Moodscope's blog



Surfing the waves of life. Friday July 24, 2015

I find it really hard to articulate the feelings around my anxiety to my loved ones, which makes it even harder for them to support me as they have no idea how I feel.

I was recently trying to think of an analogy to describe my anxiety in the best way. It is just like surfing. The water is life. When you are on top of the surf board and surfing the waves of life you feel great and you can't ever imagine falling off the surf board. It is like you have never fallen off the surf board and never will; you are on top of the wave having the best time. This is how I feel when I am fine.

When the anxiety starts to approach is when perhaps the board hasn't been waxed well and it's slippery. I keep falling off but the ankle strap pulls me back up and I keep jumping back on the board. For me this is when I need to be conscious that the anxiety is becoming uncontrollable again – there is still time to pull it back in, or wax the board so you can surf the waves of life again.

Then there are those times when I fall completely off the surfboard, and I am deep beneath the waves. The ankle strap has broken and it feels like there is no coming back. It feels like I will never be on the board surfing the waves again.

Little do I know, there is a jet ski with a rescuer on its way – I will surf again, maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow or the next day, but I will.

I find this analogy an accurate way to describe my anxiety and how desolate I can feel on a bad day. The bad days are not eternal – they come and go, even if they feel like they are here forever. So if you have taken a tumble from your board, just remember the jet ski is on its way and tomorrow (or the next day, or the next) you will be surfing like a pro once again.

A Moodscope member.

Permalink  |  Blog Home


Hopeful One Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 7:09am

Hi Dani- a welcome post. We all suffer from a little anxiety and one could argue that this is necessary to 'key' us to deal with an event or happening. It is of course detrimental to us if it becomes excessive or chronic.Notice that this anxiety is often related to some event in the future. Our anxiety is a reaction of some loss we fear we will suffer from this event if we cannot cope with it. In your blog there is no hint of what you fear losing in the future. It will help you if you can identify it as this will open up the possibility of deploying many available strategies to deal with or even overcome this anxiety as you will be better placed to recognise the trigger points.

Sophbrad Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 7:20am

Hi Dani. Great metaphor!
Do you like Star Trek? Here is Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) talking about his anxiety.

Julia Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 9:13am

Hello Dani. My insomnia and related depression stem from anxiety. It's been really bad recently and I think I know why..stressful events looming. However it got so bad these last few days that I seriously thought I might tell my family (not my husband, he knows). But I couldn't. I didn't know where to start after all these years and also when was the right time? I almost did on Wednesday but the moment slipped by. Your description of a surfboard is very apt. I was just going to blurt it out saying..actually , I suffer from depression you know..blah blah blah. But I didn't. Your blog has come at a good time for me Dani.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 10:31am

Hi HO,
What a valid and excellent point you make here - and as simple as it really is and we should know that if we can understand what the 'loss' might be for a future event, we could better deal with the situation. I find that most helpful, thank you. Karen ( :)

Anonymous Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 10:41am

Hi Dani, brilliant blog and great choice of metaphor. It is so hard for us to explain the reasons we are anxious about things - even simple things like upcoming events which should be happy events.

I struggle with future events sometimes because of where they are going to be held. If it's a concert or show/play in say, London, I'm fine booking it but as the event draws nearer, I start wanting to cancel as I get worried about the journey there, the Tube or manic rushing for buses, taxis etc. I actually think I know why I get anxious and have started to control it more...I'm not good at being rushed and my other half has worked in London for years and is used to whizzing about...I need to take it a bit slower, have tickets etc ready, and know which way I'm supposed to be heading: so, before we go, I look up the routes and the Tube map to see where it is I need to get to then chase after the other half but at least I know where to go if I've lost him!!! And sadly, no, he doesn't do 'slower' walking!! Thank you, Karen ( x

Anonymous Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 10:50am

Hi Julia, I'm so sad for you that you are losing so much sleep because of stressful the upcoming events involve your family? Would it be good to have a sit-down chat with the best of the bunch and tell them how it all affects you? See how that goes down with the nicest of them? You know your family better....but just maybe they might be more understanding than you think?...and you never know, some of them might actually be suffering something similar but they don't want to say either. It sometimes depends on which relative it is too and how close you are to them, as to how much you can say, I know. If they aren't so understanding, then we know they aren't worth continuing a close friendship with and the 'problem' will be theirs not yours. Not sure if I'm explaining this very well, but hope you know what I mean. Karen ( x x x

