This post has been sat in my drafts for ages, since I bought my mala beads with my anxiety in mind in fact. I have meant to sit with them and charge them; repeat my mantra with them while I’m in a good place, fill them with good vibes and strength. I haven’t. Life has got in the way.
However, last night, despite my not having put any energy directly into them, they proved what an invaluable purchase they were for me.
Last night I felt anxious. Only mildly to start with; I wound myself up by over-thinking whether I should I go to bowling or not. At the time I felt OK but didn’t fancy it. Then it began to escalate, as it got closer to the time we leave I realised my anxiety was worsening so I decided not to go. I hope it would end there. It didn’t.
I took TiLi outside to practice weaving and play with her ball. A distraction. Then I headed upstairs to my room. All was relatively normal. I tweeted, I watched YouTube videos, and then the anxiety started building again. Where it came from is beyond me. At first the fear and sadness came in waves; tears for a minute or two, then calm again.
I rearranged my altar. I put a multicoloured cloth on it, changed the white & green candles for pink, and whacked my pink fairy lights on. Distraction. Self-soothing.
It didn’t work. It quickly escalated to a full blown crisis. Floods of tears came, and came, and came. I cried because I felt nothing, and then everything. I cried because I was in so much emotional pain, it was too much to bear. I cried because I desperately wanted to self-harm, but I didn’t want to want to. I cried because I wanted it to be over, to stop feeling, to start feeling, to not be ill anymore, for someone, anyone, to just make it stop.
The support came in from Twitter, as it always does. Thank you to those who saw and reached out. I printed a colouring page to try. I clicked links sent by friends to sites offering distraction techniques. And then, in a moment of sanity, I remembered those Mala beads. I remembered that I had promised myself I would try them.
I grabbed them from my Buddha, left some music running, and sat on my bed running my fingers over the beads, one by one, my mantra running through my head over and over again.
Smile, breathe and go slowly
I cried. A lot. Hard. I fought like hell not to self-harm. I tore at my hair, I stood up and walked around my room, crying.
And then I lay on my bed crying, cuddling my toy rabbit, and whispering my mantra, running those beads through my fingers, one at a time.
Smile, breathe and go slowly
And it began to ease. And I stopped crying. And I held myself, I lay with myself and I knew I had made it. I had made it through, and there was a happy ending.
My anxiety was beaten back.
While I’m not sure what caused it; delayed reaction to the accident, anxiety around what people would think at my choice not to go bowling, or just the fact that I’m mentally ill, I am really proud that I got through it.
Have you used mala beads or mantras, or both, to manage your anxiety? Will you be trying it in future?