Anxiety: Fighting a fictional foe

Last night my cat was stalking a spot on a white wall. There was nothing there, but in his imagining it was worthy of his notice and all his energy. He sat there for a long time intent on fighting his fictional foe. I will be honest, it was highly amusing.

This is not my photo, but the picture is perfect

This did however lead me to wonder if humans are often like that too. What things do we notice which really mean nothing at all? What things do we fixate on, which are entirely imagined? I’m sure there are many and for the anxious mind there are many more.

In my own journey with anxiety I can identify with my crazy cat, I know what it’s like to be consumed with something that’s not there. Although in my case, I would be staring at an invisible spot on the wall which would suddenly multiply to a hundred invisible spots and I would want to chase them all.

In my worst moments, I honestly did believe every thought that came into my mind. It was like handing myself a hundred negative prophesies all at once and believing they were true, instead of something to be tested.

I have learnt a lot since being in my twenties and I’m glad to say that I don’t do this any more. I have moments, but I am more aware when it’s happening and can catch myself before I spend days staring at or giving my attention to something that isn’t real.

What has helped me? Many, many things: quotes, specific bible verses, books, songs, discussions with wise people, seeing a psychologist, medication, improving my gut health and more.

Allow me to give you a few questions to ask yourself before you sit staring at your negative thoughts.

  • Should I put energy into chasing this thought?
  • Is this real or a self-made negative prophecy?
  • Is this helpful?

And my favourite mantra for stopping my anxious imaginings:

Thoughts are not facts

If you are struggling by fixating on unhelpful and negative thoughts or dreamed up catastrophes, let me encourage you to remember this story of my cat. If you can let go of even one fictional foe this week, I will give you a standing ovation.

Love Jess xxoo



Dear Anxious Heart

Dear Anxious Heart,

I speak peace over you right now
Peace over the fears and thoughts that keep you up at night
Peace over the worries that weigh your heart down.

I speak peace over you right now
Peace over your body and your breathing
Peace over tension in your shoulders and the tightness in your chest.

I speak peace over you right now
I have known the bondage of anxiety
And I know the sweet freedom of peace
So, I will speak it over you just as it was released over me.

I know that your mind is crowded with thoughts right now and you want to chase them all down, but we both know that it’s not possible because you can’t hold onto them long enough. Take a breath and sit with me in this moment, sit with me and bring your uncomfortable feelings; I am not afraid of them, you are safe here. I will not tell you to ‘get over it’ or ‘just stop thinking about it’ and I’ll mentally punch anyone in the head who says those words to you 😉 I understand that it’s not that easy – I’ve got you.

I don’t know your situation, but I will tell you what I know… I know that it’s possible to break out of this mental prison. It’s possible to come out the other side (it really is), however I also know it’s hard for you to believe that right now. I have personally worked for years on my thoughts, fight/flight reactions, breaking down lies and perfectionism while failing, trying again, failing, trying again and again. It is hard work, but it can be done. Maybe I will write more about this one day (ok I will, just for you), but for today, you need to be seen in this moment and told that you can and will survive this. Go read the beginning bit again, change is coming your way. Sit with it today. Sit with it. We’ll talk more later ok?

Love Jess xxoo