My 1st run-in with Anxiety

Imagine just for a second, you have become a little nervous, a little bit stressed out, and you are constantly worried about what is going to happen in the future. Or what you think is going to happen.

Your means to an end job is not quite getting you where you wanted to go. The job is coming to an end and you don’t know how long your going to be out of work for. The savings that have dwindled will only last 2-3 months max.

This cycle of working away for long periods is never going to end. If I do get a job at home it will be working 6-7 days a week so I still don’t get enough quality time with ‘my nearest and dearest’. Not only that, I’ll probably still be working weekends in my 50’s and even into my 60’s.

These are the thoughts that I have had on and off for the last 10 years surrounding money. It has brought me anxiety and I have made a conscious effort to reduce my anxiety and if possible, move past it completely.

Being anxious about money has led me to learn about money.

My 1st run-in with anxiety came in 2010 as a 27-year old going from job to job as an Electrical contractor. Up to this point, I was blissfully unaware of anxiety and how much it can affect people’s lives.

It was January 2010 and my contract working on an Oil and Gas Platform (Onshore) was coming to an end. Reading all the negative stories in the press, I was concerned about securing my next contract.

At the time, I was pushing hard to go Offshore to increase my earnings and get some savings as I was almost month to month and didn’t have much money behind me.

My exterior was calm as I tried to take the situation in my stride. Internally was a different story, as the work/money situation was consuming me.

Not only was I over thinking things, I was struggling to catch my breath. As I was working on a Platform I was up and down the flights of stairs throughout the day. This was normally no issue but during this time I was really struggling to breathe as I made my way to the top of the Platform.

As I had Asthma, I just put it down to that and started to use my inhaler more often. This didn’t work so it was time to book an appointment with my local GP.

The Doctor checked me out and my Asthma was perfectly normal. After the breathing checks, he started asking me questions about what was going on in my head. Have I got anything on my mind? And a few other questions I can’t quite remember.

I explained I was thinking about my work situation a lot and he felt I had anxiety. When he explained what anxiety was I agreed and asked what I could do. So he gave me some breathing exercises and told me regular exercise would also help.

Not only was I struggling to breathe, constantly thinking about work and money, I now had anxiety. I was ashamed at the time but there is really nothing to be ashamed of.

My worries were trivial looking back as I only ended up being out of work for 4 weeks. I even got my break Offshore later in the year and we were able to move house.

As I got a few lucky breaks with my career, I have been on some well-paid jobs and have earned good money. My problem was that my expenses soon matched my income. I didn’t know anything about money.

A few years ago my income started to reduce due to the market conditions in the Oil and Gas industry. This meant that my expenses were higher than my income. So my anxiety kicked back in and continued for about 18 months.

At this point I knew I had to do something about it. I had to put a plan together and get my financial act together. I was very much aware that the only person to do something about it was yours truly. Fuck worrying and fuck anxiety.

I haven’t got all the answers when it comes to money, far from it. What I will say is that I am no longer anxious about money or my job.

My plan is to focus on self-education and learn all I can about money so that I can make informed decisions that will help get me my FI or the very least give myself a fighting chance of being comfortable in retirement.

I am fortunate that I am now able to spend less than I earn and invest the difference.

Whether you are struggling at the moment or you are ok with money, either way I would take the time to do a bit of self-education.

This can help you improve your budget skills and help you spend less than you earn. A lot of us in the UK could do with some frugality. If you have spare money it will help you to make investment decisions.

If you have anxiety over money there are many things you can do. Trial and error has led me to a few habits that have really helped me:

  • Meditate – this has definitely helped my stress levels
  • Wim hoff method – a mix of breathing exercises and cold therapy (cold showers are brutal and ice baths are worse but there are many proven health benefits both physically and mentally)
  • Exercise regularly – when I am rolling around on mats (BJJ) or in the gym anxiety doesn’t get anywhere near me
  • Self-education – if I feel like I am making progress and learning I am happy
  • Talk – there is no longer a stigma surrounding mental health any more and more people are able to talk openly about their issues

There are loads of natural remedies but the above are what works for me.

Take care and don’t be getting anxious over money.

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