Time to talk about everybody’s favourite ‘A-word’

I don’t hate anybody or any things really (rarely), but this, woah he’s a real b*tch or see you next Tuesday. I hate it.

Anxiety is absolute bullsh*t.

It is physically draining and can hit you like a tonne of bricks or can smash into you quicker than dropping your iphone on your face lying down. It affects everyone differently too. Of course being the loving bugger it is, it doesn’t discriminate. EVERYONE and ANYONE can have anxiety, or be anxious at some stage. Seriously, everyone. The only difference is it is more than often not spoken about. You can be the happiest and most outgoing person in the room but the split-second anxiety rears its ugly head you can be sent into a downward spiral.

Let me break it down for you in more layman’s terms. It’s like when you wake up and you’re really hungover or groggy and you go down to Coles looking less than fresh and it is GUARANTEED that you are going to run into someone looking like a hot mess. You. Cannot. Avoid. It. Then boom, of course, it happens. You know it’ll happen even when you are on a glowing post-orgasm high, you know it’ll rear it’s big ol’ ugly head whenever and wherever it feels like it.

So here’s lil old me minding my own business, attempting as best as I can to keep on top of things – obviously failing miserably but still singing Yonce’s ballad ‘Survivor’. Yes, I know that was Destiny’s Child, but I can’t think of the others’ names; so therefore invalid? Then NEKMINIT it appears. It constantly maintains eye contact with you and tries to hold you in conversation when all you want to do is retreat to your bed (with your McDonald’s) and hide from the world. It isn’t to be confused with being similar to when a woman gets her aunty flow once a month (lucky bastards), there isn’t a set date or time or even an event that triggers it. It can legit be the smallest most insignificant thing that can trigger it. So that’s been me for the last three months on an anxiety bender. Hasn’t been as fun as any other bender I’ve been on before but boy oh boy has the crashing and burning been just as horrific.

The worse thing is it doesn’t discriminate – age, gender, profession, religion – you name it, you can be affected. I have friends, good friends, almost other limbs that have anxiety issues yet until they told me, I had NO idea.  I know of children who have anxiety issues and it truly breaks my heart. To have a child tell you, they are feeling so short of breath whilst being unable to explain why, to not want to participate in sports or hang out with their friends and just want to sit in their rooms and cry, that, well that is truly gut-wrenching. Anxiety works in mysterious ways. It affects everyone differently. Some people cry. Some people have panic attacks. Some people can’t talk and practically turn mute. Some people get anxiety diarrhoea which can decide to show up whenever. Anxiety is pretty right? But it’s time that people, women, men, old, young, whether they are chronically stressed from work or stupendously stressed from being at home with their kids, dogs, or ferrets, etc. to talk about it. Don’t hide it. Don’t hide from it and definitely don’t suffer from it. I’m saying wear an ‘A’ on your shirt as a tell-tale signifier because one it would be confusing and two, well, we all know the story of the Scarlet A, or ‘Easy A’ for the kids in the room. #awkward

Whether it’s talking to a friend over a wine, cuddling your dog and divulging everything or simply speaking to a counsellor, you are not alone. You never will be alone. You aren’t pathetic. You’re strong and being told how to feel when you don’t even know how you feel yourself, is a joke and they can eat one. It’s 2017, not 1817. People need to be able to talk about their feelings. It doesn’t make you any less of a person nor does it diminish you. Nor does it make you any less of yourself. Being anxious, having anxiety, having an attack doesn’t define you. It f*cking sucks but you come out on top. You come out as a better person. You don’t let it break you. You kick it’s arse.

I am pleased, and almost relieved to see how much is being done for mental illness, mental health awareness and overall general health and wellbeing for people. These days people do talk about mental health, however the hardest thing that still remains is to admit it to yourself, and then to share this new-found truth with others. You need to know you are safe and loved and you can talk about things, your life, your stresses and your daily issues that are encountered. It is definitely okay to vent every now and then. It’s more than okay to need to let everything out so you don’t rage unexpectedly one day out of the blue. Every single person is human and isn’t expected to be a robot all of the time.

So right now, it’s a Tuesday afternoon and I’m watching Netflix and having a cider. You know why? Because it’s been a sh*t week. Yeah it’s only Tuesday, I know; but I deserve it. Did I set myself a ‘no drinking during the week’ ban? Yeah I did. Am I going to listen to it tonight? No way. Because I deserve this god damn drink. And I will definitely deserve the second and third too.

So the big ‘A word’ hey? Bet you dirty buggers thought I was going to say something else; what, like abstinence…? You filthy animals. 


For the love of all things guacamole, If you or anyone you know needs to talk about anything, do it. And do it often. You’ll never know how much even a brief conversation can help someone.

 

Don’t Bullsh*t a Bullsh*tter

I’m fine.” The biggest two worded lie ever spoken. It is such an automatic, generic response when queried about how you are feeling or why you are acting, speaking, talking or behaving in such a way. I will be honest – I am one of the biggest users of this lie. It is easier to dismiss your true and unfiltered thoughts and feelings then admit to others – and ourselves – that something is wrong. Why though? Why do people, myself included find that instead of saying what is wrong, we simply lie. With everything that is going on around us on a daily basis it is easy to get so caught up in the intricacies of life that your focus shifts, your thought patterns are obscured, you don’t feel the usual connection to people or things that you may usually have. Your sh*t is well and truly not together. Without wanting to swear too much (Sorry Mum!) – it is when sh*t well and truly hits the fan or you stub your toe, or you can’t do something that usually comes so easily, or you fight with your partner, your friend, your dog; this is when you need to be able to say I am not okay. It is okay to not be okay. Jessie J even says so in her hit ‘Who You Are’. If Jessie J says it’s okay, then you better god damn believe it.

Why is it so hard to admit when we are not okay? Why is it so hard to admit that we need help? In my life, much like everyone else (not claiming I know your life FYI – just a generalisation), I have seen too many people suffer in silence. It is this suffering that unfortunately ends lives and not only destroys their own but many around them. Mental illness is something that can start off as something almost dismissed by the individual and then festers into something bigger than that. Even just a quick chat to someone could be lifesaving.

Through campaigns run by organisations such as LIVIN’ and Beyond Blue, society as a whole is becoming more aware of mental illness, the different types, possible causes, the (maybe?) signs. If you or someone you know is suffering there are bountiful organisations and individuals who want to help you. You may be surprised to know that a loved one, a best friend or your ‘bro’ can provide the most honest and refreshing insight of all.

Everyone (staring down at my reflection in the mirror as I write this almost chanting “Listen Erin. This is directed at you.”) needs to realise how important we are, how appreciated and needed we are and how we can help other people. Whether it be a stranger who looks like they are having a rough day, a friend who posts a questionable quote on social media (we all know someone who springs to mind) or a loved one whom we know is not being themselves; just ask them if they’re okay. Really and sincerely ask them. And then on the other side of the spectrum, if we ourselves are having a rough day, week, month or even what feels like a year – be honest. Talk. Cry. Scream (preferably last resort). Don’t suffer in silence. Most importantly, don’t try and bullsh*t your way through it. Speak out. Don’t do this alone, because you my dear beautiful friends, are not alone. You have all of us.

RIP R x

Seek assistance: Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) or at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/contact-us