Recently I got into a conversation about anxiety and art therapy. When I say art therapy, I’m talking mostly about adult colouring books, or creative books that try and help the owner of it reach a state of mindfulness.

I know for a fact I’m not alone when I say: art therapy makes me even more anxious.

It’s been well over a year since I’ve even attempted anything like art therapy, and I’ve decided it isn’t for me. Maybe later in life when I feel more comfortable and when I have the time to concentrate on being in the moment through art or colouring.

Time is what matters here in terms of my own anxiety. When I’m sat there colouring, or trying to be mindful, the passing of time causes me to shake and become even more anxious. Mindfulness and meditation are about being self-aware, in the moment, and still. I cannot be still, because I’ll get anxious about wasted time. Art therapy, therefore, has the opposite effect on me.

For a while, and in a lot of my blog posts, I have pointed out that I have a fascination with time: the way time works, the meaning of it, the relationship it has with anxiety…but in the past few days I have had some kind of revelation: I have time anxiety.

I didn’t know if ‘time anxiety’ was a thing, but I figured that because it plays such a huge role in my anxiety as a whole, then it must be a thing. That’s how I came across an article, aptly named Time Anxiety. It has explained to me what I already suspected, and confirmed that I was right to suspect it. Time anxiety is most definitely a thing and I 100% have it. I get it every single day, and it isn’t helped by my bad memory (made worse by time anxiety). So again there’s a vicious cycle occurring.

I’m hyper-aware of every second of everyday. An hour is nothing, and it has got to the point where the day goes so fast. I can plan to do multiple things, and on a good day I can do a lot of them, but on a bad day it feels like no matter how many hours there are, I’m stuck, walking through thick mud, trying to do the things I need to do, trying to spend my time well, but I’m working too slow and time is going too fast.

Sometimes, my memory and concentration is so bad that I can’t concentrate long enough to even begin a task. And I’m tired, I’m so tired. And I recently learnt that lack of sleep affects memory. So yeah, my memory is pretty bad at the moment. I’m talking extremely short-term, seconds.

Recently I was in my shorthand lesson, and I kid you not, I couldn’t retain words for more than a few seconds. I missed sentences, I lacked concentration. All day, my mind was blocked and I couldn’t think, and time was torturing me, making me more anxious, making my memory even worse. So I hope that my memory will get better, my mind will be clearer and time will be kinder. But I feel like it’s all up to chance. Like if I’m having a ‘bad memory day’ or a ‘bad anxiety day’ then there’s no escaping it. A wasted day. More wasted time.

But that's the lesson of life, some days will be better than others, and although we do retain a level of control over how we spend our day, there are other factors (such as mental health and memory) that can take away some of this control. We just have to do the best we can. 

Published by Jade Moore