AIMS, ANXIETY & PROCRASTINATIONThursday, February 04, 2016
By nature, I am an aspirational person, I have always had large aims in mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up, whether that be a singer (my childhood dream was to be on the disney channel and live in LA, and oh wow has that pipedream set sail, even if I still do like to sing), or currently - a fashion journalist, either way I have always known that whatever I end up pursing, it would have to be creative, that's all I knew and all I wanted, in holistic terms. Now, while my current career of choice may be significantly more attainable than my childhood aspiration, there is no doubt that the dreamer in me still lives on in prime and prominent position - leaving my mind set in the future and my aims higher than ever. It's not a bad thing at first look and I do, truly, love the aspirational aspect of myself - I am certainly a dreamer as opposed to a realist in nearly every fibre of my being but often, in a contradictory sense, it leaves me with a tendency to almost obsess about thoughts of the future, what I am going to do, how I am going to do it and most annoyingly, how am I going to cope? All of this, paired with the anxiety that haunts my everyday life, makes it somewhat difficult to stop and think - I constantly worry (notice a pattern?) that I forget to live in the moment far too often and, that is a habit I am somewhat trying to break.
Worrying on account of my anxiety is too often the root of many problems which lead me to questioning the attainability of my dreamer-incuded aims. Most recently I have been plagued with the persistent worry of affording University and the many costs it brings with it - particularly as I am attending university in London, also famously known the most expensive city in the UK (gulp). That right there is the very reason why last year when I applied for the course I am set to start in September, I decided to first, take a gap year but note - said year off is not to travel and enrich my understanding of the World (but wouldn't THAT be a dream) no, instead I chose to take a year out in order to work and save money and not one part of me regrets that decision, in all honesty, putting money away each month does wonders to try and cease my anxiety but nevertheless, it prevails. While I label myself as a self-confessed dreamer, that very label does not hinder me naive, I am well aware that your idea of things very rarely compares to the real, physical manifestation and that fact may just be the very reason why this relentless unease has led me to endure countless sleepless nights, tossing and turning - albeit propelling me to the depths of extensive research - the common traits of this spiral of worry does too leave me with the on edge anxiety of NEEDING TO KNOW ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, or else. Now, don't get me wrong, there are times where I feel perfectly at ease (and that may be mostly when I'm out with friends and considerably drunk but see, distraction is key, Netflix works wonders also) however, this worrisome manner does intrude my thoughts on a daily basis, and while I wish it didn't, wishing it away (unfortunately) does nothing to evade the compulsiveness so instead, I am writing about it, without reason? Perhaps, but therapeutic at least.
Anxiety is something I have struggled with for awhile and while it affects everyone differently, throughout the panic attacks and social anxiety that I have experienced, I've learnt that it comes and goes and varies in strength, with the ability to manifest itself through different forms in my life. At present, one frustrating factor I have found to be is procrastination. While procrastination isn't exactly symptomatic of anxiety, for me at least, it is my fear of the unknown (the future in all of its unreachable glory) and the heavy weight that the pressure of aims and aspirations incite which leave me with a doubting presence in my mind and with all of this looming, thoughts linger which question the ability I posses to accomplish these wishes. This doubting nature stems from the fact that admittedly, I don't believe in myself enough, something I am sure everyone battles with on a daily basis, it is a hard thing to do after all, and while I would say my confidence has grown massively since I was a shy girl at 14 in secondary school, I would argue that self-belief has taken a downfall. Not only does this doubt lead to procrastination and writers block when it comes to this blog (something which makes me feel regrettably guilty, as I know I am only hindering myself) it leaves me with the uncertainty that I will be able to move to London solo and live life without being crippled by anxious thoughts. I am constantly plagued by thoughts that something will go wrong, that my health is at risk, that I am dying, it is almost amazing how your own mind can trick you into seeing symptoms that would make it appear that you are going blind, purely because you are worrying about such.
I am my own worst enemy and I know that, I worry about the worry and it is a vicious cycle, if I am not anxious about my future career, I am anxious about saving for University, if I am not nervous about that, I am irrationally worrying about my health and if any of those does not persist, a lingering sense of doom can creep up suddenly and engulf my body into a twisting sense of fear. I am aware that the mind is a very powerful thing, but once you are set in a mindset, especially one as toxic as anxiety, it is not as simple to rectify as telling yourself to STOP WORRYING (although, people are not for want of trying) countless times I have told myself to think rationally about the things I worry about and, I do but that never distinguishes these anxious thoughts and the ever prevalent doubt of whether I will be able to achieve my aims in life and live independently outside of the 'safe' comfort of home, how will I stay sane? (Another anxious thought, possibly the most disturbing - the feeling of impending insanity, similar to the lingering doom). That particular anxiety is strikingly scary as admittedly, I would not describe myself as someone who would feel homesick, as ever since I was a child I just KNEW I would not inhabit the same city I was born in when I grew up, I have always wanted, well, to escape. I LOVE the idea of adventure, I am a dreamer after all and I guess that goes hand and hand in harmony with my aspirations, so how is it possible that I feel both excited and terrified by the idea of moving away at the same time? My anxiety and all it entails is a walking contradiction, one that I hope will someday cease to exist but for now? I breathe and remind myself that it is okay not to know everything and it is normal to be scared of the future - just to relax, or try to at least, and look forward to the future with hope and not with an obsessive worrying outlook that excludes you from the present, just BE. If I have one wish for 2016, it is to be free from the trapping mindset of anxiety.