Saturday, 2 July 2016


I try not to blog about anxiety too much, because it's counterproductive to dwell on it - and there's always a chance I'll reactivate it if I make my mind concentrate on it.

But as there aren't many "plus" sides to having been through years of near-terror, I'd better clutch this straw while I can.

Like many, my first reaction to Brexit (especially as an expat) was fear, then anger, then a bit more fear.  Then reluctant acceptance.  Then reignited anger.  Then hope.  Then boredom.  Then a bit more fear.

A week of my life, and your life, has gone by since the vote; and it's been a bumpy ride.  But other than the constant talk on the radio, wry looks from other Brits and a couple of extra arguments, life hasn't really changed.

I realise that it probably will.  At best I'll have to complete even more paperwork; at worst, I may find myself unable to live in the country that I've begun to think of as 'home' (at least sometimes).

We can't be complacent or blinkered when things go wrong.  But at the same time, we have to live the times in between.  From the moment we're born, we're heading towards our own demise - the greatest crisis of all, arguably. And we learn to put that out of our heads and fill the time between with pleasure, love, company, friends as much as we can.

It's the uncertainty most of us can't stand. But the thing is, life itself is uncertainty and the human experience is about living in spite of the questions.  So someone's thrown a little more uncertainty into the mix.  But we need to calm down, and live.

Two years is not a lot in your thirties, but in the lives of my babies it's unimaginable.  And I'm determined not to let any shaky ground make them feel in any way vulnerable.

So learning to manage my anxiety means that I can slow down the panic, I can look at today and think about what pleasures we can have right here, right now.  Address dangers, note concerns, but above all live.

The world seems uncertain.  But then, it always was.  You just forgot about it for a while.


Dolores Doolittle said...

Anxiety can be dire but you seem to have valiant ways of confronting it, Gillian (have taken notes)!

We have fond connections with France after living there for a goodly few years and some of the effects of Brexit are sad and startling - young French families we know, for example, who suddenly feel like foreigners in London after living and working there for six or seven years. And who can tell how things might change for English friends running businesses in France…

As you say, it`s the not-knowing that`s difficult to handle, and a good idea to try and “…calm down, and live”. Wherever we be and however panic-prone...

Gillian Harvey said...

Hi Dolores, horrible to hear that French families are feeling unsettled in London. But I'm sure things will work out for them. I think the whole world just needs a little bit of direction right now... where that's going to come from, who knows?! :O

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