Category Archives: Emotions

Early sobriety and embracing anxiety

I am 36 days in to my sobriety. And I am fucking struggling. Not with my abstinence. I don’t want to drink. I am struggling with my emotions. In particular, my anxiety.

Quite frankly, I am not coping. I hate admitting that to myself, let alone writing it on here, admitting it to you. I feel frustrated, angry, resentful even, that I can’t cope when others seem to take things in their stride.

The worst part is that I wasn’t expecting this. I’ve challenged myself to temporary sobriety in the past and I found it relatively easy. No big deal. So when, on Thursday 14th July, I made the decision to be sober for life, I thought it would be the same.

Yet here I am, surprised by the constant anxiety I’m experiencing. It is wearing me down. I am exhausted. Every single day, every minute of the day, I am anxious.

I wake up anxious.
I am anxious about having enough time to eat mindfully.
I am anxious about making the train to work on time.
I am anxious about reaching my desk for 9am on the dot.
I am anxious about what I’ll eat.
About what I shouldn’t eat (I also have huge food issues. Also exhausting).
I am anxious about doing a good job at work.
I am anxious about not forgetting to do something at work.
I am anxious about getting told off for forgetting to do something at work.
I am anxious about not being an asshole.
About upsetting someone.
About being assertive (massive struggles here).
About knowing what to say.
How to be.
I am anxious about sitting next to someone on the train on the way home.
I am anxious about asking someone to take their bag off the empty seat on the packed train so I can sit down.
I am anxious about them putting the armrest down between our seats because I don’t like it but feel too awkward to say anything (I hate conflict).
I am anxious about going to sleep on time.
I am anxious about getting enough sleep.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night so anxious, that I’m holding my breath.

I am anxious the whole fucking time. Is that coming across at all?

ride the tempestuous waves of anxiety

And it’s doubly surprising as, over the last three years, I’ve not drunk that much, nor that regularly. And I didn’t feel anxious then. So what’s this all about?

I believe it’s because I’m slowly, but surely, peeling away the layers of pain. Hurt. Grief. Worry. Stress. Addictions. Childhood trauma. As each layer comes off, a new issue, trauma, feeling is uncovered. And I have uncovered anxiety.

“There’s no way around grief and loss: you can dodge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out the other side. The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.”
Johnny Cash

My old pattern would be to numb. And I confess, I am numbing, albeit to a lesser degree than previously. I’ve started smoking again, as for me, it holds less power than my alcohol, food, drama, or people addictions.

According to Johnny Cash, there is no way around grief and loss, you have to go into it and through it.  I believe the same is true for all emotions, including anxiety. Buddhists advocate leaning into our emotions. To be fully present with them. To really experience them.  What you resist persists.

That is my challenge.

My old self doesn’t WANT to feel this. But the new me tells me to submerge myself in the murky waters. To ride this tempestuous wave. And I will come out the other end stronger. Healed. It may take a while and I need to accept that. But eventually, when I’ve healed from what I need to heal from, this too shall pass.

And so my anxiety is a gift. It is a door to something beautiful. It will allow me to access the next layer, whatever that might be. Eventually I’ll have stripped away all my layers and I will come back to me. To my core. My inner self. My glorious wonderful self. Where she will have been waiting for me all along.

Onwards, and upwards, and inwards. I will keep fighting, looking my anxiety straight in the eye. In the name of my recovery.

Fit to burst. Dealing with your overwhelmingly positive feelings

Do you sometimes feel like you’re about to burst? From happiness, joy, love? Any form of overwhelming positive feeling? Do you find yourself confused, perplexed even? What should you be doing about it? Should you be doing something about it?

My answer is hell yes!

I sometimes wake up feeling ON TOP of the world. Other times I have so much love within myself that I can barely contain myself! And other times I feel like I can take on the world, g*ddammit! I feel so positive it hurts. What do I do about it? Well, read on to find out.

