**Guys, before you read this you should know this post focuses on Mental health which may be distressing/a trigger for some to read. I don’t want to upset any of you so if you think this post might affect you in some way please don’t read on. If you can relate to what I am saying and feel like you need someone to talk to, reach out to someone close to you or contact an agency such as The Samaritans who are there to give support and advice**
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time, in fact this is possibly about the eighth time I have written it! so here it is – Anxiety and Me!
For as long as I can remember I have suffered with anxiety. My earliest memories are from secondary school, I was a performer, I loved to sing in shows and productions. Music was all I wanted to do with my life at this young age, but it wasn’t where my anxiety showed. It manifested itself in other things such as walking down the corridor alone or sitting and eating my lunch. I would get hot and sweaty if I had no one to walk with or just thinking about the possibility that someone I was friends with wasn’t in my next class with me. This often resulted in me sitting in a toilet cubicle to try and calm down. I tried to tell people – but I was just dismissed I was a performer right? there was no way that I could suffer from this sort of feeling and be confident enough to perform in front of hundreds of people. I couldn’t control my feelings of anxiety and I started to self harm at a young age as a way to cope.
Throughout my late teens and my time at University, I didn’t really make many life long friends, I flitted from group to group trying to fit in. I used to pretend to be someone I wasn’t just to try to get rid of everything I was feeling. I’d lie about things just to make myself seem better and stop the anxious voice in my head that said “YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH” It was a shit thing to do because I ended up being a horrible person to some people, I have so many regrets, things I did that I cannot change now but I think acknowledging my mistakes and facing them has helped me tremendously.
Now I’m a bit older and I have learned to think of others feelings before my own, my anxiety is slightly different. I think the stupidest things are going to happen all the time. It’s like I know that what I think is going to happen is far fetched but I cannot stop myself getting worried and anxious over it!
An example, my daughter ended up needing to go to hospital the other night, she had popped a glow stick into her eye! I rinsed it with water, the liquid inside was non toxic so I knew that she was fine, but obviously we wanted to get it checked- but in my mind, that was it, as soon as we got to hospital she would be taken away from us by social services because we weren’t with her when it happened! She decided she would rummage through daddy’s army kit and play with his glow stick things, instead of playing with her dollies whilst we were downstairs sorting tea! The fear consumed me all the way to A and E, I had no choice but to keep it all in because i didn’t want it to affect her. Whilst in the waiting room I was picturing it happening, then even when the triage nurse remarked how well me and daddy had dealt with the situation I was still convinced she was out to get me. I remember the huge relief when the doctor said we could leave, I just wanted to get out of there fast before they realised there mistake!
How crazy does that sound? I KNEW deep down it’s just one of those things and it happens but I couldn’t control my feelings!
With my anxiety, everything is the worse case scenario. My doctor says I am a catastrophiser, like there is no happy place for me, I always just assume the worst is going to happen!
I mentioned my levels of anxiety to someone recently, their initial response was “You don’t seem like you suffer with that” That’s my point, I just feel it on the inside, but I want everyone else to think I’m “normal” Comments like that support why I only tell my hubby my stupid thoughts about things because he doesn’t laugh at me. I hate how judgmental people are – many people suffer with all types of invisible illness everyday, and get on with things, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t force us to need a break from time to time because it gets too much and we cannot control that!
I have learned to cope well with my anxiety now, but it still affects me in silly ways. Something as simple as asking a friend if they want to meet up or trying to send a message to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while can be a massive struggle. It also prevents me from being as active on the blog as I’d like to be because I feel like everyone will laugh at my posts! I can recognise when I’m getting anxious though now and try to work through it!
My advice to anyone who may be suffering with feelings of anxiety is to talk about it. It makes coping with it so much easier, whether you talk to a friend, your partner or you go and talk to your doctor. Because people brushed what I was feeling off for years, I felt like it wasn’t a big deal and I often wonder how different my life would be if I had got professional help sooner!