(Guest Blog by Dan Tandy)
The weather is beautiful. You can hear the sea lapping at the shore. People laugh contentedly in the distance. You take a sip of a refreshing drink. Life doesn’t get much more relaxed, serene and peaceful. Not a worry in the world. BOOM!
‘Hmmm, I’ll bet I’m getting loads of emails in my inbox.’
‘I hope the cats are alright.’
‘I’m really not looking forward to that presentation/meeting/project when I get back. What if I mess it up and look an idiot?’
‘I hope this sand doesn’t get in my trainers’
Most people can switch off the second they go away. The holiday starts when they close their front door.
I close my front door, then check it’s locked, then check again. In fact, it probably takes me longer to leave the house than it does to queue and get through airport security. There’s a mental preparation, months ahead, that must take place for me to endure this change in routine and to be thrust out of my comfort zone to venture forth into this quaint idea of a ‘holiday’ – a concept which people can’t love enough. Everyone I know becomes near inconsolable when they return home after a week or so in a beautiful foreign country. I count the days until I can return home and be at one with my cats, instantly unpack as soon as I enter the hall and begin to vacuum the house, thinking, ‘Ahhhh, it’s great to be home.’ I’m the type of person who embarks on their holiday on the way home.
Take me out of my comfort zone: an armchair and a film/video game and I quickly morph into a twitching, nervous, grumpy, anxious oddball. This isn’t right, right? I’d be terrible at poker. My tell, when anxiety kicks in, is scraping my thumb with my forefinger in quick, repetitive movements. Thinking logically becomes near impossible. Thinking or focusing on anything other than the one or a million sources of my worries is a million miles away.
Having researched, I believe ‘Generalised Anxiety Disorder’ symptoms are that which I exhibit. It’s defined as, ‘Excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about events or activities. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, and sufferers are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties. Symptoms may include excessive worry, restlessness, trouble sleeping, feeling tired, irritability, sweating, and trembling.’
The cinema and public speaking can be a huge trigger for me. As regards the former, if I didn’t have such a passion for films, I’d never go. The inconsiderate behaviours of other people, which of course will irritate most, take on a new level of torment for me, to the point where my hands are shaking and the adrenaline is flowing faster than prosecco at a hen do. As for the latter – I may appear to be under control, but my nerves are about as calm and controlled as a 10-year-old being presented with a fully-functioning Iron Man flying suit of armour.
But… what if it’s not just me who experiences such things? What if millions of my fellow humans also do? The fact of the matter is, of course, they do. And to infinitely higher degrees of severity.
I’ve learned that there are methods to help, which I will need to pursue and that, and this is so hugely important, if anything is bothering you and you don’t talk to someone, no matter what it may be, it can expand in your head and consume you. Letting it out and speaking, the sense of relief is incomparably palpable.
I wouldn’t have aired any of this were it not for the courage of Dave being so honest and forthcoming in his struggles and I only do so to promote the messages Dave is getting across so wonderfully and to assure people that there is so much help available.
Best wishes to you all and, y’know, enjoy your holidays!