Tag: anxiety

Anxiety and happy at the same time – is that possible?

Today’s weird thought is about whether you can be happy and anxious at the same time.

We have just moved house and since we moved here (The Rented House as I fondly call it), I have become gripped with quite sudden physical symptoms of anxiety which has seemingly come out of nowhere. I’ve had this feeling a few times before in my life so it is not too strange in that respect – I recognise the signs: nausea, twisted stomach muscles, lack of appetite, heavy heart and edginess. However, I don’t feel depressed. I feel sad about certain things (moving house and leaving my friends has made me incredibly sad) but I don’t feel depressed. Depression is a debilitating condition and deprives the sufferer of a part of their soul. I see it as a dark, intense fog that overcomes. I haven’t got that, not even remotely. In fact I feel quite happy with my lot at the moment. I don’t want to hide. I don’t want to sleep. I want to be busy, I want to create, I want to draw and paint, and to work. I love work. I live for work. I love to be busy. So my weird thought is: is it possible to be chirpy and optimistic and anxious at the same time?

I’ve googled ‘can you be anxious and happy at the same time’ and google is actually quite unhelpful on the topic. There’s a lot about finding happiness after anxiety, but nothing that specifically talks about having both at the same time.

I found an appropriate quote today though.

What T. S. Eliot had to say about creativity.

What T. S. Eliot had to say about creativity.

As this quote suggests, I often find that worry feeds my creativity. And creativity kerbs the physical symptoms of anxiety while I am being creative. If I’m anxious, I draw. When I draw, I don’t feel so anxious. I feel better.

Google did help in one respect though: you can feel anxiety about happiness. There is such a thing as a fear of happiness. Now, that is bizarre. Who would be scared to be happy? Not me.


Repetition is good, endings are bad, but they have to happen

I now have just two days left to live. By that I mean, just two days left to live in Shrewsbury and the weird thoughts are flowing at the moment.

I am currently obsessed with repetition. I am looking at the philosophical notion of repetition in my artwork for my fine art degree and it spills over into my everyday life. When something happens to me that is related to repetition, I analyse it, consider it, churn it over and write about it.

Today, I have been considering the end of repetitions and how this, in particular, is affecting me.

The repetitions that will end in two days are:

  • Taking the children to their school in this town, something I have been doing for over eight years
  • Waking up in the house and drinking coffee before getting up
  • Going through the daily rounds of breakfast, lunch, dinner, sitting, watching, working, sleeping, reading, playing, bathing, weeing, pooing in this house
  • Cycling to town to have coffee
  • Cycling to Sainsbury’s to have coffee
  • Calling children from downstairs to come and get their breakfast, lunch, dinner and / or shoes on
  • Falling asleep in this bed in this room

These things will be carried out after Monday, just no longer here. I will never, ever again, after Monday, wake up in this bed in this room looking at the fireplace I can see in front of me, listening to the traffic going up and down Monkmoor Road. That repetitious act which I have experienced almost every morning for over eight years will end abruptly on Monday and I can never go back.

What I can see, right in front of me and soon that will be gone.

What I can see, right in front of me and soon that will be gone.

How does that make me feel?

The answer: extremely anxious.

The paradox is, though, that even though non-returnable change makes me feel terribly frightened I would not want to look back on my life from my death bed and see that I haven’t moved, travelled, changed, evolved or experienced during my lifetime. If I was never to move – I’d still be in Stafford right now (or, strictly speaking Upton-upon-Severn but I don’t remember living there). I’d not have experienced the wonders of a Japanese funeral, dressed as Father Christmas for a Japanese pre-school, sampled space cake in Amsterdam (I didn’t inhale though, honestly), worked with the likes of Margaret Drabble and Simon Winchester in Oxford, discovered the beauty of the supply and demand curve in Exeter, sky-dived in South Africa (nah, that one is made up) and met many, many other interesting people along the way.

Me being Father Christmas in Japan.

Me being Father Christmas in Japan.

So, how do I reconcile this anxiety / desire-for-new-adventure dichotomy as I stand on the precipice of change?

The only way is to push through the pain, hold my nose, jump and accept the anxiety and grief, and trust that things will be ok whatever happens to me next. I will develop new repetitious acts: the children still need to go to school, they still need feeding and I will, of course, still need to wake up every day.