I’m Worried That I Worry Too Much…

I have a tendency to be quite an anxious person.

I think it’s impossible not to experience some form of anxiety in our interconnected modern world world.

Advances in technology have meant that we are exposed to more electronic stimuli than ever before (eg. emails, online news articles and social media notifications) and it is difficult for our brains to process all this information without becoming overwhelmed.

Humans have highly active imaginations.

On one hand, this is great because it enables us to think creatively, visualise solutions to problems and progress as a species.

Unfortunately, my imagination doesn’t seem to want produce ground-breaking scientific discoveries or beautiful works of art and instead spends a significant amount of its time blowing tiny insignificant things out vastly of proportion.

img_0445

In the past, I have tried to retrain my brain to think in a healthier, more positive way.

However, I have found that forcing myself to believe that things are fine doesn’t give me space to fully acknowledge and process any negative emotions that I may be experiencing.

iceburg-2.pngAs a result, I usually end up desperately trying to maintain a serene and dignified outer image, despite the fact that I am feeling distinctly less fine that I was previously.

img_0461

All in all, the best way to deal with anxiety is to take time to understand how it works what triggers it so that it is easier to live alongside it as opposed to pretending that it isn’t there.

It is also important to surround yourself with people who can provide you with emotional support and, more importantly, a ready supply of comfort food.

img_0459

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook,

I Think I Might Be A Modern Day Ebenezer Scrooge…

A Christmas Carol is one of my favourite festive stories, mostly because I feel a certain connection with the central character.

Although I do not identify with Scrooge’s attitude and general approach to life, on some level, I do relate to his experience in the novel.

Like Scrooge, I frequently find myself awake in the early hours of the morning.

However, unlike Scrooge, the voices that wake me up are not those of supernatural beings sent to teach me a lesson about the joy of Christmas and the fundamental meaning of life.  Instead, they are anxieties that originate from my own brain, piping up for no discernible reason whatsoever.

So, this Christmas, I have reimagined Dicken’s iconic spirits so that they represent some of the anxieties that often haunt me in the early hours – after all, there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than using classic Christmas tales to analyse your own mental health!

img_0384img_0385img_0382

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. For more blog posts and drawings, you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If the World’s a Stage Then I Am That Kid in the Nativity Play Who Forgets Their Lines and Never Quite Recovers From the Trauma.

As babies, we do not have many expectations of ourselves or others.

For the most part, we operate outside of social convention under the direct influence of our basic needs and emotions.

However, as we mature into adulthood, behaving in this way becomes increasingly unacceptable.

For example, as adults we are expected to eat in a dignified manner.

img_1060img_1060

We are expected to exert control over our bodily functions.

img_1029-copyimg_1030-copy

We are expected to read age appropriate literature.

img_1058img_1056

We are expected to rely on ourselves as opposed to our parents.

img_1072img_1074

In order to retain our place in the bubble of social acceptance, between infancy and adulthood, we are taught to act.

We learn behavioural mechanisms which allow us to cope with certain social situations in a suitable way.

With enough practice, performing in a socially acceptable manner becomes habitual.

I encountered the first true test of my performance skills on my first day of primary school.

I knew that I was supposed to be interacting with the other children but my ability to do so was impaired by the fact that there were lots of people that I didn’t know.

This was overwhelming and then totally paralysing to my four year old brain.

img_1068

My reluctance to speak was troubling for my teachers, although I am unsure if this was due to the fact that it affected my ability to participate in their lessons or because I regularly looked like one of those kids from The Shining.

img_1070

After the shock of my first day, my stage fright extended for several months into the academic year.

Eventually, I did develop the ability to say words.

However, I soon discovered that saying words when you are in group of people often results in you becoming the centre of attention.

For me, being the centre of attention was a lot like being the centre of the Earth in that it made me feel under a massive amount of pressure and my cheeks had a tendency to become very hot.

As a result, I tried to divert any form social attention away from me.

img_1040-copy

As a child, your understanding of the wider world is limited and it therefore easy to operate under the misconception that you are the most important thing in existence.

As a four year old, I believed that I was the centre of the universe.

On top of this, not interacting with people left a lot of space in my brain for thinking about other people interacting.

This manifested itself in an unhealthy tendency to assume that when people were talking without me, they were talking about me.

img_1045-copy

In fact, it is much more likely that they were talking about something infinitely more interesting.

img_1047-copy

My uncomfortable relationship with social interaction extended outside of the educational environment.

When I was 10, my mum decided that I was old enough to order my own ice creams.

This was a distressing development because I liked ice creams and was now required to interact with a human that I didn’t know in order to obtain one.

I cannot remember exactly what the lady at the ice cream stand looked like when I first ordered an ice cream but I’m pretty sure she was over sixty years of age, had soft white hair that looked like a small cloud floating on top of her head and was wearing woollen top with an image of a cat embodied into it.

I was terrified of her.

I was fully aware of the fact that, at that specific point in time, the lady’s primary purpose was to sell ice cream whilst providing me with a satisfactory customer experience.

However, a part of me still assumed that she would be shocked and outraged if I asked for one.

img_1020img_1025

As a teenager, I didn’t like the taste of coffee very much and was therefore excited to discover that you could overwhelm its natural bitterness with the sickening sweetness of artificial flavouring by buying a caramel latte at Starbucks.

I was less excited about the fact that I would have to order it.

However, repeated exposure to the source of fear can be an effective technique in reducing many anxieties and, by this point in my social development, I had developed a sufficient amount of self-awareness to realise that my initial feelings of stress and anxiety were often due to the fact that I had imagined an intimidating social situation in my head.

I knew that the best way to address these feelings was to face them head on and to immerse myself in the social situation before I had the chance to overthink it.

img_1035-copy

I practiced my lines for a few minutes, saying the words ‘one medium caramel latte please’ to myself over and over again, before heading into the shop.

img_1076img_1039-copy

untitledgbjg

I am gradually learning that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that most of the time people aren’t actually that bothered about the things that I do.

If I have an awkward social interaction with someone, the likelihood is that they won’t lay in bed that night thinking about how strange and weird I was and are instead much more likely to be thinking about how strange and weird they perceive themselves to be.

I actually like socialising now, although I am unsure if I am enjoying the experience of connecting and communicating with people or the rush of triumph I experience after performing a successful interaction.

img_1049img_1054

img_1050