Click here to read about the Agora-Poetry series!
Hello everyone! I’m sorry for disappearing on you all of a sudden. I came down a bad case of food poisoning on Wednesday, and my energy levels were essentially zapped for the rest of the week. If you’d like to keep up to date with everything happening outside of my blog, and know what’s happening in the future you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram or like and follow my Facebook page. I should be back to posting regularly now, so without further ado, let’s get into the post!
This was perhaps the biggest turning point for me, and when I saw the biggest difference in my mental health, I saw how much Agora-Poetry had helped me and a huge break-through as to how I could re-frame walking outside to feel less anxious. (If there was ever a post to read in the Agora-Poetry series, it’s this one!).
But how did I arrive at that euphoric state? Let’s work backwards.
My day did not begin as such.
Sometimes, when I wake up, I feel incredibly detached from my surroundings; I can feel my hand reach to pull my duvet off myself, but my brain will not register any touch or movement. It’s as if someone has placed a glass screen between me and the world, and I’m watching my body attempt to interact with the things around me, as I sit behind the counter. That day, my brain felt like a crumpled sheet of origami paper; it was ready to create something beautiful, I knew it was, but each time I attempted to fold it into that wonderful work of art, it uncurled itself, unable to co-operate.
One thing my brain could do though (remember, on days like these, focus on the can’s not the can’t’s) was recall things. As I lay in bed, it brought to the forefront one of my early experiences with Agora-Poetry. That day was terrible. My anxiety had consumed me, body and brain alike. As a result, I watched most of my time go by from the floor, and wallowed in my inability to move, allowing some dark thoughts to creep into my mind. I feared letting myself reach that state again — if not for myself, for the people around me.
And so, I forced my body out of bed and continued with my regular morning routine.
But, by the time the afternoon sun rolled itself into view, my burst of energy had run out. I put my head down on my desk in defeat, unable to neither work nor rest, I simply lay there. That day was particularly pleasant, and so I heard my neighbour’s children outside laughing and playing, as I longed to feel their childhood sensibility, that is, their lack of inhibition, their desire to be outside.
Suddenly, I thought, what if a walk outside could provide me with that sense of freedom I had been longing for? what if a walk could be beneficial? I had never tried thinking about walking that way thus far; the whole point was that it was a challenge, something to overcome. Excited and terrified to test my hypothesis, I ran downstairs to put my shoes on, but hesitated.
Coincidentally, by fate or God’s intervention, my mum actually needed some letters to be posted. Upon seeing I was going out, she handed them to me. My hesitation had been absolved – now walking outside was a commitment I had to follow through with for both myself and my mum.
I felt my body shaking as I crossed the threshold out into my driveway and began walking towards the post-box. Following my therapist’s advice, I had brought my comfort or transition item with me, my headphones.
As I put one foot in front of the other, the familiar words and beats of the music I was listening to was comforting but did not draw my attention away from my anxiety enough for me to re-gain some sense of stability. Each time a person walked past me, I looked down, or crossed the road, or began biting my nails. It was then that I realised, music was not the only thing I had to listen to!
Immediately, I switched over to one of my favourite podcasts (called ‘Adutling‘ on Spotify if you’re interested) and suddenly, the outside world switched off. I was so consumed in the conversation that was going on, walking became automatic, and I was hardly noticing the people walking past me. My anxiety had melted itself away.
It quite literally felt as if the clouds had parted, offering me a ray of insight into my brain that was inaccessible just a few hours ago.
WALKING OUTSIDE COULD BE A FORM OF SELF-CARE! A way to relax my anxiety, to feel the fresh air, the sun, to gain that child-like sense of wonder I had been longing for.
After dropping the mail in the post-box, I kept walking around my local neighbourhood until the podcast was over, something I would never had dreamed of doing before.
Finally, I had learnt to be-friend my anxiety. And so, as I walked home, I imagined it sitting in my bed, a small child, smiling, waiting for me to return.