I came across this photo series “My Anxious Heart” by Katie Crawford a few years ago and this has sat in draft since then, bookmarked as it resonated with how anxiety can feel for me too sometimes. I used to feel like this after a heavy drinking session and I still get the remnants of it if I am very stressed or there is some kind of perceived crisis.
Her words and images are haunting and you can see them all here:
“numb feeling. how oxymoronic. how fitting. can you actually feel numb? or is it the inability to feel? am i so used to being numb that i’ve equated it to an actual feeling?” (accompanying image)
“depression is when you can’t feel at all. anxiety is when you feel too much. having both is a constant war within your own mind. having both means never winning.” (accompanying image)
Over to The Book of Life again:
Anxiety is our fundamental state for well-founded reasons:
– Because we are intensely vulnerable physical beings, a complicated network of fragile organs all biding their time before eventually letting us down catastrophically at a moment of their own choosing.
– Because we have insufficient information upon which to make most major life decisions: we are steering more or less blind.
– Because we can imagine so much more than we have and live in mobile-driven, mediatised societies where envy and restlessness will be a constant.
– Because we are the descendants of the great worriers of the species, the others having been trampled and torn apart by wild animals, and because we still carry in our bones – into the calm of the suburbs – the terrors of the savannah.
– Because visible objects and locations, oak tables and beaches, can only symbolise calm to our eyes rather than instil it in our psyches.
– Because the progress of our careers and of our finances play themselves out within the tough-minded, competitive, destructive, random workings of an uncontained capitalist engine.
– Because we rely for our self-esteem and sense of comfort on the love of people we cannot control and whose needs and hopes will never align seamlessly with our own.
The single most important move is acceptance. There is no need – on top of everything else – to be anxious that we are anxious. The mood is no sign that our lives have gone wrong, merely that we are alive. We should be more careful when pursuing things we imagine will spare us anxiety. We can pursue them by all means, but for other reasons than fantasies of calm – and with a little less vigour and a little more scepticism.
If you are struggling with anxiety while still drinking or because you’ve stopped know that you are not alone.