It's all me, me, me...

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Vivre Sa Vie
London, United Kingdom
Well hello there. My name is Viv (well, it's not really), and, like a lot of people, I'm ever so slightly neurotic... I have panic attacks and anxiety (ranging from mild to pretty intense), on and off. I also have an amazing and quite high-profile job, so I'm choosing to remain anonymous on here. Not because I'm ashamed of the aforementioned neuroses, but because I don't want to be googled and for my colleagues to read bizarre posts about me breathing into a paper bag and popping lorazepam. I've worked for bookshops, mixed arts festivals and charities, and have met (and still meet!) a lot of famous, fetching and fantabulous people for my job. (See, anxiety doesn't need to stop you being AWESOME and doing what you want to do) Here's hoping you'll find some helpful hints and tips on here which will help you tackle the evil panic heebiejeebs... PS. I'm an Australian, but I live in the UK, and have adopted tea-drinking, pubs, Wodehouse, and a Welsh man.
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Friday, 7 December 2012

Wrap up your anxiety and walk away...

Well, the entire global anxiety community can finally lift their ragged nails from between their teeth and heave a sigh of almost-relief - I'm back! 

Sorry for radio silence - have been desperately catching up on work and life after my convalescence, and mainly recovering from the shock of seeing my own gnarly internal organs in Kodachrome technicolour.  My surgeon insisted on proudly showing me evidence of how he managed to laboriously pick my diseased gallbladder off my liver. 'See the swelling and adhesions here? All terribly sticky and difficult. Here's where I cauterized the liver to stop the bleeding after I pulled the gallbladder off'' (me, inwardly, raging:  'WHAAAT? You seared my f-ing liver you f-ing maniac?! Is one of my internal organs now medium rare?') Outwardly, eyes wide and ingenue-ish: 'Hmmm, fascinating, how intriguing to see the mark it makes!''

And it kept on coming. 'And here's me avoiding the artery there' (inwardly: 'WHAAAAT?! There was an f-ing artery nearby?  You want me to congratulate you for missing it, Sweeney Todd?') Outwardly: 'Marvellous, just thrilling, gosh, thanks, how skilled you must be!' etc etc ad infinitum. Surgeons, note, anxious patients do not relish hearing or seeing such lurid details of their near-deaths and battered remains. Patients, note, no-one should have to see their own liver. You may have to book a 6-week course of counselling to get over seeing INSIDE your own skin, so poke your eyes out before a surgeon ever offers to show you a photo. 

Anyway, onwards and upwards my friends.

Today I went to my lunchtime meditation, and - double-whammy of joy, not only was my old friend Barry White on the desk (sadly not leading the meditation) but I also think I'm vaguely getting the hang of it again. 

There's a long, tree-lined driveway leading up to the meditation centre, and we were instructed to visualise leaving all our worries, fears and plaguing thoughts in little parcels under the trees before we came in, and we could pick them back up when we left.  For some reason this really cracked me up - I imagined parcelling up all these weird little phobias and obsessions in shiny paper, labelling them, and placing them under the trees like presents, saying 'aah, Fear of Death and Disease! This one's a good one, worked quite hard on this on, very proud of the size of this one', and 'ah! My old friend You Have No Friends! I weaved you so big; you're truly magnificent!' and 'Big Box Of Vague Dread About The Future! It hurts to leave you here when we've had so many wonderful nights together!'

We were then told to try to keep our mind with our body, and not let it run off back to the parcels under the trees. And for some reason this really clicked with me. The mind is not tethered to the body, and that's an incredible, miraculous, astonishing thing - our imagination can take us anywhere in the universe. But this is really not bloody helpful if your imagination is morbid and anxious, and takes you to nightmare-ish places you don't want to go, and ends up driving you slightly round the twist.  

So I loved the idea of keeping the two together, for a while, like a couple of old lovers on a bench. For some reason I immediately visualised my mind like a red balloon tied to an old bike  (slightly odd that I visualise my body as a bike...). And it just felt really...restful, and right to finally have the two together - like when Harry and Sally finally got together for good.

And, as cheesy as it sounds, as I walked back down the wooded drive and looked at all my virtual packages of worries and dreads and neuroses and fears and prepared to collect them, I suddenly thought - 'What if I just leave them here? What if I just walk out and leave them right here?' And I strode down the drive toward my life, the sun beating down on me, and I felt light and weirdly free, and (seriously, it was like a film) a tear actually rolled down my cheek.

So, awesome readers, I think you should go for a walk somewhere wooded and hippy-ish, and put all your discrete bundles of worry and fear and anxiety and dread under the trees there. Look at them, think about how much you sat on them and brooded on them and nurtured them. Be proud of the baby horrors you've created! Think of all of them, sitting there, all knobbly and covered in bows - and just walk away.



Nat said...

woohoo Viv's back!! I must try meditation more often myself x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Hey Nat - do it! It definitely takes practice, and if I stop going I find it harder for a few weeks before I get back into it, so definitely don't expect immediate miracles, but the good sessions make all the other ones (where you sit there going 'this is shit, bloody hippies, I can't do it') worth it!

Sheryn said...

Good to hear you are in such good spirits.I sooo need to meditate. Thanks for your helpful advice.xx

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