and there were times I hadn’t been taking care of myself.

No matter how much we have going on at university or work etc, we have to take care of ourselves.

Make sure to eat, to stay hydrated, to have a shower.

I am a big believer that we only get one trip on this earth and we should, of course, fill it with wonderful days. But these wonderful days, don’t always have to be jam packed.

They can be a day where all you do is have a nice, long shower or eat something truly delicious. Or spend the afternoon watching Sarah Millican, in your pyjamas, with a cup of tea and some Dairy Milk. (I reckon Sarah would approve!)

You have to grab life by the reins and aim for the top, but those days spent watching Sarah Millican are just as important. The days where you stop and take care of you, in whatever way you can, are vital – vital to your mental health, your physical health and vital for the days when you shoot for the moon.

Now, put the kettle on.

If you’ve been struggling with your mental health or are having suicidal thoughts, or you know somebody who is, these are the numbers to call to get some help.

Samaritans: 116 123

CALM: 0800 58 58 58

Papyrus (for those under 35): 0800 068 41 41

Childline (for children and young people under 19): 0800 1111

The Silver Line (for the elderly): 0800 4 70 80 90