The Emperors New Clothes, a symbol of overcoming Anxiety

I’m not an emperor.  I don’t think of myself as an emperor. OK!

It’s a great title for a blog about smashing anxiety though.

This is a blog about me, lets make that clear from the beginning. About me. I do try to make my writing a resource for others, but this is about me. 100%!

I like frock coats. I’ve always liked frock coats. Probably since watching Robin Ellis playing Ross Poldark as I grew up as a child.  I loved reading the books too, they were a private escape.

I wore a frock coat to my sister’s wedding though and I also wore one to mine.

However, as much as I liked the coats, there was no way I would have worn one on a day to day basis.  I was always far too worried about what anyone would say, or think, and I was a rocker.  I didn’t want to stand out, so I wore black. I had a shade of black for every occasion.

As I have mentioned before though I met an amazing lady called Jackie who does EFT (emotional freedom techniques) and she told me to ‘shine brightly’. I took first steps out of the black, with the guiding hand of my wife Gillian and a Joe Bloggs catalogue. Flowery waistcoats and colourful jackets with blue jeans became the order of the day. Even a Harris Tweed jacket, which I love.

A whole new wardrobe was emerging; however, the timing was right. My wife had tried to drag me out of my black gear before, but I wasn’t ready, and she executed a tactful retreat.  Now though the timing was right and not only did I put these clothes on; I owned them. They were me. I loved them and I also loved the compliments I was now getting.  That took a while. As a nation we tend to play down compliments. ‘Oh, it’s just something I dragged out of the drawer’.

I was learning to accept compliments gracefully. ‘Thank you!’

I read somewhere recently, or might have seen in a video on tictok, the highest vibration, and life’s all about vibrations, we can emit, is authenticity. These clothes were becoming me, they were me. Authentically me!

It was at this time I was discovering that much of my life had been dominated by anxiety and the effects of leaving a trail of alcohol fuelled destruction behind me. Having stopped drinking and beginning to realise a lot about my anxiety, I was also starting to feel really good about myself.

I should also put in a massive vote of thanks to my wife at this point, because she could see something in me that I couldn’t, and stuck in through some rough times. Watching her relax was one of my favourite pay offs for getting my stuff together.

Through some well-meaning advice and decisions, I lost my way a little and my wardrobe stalled a little too. It’s funny looking back though, when I picked up the helping people baton again at the end of last year, which is where I need to be, the confidence to think about frock coats and actually buy and wear them once again came to the fore.  I bought my fist one whilst away for a few days for my birthday in October last year.

They felt right and I felt right wearing them.  A badge of honour almost.

It still took an effort to walk out of the front door and go into town in them, however, once I had done so, the emotions behind the decision, the desire to wear them was so right. Once, whilst in Sainsburys, a fella came up to me and said, ’are you in a local theatre group?’ I must’ve looked at him vaguely, as I believe I do when my mind is elsewhere, and he added, ‘I love your style’ and vanished as fast as he had appeared.

I smiled and simply said, ‘Thank you’.

So, there’s the thing. These coats are a symbol to me of how far I’ve come. As well as being really cool coats.

Whilst I don’t want people thinking badly of me, I don’t really care what they think of my coats, or what they say.

I am very happy in them. The brighter and more cheerful they are, the better. To a point anyway, And as I said, this is a blog about me.

However, there is also a massive pay off for this. 

People remember me because of them, and where I’m going as a campaigner for mental health, author, speaker and event leader I want to be remembered.

It wasn’t intentional, I couldn’t do it if it was, but as a secondary pay off, I’ll take it.

Every day.

What could be your symbol of achievement?

Let me know.

Simon Pollard   Urban Countryman        April 2024

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