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Old Habits

September 29, 2013

I have attended my first festival. Not my first festival ever, no no – my first festival ‘Post Apocalypse’. I had a little pharmaceutical assistance (and when I say little, I mean tiny dosage, prescribed by my GP) but nevertheless I managed the crowds, the noise, the chaos. I managed to stay calm, grounded and almost really enjoyed myself (the antidepressants, unfortunately, dull everything down which prevents the full experience of fun. Yeah it’s shit but a small price to pay to keep the blackness at bay). I was petrified weeks before the event, anxious at the thought of the crowds and hustling movement from one end of the city street to the other. The event is held annually right in the centre of the city smoke. Four streets are cordoned off and the bars and clubs, along with outdoor spaces become a feast of dance, music, stage acts and drinking, lots and lots of drinking. I don’t drink but I can inhale the fumes and imagine the fun. I am a world away from where I was just four short months ago. There were times back then that I became so overwhelmed by anxiety that I would freeze in the middle of the street. Crowds especially would have this freezing affect so it is of no surprise that this festival was to be a big event for me. It turns out…. I needn’t have worried.

Anxiety is, like any other human behaviour, a habit. I was so used to feeling anxious that it became almost normal. When I took the prescribed medication on the first day of the festival, the effect wasn’t dramatic, just very, very subtle. I walked amongst crowds of people and felt no palpitations, no rushes of heat, no tightness in my chest or shortness of my breath. I felt calm. I stood, at one point, right in the middle of a car park full of thousands of festival goers (the car park had been transformed into an arena with a stage) just breathing in the buzz of my surroundings and completely mesmerised by the absence of ‘buzzyness’ inside of me. I walked amongst the market stalls that lined one of the streets, bustling my way through the sea of people – grinning mindfully. I was free from anxiety for the first time in a very, very long time and here’s the thing – the next day the same happened but I did not take my pill. What I believe happened here was simple – the medication had reminded my body what it felt like to be calm. The neural pathways in my brain that used to flourish with peace had again been awakened and the old pathways that had been enthused with anxiety finally were given the opportunity to lessen in intensity. I thank them for responding.

Old habits die hard – but they do die.

What’s your old habit and how can you kill it?

Until Next Time and with Much Love,


Matt xx

  1. They do die, Matt, especially when we choose and will them to. Mine: impatience, with a host of people and situations. It’s a habit that I will work on, seemingly forever. I am making progress. 🙂 Bravo on enjoying the festival!

    • Hey Eric!

      Impatience…. oh I know it well 😉

      Thank you for your comment and feedback, much appreciated. I hope all is well with you…

      Matt 🙂

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