These are my top tips for how to deal with your happy, bouncy, vibrant emotions:

  1. Accept it
    Acceptance is a big part of a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. Accept that you’re feeling great. I don’t want to hear any “oh, but I’m not good enough” or “I’m not worthy”. You are totally worth it! And you deserve to feel this good. This is a great sign that you’re starting to heal and on the road to recovery. Woo!
  2. Embrace it
    Ride that positive emotional wave, baby! Society teaches us to subdue/manage our emotions but actually I don’t think that’s a very healthy thing to do at all. I’ve suppressed my emotions for
    far too long and it just numbs all feelings in general, be they good or bad. So just sit back and enjoy!
  3. Amplify those positive vibes
    Make the most of your happiness, joy or whatever great feeling that is coursing through your body. Do something kind and loving for yourself to increase those awesome feelings. Have a lovely cup of earl grey tea, go for a walk, read your favourite book, do your happy dance in the living room. Do whatever makes you happy! You can even make a little ritual out of it so that when you next feel this great (or greater!) it will be less of a shock to you and you can accept and embrace the feelings more easily and quickly.
  4. Get creative
    We’re all born creative. It is such a cathartic and wonderful release once you tap into your inner creativity. Don’t worry what others will think – you’re doing this for yourself. Journal, draw,
    paint. You will feel sooo great afterwards, I promise!
  5. Share with your nearest and dearest
    Feeling the love for those in your life? Tell them! Feeling happy because of a great weekend away with your bestie? Tell them! Have you been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Share it,
    girlfriend! Sharing and celebrating is a natural human behaviour. Make the most of when great things are happening.

Give the above a go when you’re next fit to burst and let me know how you get on!

Do you manage your positive vibes another way? I’d love to hear what you do. Leave a comment or drop me a line at livingvibrantpassion@gmail.com.

To living with vibrant passion!

Karrie x

Healing. It’s a bumpy ride. But it’s worth it.

I want to apologise in advance if this post isn’t as upbeat as you might expect. I have had a not-so-great experience and it’s made me feel sick. So much so that I need to post this blog as a form of therapy. And to be true to my journey, documenting the downs and not just the ups. So here goes. Honesty on tap.

Today has been a good day. I was feeling really positive, I think I might even have felt a little self-love for myself. I was even fantasising about this amazing post I was going to write about loving yourself. Then this evening happened. I experienced a panic attack so strong, I burst into deep, loud, gut-wrenching sobs. I spiralled into it within a matter of seconds. I haven’t had one in a long time, I can’t even remember when the last one was, and then here was one right out of the blue. I was totally unprepared.

The trigger? My therapy session. The worst part is that the session had been going so well and it had just ended. Then my therapist made a comment, thinking out loud about what we’d talked about, and it opened a big can of worms. She really hit on something. I felt as though a ghost had walked over my grave. I managed to laugh it off at the time and bury the feelings. That’s what I’m good at after all. That’s how I’ve survived all the sh*t that happened in my childhood.

But as soon as I got home, the panic attack hit at full force and the uncontrollable sobbing started. I contacted my therapist and we spoke over the phone to help calm me down, but I’m still feeling the after-effects. I’m feeling down. Down, down, down, down. I hate myself. I want to cry but don’t want to cry. I feel empty inside. I feel dirty. I feel ashamed. I feel pain.

Yet at the same time, a very small part of me  feels OK with the fact that I feel like I do. And what I’ve realised is that that’s the thing with healing. You know that at the end there is a bright light, you will be free of the pain, hurt, trauma, whatever demons you carry. But to get there you have to feel that pain, that hurt, that trauma. That’s the only way to deal with your issues. Embrace the pain and you will get better.

So I guess I’m writing from a point of acceptance. I accept that I will experience a rollercoaster of emotions. There will be ups and there will most certainly be downs. But that’s OK because once I’ve dealt with the crap, I will be free. Free of the pain, of the hurt. Free to love with open arms. Free to embrace life. Free to live life to its fullest. And that for me is worth it.

Have you been on a rollercoaster journey? What was it like for you? Or are you in the midst of one? Leave a comment below or email me – I’d love for you to share your experience with me.

Karrie x