In my blogging adventures, I have recently had the pleasure of getting to know Busy Bee, a fellow blogger. Here’s an excerpt from her description of herself from her blog: “I’m a corporate escapee (but mainly because I love the term!!) who now works part-time in an office job and has two young kids: Princess Sparkles (4) and Captain Destroyer (2). I have a delightful husband (Mr Busy Bee) and a very dumb dog.”
In reviewing some of her articles, I learned that she and I have some things in common. It seemed our mutual challenges in overcoming anxiety were worth discussing. Busy Bee has been kind enough to allow me to interview her on the topic.
Have you always suffered from anxiety, or was there a period of your life when it seemed to become more of a problem?
I’ve always been a fairly anxious sort of person, but it was when I was working in law that it became more of a problem. A career in law requires a certain degree of perfectionism so that combined with my fear of what I perceived to be failure were a pretty bad combination. I remember driving home from work one day and I was due in court the following day (which always made me anxious) and I had to pull off the road and sit on the side of the road dry retching. I’m sure its glamorous seeing a corporate somebody heaving on the side of the road!
What have you found has helped in handling your anxiety?
I’ve changed my lifestyle (including my career) a lot so I’m not as exposed to high stress situations as I used to be. I certainly still have moments of anxiety, but they tend to be much more short lived, so the career change definitely helped.
I saw a psychologist for a while and she helped with perspective, mainly cognitive behavioural therapy. I’ve also really embraced mindfulness and ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy). These have been a huge help. I’d say life changing.
I think the biggest thing though it that I’ve gotten to know myself and I can see the anxiety when it first starts, so I’m able to catch myself straight away, breathe and adjust my perspective.
What things seem to trigger your anxiety?
If I let myself get too caught up in the magnitude or importance of something, it can spiral pretty quickly. I have to work to keep a helpful perspective.
Is there anything positive you have learned because of your struggle with anxiety?
We’re all human. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be perfect. Apart from the fact that none is perfect, imperfect humans are actually far more lovable and endearing than supposedly perfect people.
As I said before, I’ve gotten to know myself. I’ve learned to be kind to myself.
Please talk a little bit about how your perfectionism feeds your anxiety.
I tend to catastrophise. I’ve always looked at the worst possible outcome if I don’t get something completely perfect. If I don’t manage that my anxiety can creep up on me.
I’ve gotten a lot better at accepting I’m human and we’re all imperfect and that definitely helps.
I read a saying that it’s not a failure if you learn something. It kind of changed my life. Perfection is a perspective. I can choose to see something as not being perfect, or I can see it as me learning and embracing a challenge.
Thank you to Busy Bee for providing honest and helpful answers. Her blog, Busy Bee – Blogging about creating a simpler, more meaningful life and the battle against busy, is thought provoking, as well as entertaining. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did.