A question I get asked a lot, and ask a lot. It’s a simple one, that requires almost no in-depth thinking, and takes a couple of seconds at most to ask. It’s a question that can conceal so much and reveal long kept secrets. It’s one that checks in on something, tells them you care, and informs that you are here for them. For two words, asking ‘you alright?’ packs one hell of a punch.
When I’m in the midst of a bad patch of anxiety, I often struggle with talking to anyone–family, friends, random strangers. I feel disconnected from the world, unable to communicate anything, let alone feelings. I’m definitely a hermit when it comes to anxiety. You can tell I’m struggling when I disappear for a little while. But whilst I’m being uncommunicative and invisible, I’m also stressed about being so uncommunicative and invisible. It’s a double edged sword. LUCKILY, I have fab friends who know that I tend to be a little reclusive when times get tough. So when I feel shaky, and thoughts are running through my head at a billion miles per hours and I’m convinced I’m a failure, it means the absolute world to get a text that says:
It’s casual and succinct, and can be answered in a pinch. Normally my response is: “I’m having an anxious time of it, but will be back to normal soon!”. I don’t know what it is about talking to someone, but the old adage is true: a problem shared is a problem halved.
Recently a friend of mine set up a mental health support group, something our local community dearly needs. Inspired by him, and the responses he got from people, I realised just how much it means to have someone to check in on you, to ask if everything’s okay. I also realised that I should be asking ‘you alright?’ more. Coz I know from first hand experience what a difference it makes.
I think this is especially important at this time of year. With the Christmas lights and cheer now a distant memory, there is somethings nothing to brighten up the howling wind and pouring rain of an English winter. I am definitely one to feel a little gloomy when it’s cold and wet. People spend more time inside, more time wrapped up in a trillion layers, and more time shivering–and I think all that makes it easier to feel disconnected, and for me, that sometimes triggers my anxiety.
I feel like this blogpost is more a stream of thoughts on a subject rather than a structured post, but I think it’s something I needed to write. The process of typing, and deleting and re-writing has calmed me, and made me revaluate how I interact with people. Really, there’s only one more thing to say: