I Think I Might Be A Background Character In My Own Life…

When I was younger, I used to have a very vivid imagination and spent a lot of time immersing myself in fictional worlds.

When I watched films like Lord of the Rings, I always identified with the main protagonists – I thought I’d be brave and courageous like Arogorn or Legolas or loyal and determined like Sam.

I guess I assumed that when a great crisis came along that threatened the entire world, I would grow up to be one of the heroes at the centre of the action, facing the threat head on.

However, as I’ve progressed into adulthood, I’ve come to realise that the person that I perceive myself to be doesn’t always match up with the person who I actually am in reality.

For a while now, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I might actually be one of life’s generic background characters and, if anything, the coronavirus pandemic has served to confirm this.

Nowadays, I’ve drastically lowered my expectations.

If I were a character in Lord of the Rings, I wouldn’t be Frodo or SamWise Gamgee – I reckon I’d be one of the bog-standard Hobbits that sat on my arse in the Shire whilst shit went down, progressively making my way through multiple meals a day with no real idea of what was going on.

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This is a more accurate representation of how I’ve spent my days in this time of national crisis.

Sitting at home with my thoughts is challenging in its own way.

Whilst I may be feeling powerless to change external circumstances, at the beginning of April I decided I could still adopt the mindset of a hero and work on myself so that I would exit lockdown feeling more physically and mentally robust than when I entered it.

My childhood protagonist complex kicked in again and I had visions of myself effortlessly holding my body in strenuous yoga positions like Luke Skywalker in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

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However, if you’ve read my previous blog post, you will know that my attempts transform myself into a zen yogic goddess weren’t particularly successful…

As the days and weeks have melded into one long strange expanse of time, my self-disapline has run off with my sanity, leaving me with a physical and mental state that more closely resemble Jabba the Hutt and that weird crazed rat creature that hangs out with him.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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