As I’m sat watching the England v Columbia game, I’m stuck by something that I’ve never considered before. There’s a part of me that thrives off my anxiety.
I’m not the biggest of football fans, my husband & daughters support Sheffield Wednesday & go to the occasional match. I like to go for the drama & atmosphere. The last time I went to watch the Owls, was Wednesday v Hartlepool the playoffs in 2005 at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff & what a game, we won.
We also took our girls to see Team GB in the Olympics in 2012, which was incredible. So I love the drama, the event, the build up & atmosphere far more than the game or match.
And the kids often have the latest shirts like when we were kicked out 2 years ago in the Euro’s.
Although I missed it through illness my husband & daughter went to see England at Wembley in 2016 for Breast Cancer (hence the crazy pink outfit).
So although it’s a big part of my husband & girls lives, it’s not a big part of mine. My point is I’m learning that I thrive sitting on the edge of my seat. I’ve jumped up & shouted at the TV more times watching this match than anyone else in our household & even though it will make no difference to my life, I’m desperate for England to win. I’m anxious, can’t sit still, I’m pacing & in this heat as well I’m sweating. All my usual signs of am anxiety attack & I’m not only self inflicting it, I’m somehow building the momentum & enjoying it. I could walk away, I could come down at the end to see who won, but I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying the ups and downs of the game, as I do with my life.
It made me think of the rollercoasters in April when we went to Florida. The fear, the anticipation & then the enjoyment. It was all part of me & I’ve got to learn to embrace it.
I think the problem with my particular anxiety is the rate at which it swings, but also it’s power over me to achieve. My anxiety drives me, sometimes not on the day, or in the way I want or need, but still it’s the thing that makes me be, makes me do & makes me aspire. There is no easy balance. It often is all or nothing, however hard I try.
In no way am I comparing my life to that of the England players, but how anxious, nervous & terrified must they have been & yet the only way they can truly achieve them dream is by being there & trying.
So as pressure has been taken away from me, support increased & had less responsibilities my hours I’ve actually become motivated & increased my own need for achieving in my private life! If I’m not completing a half marathon, deerstalker, being interviewed or arranging events, being nominated in Awards, etc. I’m failing.
If I’m not over-achieving, being praised & exceeding expectations, however bad that is for my mental health, then I’m also unhappy. I really don’t know what the answer is. I think I have to find a way of channeling the ambition with the right support, flexibly working those bad nights where I sit up til 4am working & then sleep all day, which fits into my varying condition & anxiety. All the things I can’t do, then in that moment, I just do & do more!
And just in that minute where I breathe & think I’ve done it, I’ve achieved it… and boom… Just like that Columbia score & the pressure after all the hard work flattens me. I’m exhausted, but need to keep going. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but perhaps the pressure is what I live for. Routine is maybe what people think I need, but until I have the tools to use it I need flexibility, I need risk, I need challenge & fear. I need to fail & get back up fighting & each time I’ll go further than I have before. I will make an impact & I will succeed. I just don’t want to let anyone down while I’m doing it.
My health is my priority, but it’s just as important to me to be be actually achieving something to make my girls proud. Being their female role model I don’t want to let them down.
You can use your condition, whatever it is, where you can to your advantage! Yes I’m over sensitive with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but it also means I have a huge overpouring of empathy, I’m driven & ambitious. So rather than focus on symptoms, I want to draw on the strengths.
And then, one day you’ll get what you deserve, the hard work will pay off and you’ll achieve something you’ve never done before. You’ll make history! Just like England did. The first ever time England have ever, EVER, won a penalty shootout in the World Cup. You can be more than your anxiety & you can use it! I’ve no idea what my future holds but I know I want to help others & do it in a way that’s never been done before!
Ps would usually prefer more than a few days though before the next match!