Anonymous Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 1:33pm

Hi Dani, your blog and the comments it has sparked are timely for me. Rocketing anxiety and ruined sleep pattern for all the reasons mentioned by Hopeful One, Julia and Karen -- expected loss, upcoming stressful events, upcoming happy events (the nervous system can't seem to distinguish between excitement and fear). I'm wondering if the dramatically shifting weather here in the UK is adding to the mix, too. In any case, thank you! All the best. susan xx

Julia Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 4:37pm

Hello Karen. Thank you for your caring words. I did think that perhaps someone in my family might be suffering in a similar way to me and that it would be a relief to hear it from me. Actually I may have given the wrong impression about my family. We are all very close but some members don't show it. The love is there! Thank you again karen.

Hopeful One Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 7:32pm

Hi Guys- thank you all for your comments. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and the more recently developed(ing) mindfulness based cognitive behaviour therapy MBCBT) have a good track record for the elevation or treatment of anxiety related disordgers. S uch trained therapists are not easy to come and often have with enormous waiting times not to mention costs at anything thing between 40 to £60 per hour(it could run into thousands at places like the Priory) putting it beyond the means of many ordinary people means that we the sufferers have to devise our own strategies. In theory CBT is easy to follow and there is a chance of becoming one's own ' therapist' the best outcome . At its heart CBT says that an activating event(A) generates a belief, often negative, (B) with consequences for the suffer(C) which needs to be disputed(D) and evaluated(E) resulting in the negative belief being replaced by progressively positive ones. Let us take Karen(10.41 am as an example if you don't mind Karen. The activating event she faces( A) is a visit to London to see a concert or a play. Her belief which is negative overall (B) is that she will not cope( manic rushing, taxis, Tube) the consequence is that she is convinced of this and is thinking of cancelling) so now she needs to set about disputing(d) this . She could say to herself ' although I feel this way it is not always true because I have managed most of it successfully at least occasionally before. So there is a fair chance that if I do more or less as it did before I will be OK. Notice she replaced her previous negative belief with a more positive one . Armed with this knowledge she goest to London and attends the concert / play. To her surprise she actually enjoyed it. When she comes home she takes a piece of paper and drawls a line in the middle and evaluates her experience( E ) On the left she puts down her belief before the event and gives it a mark like say 8 out of ten that she could not cope . On the right side she puts down the outcome which was not that bad so she says it's really more like 4 out of 10. There is now prof before her own eyes that actually she did quite well . She repeats this ever time she is anxious about any event and soon starts to realise that her anxiety was misplaced. Anyone can do it and if one has someone who can help by replacing more of those negative belief with positive ones by pointing out things which Karen might have overlooked the process becomes easier. In practice it is more complicated of course but not incredibly so. Try it Karen and tell us what happened!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 9:53pm

Lovely analogy Dani and very helpful. Thank you.

Jac Fri, Jul 24th 2015 @ 10:53pm

Dani, I resonated to your blog on a number of different levels. I love the water and love to surf, so loved your analogy. I 'came out' recently to my family. They struggled and I think they will try to brush it off but I need to come back to them to try to get through .... They are not used to me having 'weaknesses' and want to reject that thought. But I need that support just as you do too. It's worth working at it. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We just feel things - deeply. Keep going xx

Anonymous Sat, Jul 25th 2015 @ 11:12pm

Great blog, and I'm intrigued about loss and anxiety. My son is crippled with anxiety so I'm building a library of understanding there. Thank you, love from the room above the garage x

danielle Tue, Sep 8th 2015 @ 11:12am

oh guys, i never came back to my post to see all the comments! i am glad the post has helped some of you. i wanted to really highlight how for me, some days when i feel on top of the world it feels like i will never have anxiety again (and i genuinely believe this) and when i have a bad day it feels like i will never have a good day again. very odd. i can recommend CBT as i have had two lots of therapy this way and both have really helped control the anxiety. and it is correct for me that the unknown about the future causes much of my anxiety - or just the unknown in general. i am working on now trying to accept the unknowns rather than want to know them, as we cannot possibly know them all! and also not worrying what others think. much love to you all xx

You must login to leave a comment.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

We exist to help people to positively manage their moods. You can contribute by taking the test, sharing your experience on the blog or contributing funds so we can keep it free for all who need it.

Moodscope® is © Moodscope Ltd 2018. Developed from scales which are © 1988 American Psychological Association. Cannot be reproduced without express written permission of APA.