What not to say to someone like me

  1. Stop overthinking

If it were that simple, I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in. Please just try to understand that I am the way I am. You know it’s not rational, I know it’s not rational, but it’s going to happen anyway. So please just let me do my thing. If my overthinking is bothering you, try and take a moment to think about how it affects me. You only get to hear about it, I get to live it.

  1. You know it’s just silly to be scared of that, right?

Yes. Yes I do. Thanks for enlightening me on the fact that my fears are silly. I feel so much better now. Try to know that, again, it’s irrational, we all know it is, no more so than myself. If it could be helped it would. So if you see me wash my cup twice, then rinse it 3 times, just roll with it. I’m not harming anyone, and it makes me feel better.

  1. Why don’t you just forget about it?

Why didn’t I consider not obsessing over things? Seriously, where have you been all my life with your words of wisdom? Obsessing over things is what we do best, as it ties in neatly with overthinking. It’s irrational (again this word will pop up a lot), it’s exhausting, and it’s no more frustrating to anyone than myself. If my obsessing over something is bothering you in some way, help me distract my thoughts, change the subject to something of a mutual interest and help me forget. Probably will only work momentarily but that is more helpful than asking me to ‘just forget’.

  1. Should you not go to a doctor?

Yes, I’ve been to see many doctors over the years thank you, including counsellors. There is no cure for an anxiety disorder, as if there was I would have had it by now. 

  1. Do you not think it’s just all in your head?

No way! Do you think?! Of course, it’s all in my head, hence the term ‘Mental illness’. No fooling you Sherlock. If by asking this you’re implying that we’re causing this and can we please just stop it, ummm, no. Just no.

  1. I get like that and I’m not anxious.

Understanding goes a long way, and I often find I’m met by narrow minded people, even in my own family. Unfortunately, I don’t always get the best support or understanding, as I get met with things like this. As explained in a previous blog, there are different levels of anxiety, everyone feels it, but those of us who have an anxiety disorder, we have no control and it is far more intense.

  1. Why are you so moody?

Being like this is exhausting. I’m always tired, regardless of how much sleep I get. I’d say the best sleep I’ve had of late was a full 7 hours, although, it was an incredibly restless sleep, as it always is. Now whilst 7 hours is good, in the lead up to this I was sleeping for maybe 3-4 hours a night. So the lack of sleep, over thinking and self-doubt, often causes me to be grumpy and moody. This will then make me nippy and short with the people closest to me. I’m aware I’m like that, but for the most part I cannot help it.

I often feel like my anxiety is a burden to those around me, and when I’m asked questions like this, it reinforces that feeling. Being there for someone like me is no doubt tiring and really draining at times, especially having to listen to the same stuff on repeat. I get that it must make you just want to shake me and ask me to man up, but let’s face facts, it’s not that easy.

What I want to say to people at times is; I am not my anxiety! Anxiety is just a part of who I am. I am so much more than my weird quirks, and if you took the time to not be frustrated by me, you’d maybe get to see that.

If you are like me, you will no doubt identify with this or perhaps even have your own to add. If you are not like me, but know someone who is, just try to be a little bit more mindful with your ‘helpful’ words of wisdom. They may be coming from a good place, or you may just be frustrated with having to deal with us, but remember who you’re dealing with. We already overthink everything and we already feel like we’re not good enough, and that the world thinks we’re hypochondriacs or that we’re disliked, so making it out to us like we can just go out and fix it, like it’s easy, is not helping.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I know that all I need is a sympathetic ear at times, and someone who just lets me get on with my quirks/ocds. Some days I just need to vent what has been over playing in my head, so that helps me release and feel better. This may be something you’ve heard many times before, but please, bear with me, I’m trying. I’m definitely prickly around the edges, and often wonder how on earth I managed to find someone to marry me, and who still sticks around, but I like to think it’s because they know I’m more than just my anxiety disorder, and of course, because I’m hilarious. This just goes without saying. Yup, you are in fact, reading the blog of a woman who is so funny, that most of the things she has to say that are funny, cannot be said for laughing. As they say, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry! And I know which I prefer.

To everyone out there like me; don’t be phased by these questions/comments. Just focus on what you need to, to get through a day, and don’t forget to celebrate all the successes, even the little ones. My success today is I went out Tesco, feeling terrible, with a light dusting of powder on my face, and my hair wasn’t sitting. To me, this is huge, not because I’m vain, or conceited, but because I have skin problems and always worry about being ugly and having people stare. There is also the small fact of me hating shopping, crowds, queues and being around people when feeling down. I did worry that people were looking & judging that perhaps I looked a little unkempt but you know what, I did it! Look at me and my bad self.



I am a living breathing contradiction

As the title states, I am a living breathing contradiction. Making me the root cause to most, if not all, of my ‘issues’. Having anxiety makes me overthink situations to the point of not sleeping, YET, I am impulsive. I know, right? How is this possible? I honestly have no idea.

I spend my life thinking and discussing pending events/situations to the point of actually boring myself, but I have to. I need to be prepared, with my lists and 101 thought up scenarios. My husband laughs at my many spreadsheets that I use to help organise and keep things on track, but I know he’d be lost without me and my uber organisational skills. Being prepared and organised rules! It means there are no nasty surprises and (hopefully) nothing to be anxious about prior/during/after an event. Now, all of this being said, I’m also incredibly impulsive on occasion. I am someone who see’s something she likes, gets really excited, and just goes for it. It’s almost like I’m blinded by whatever has sparked my interest, that the consequences just don’t even matter. I’m like Wylie Coyte chasing after Roadrunner; I have my eye on the prize and if I fall off a cliff, meh? I’ll deal with it.

Wait? What now? How is this possible? Absolutely no clue. All I do know is, this happens from time to time. Not a lot, but enough. This has got to be a good thing though? Clearly this means I’m having a lucid moment whereby anxiety is not taking hold? No, this is not good. This is reckless. How can I be on one side of the scale, then flip to the polar opposite? It’s madness. Having these impulsive moments just result in excessive anxious moments in the end. As once the high of being impulsive wears off, I get the dread of “OMG what have I done?”, then all the prerequisite overthinking and lists that would normally have been done, still need to be done! But now it’s all in hindsight, and isn’t guaranteed to be ‘anxious free’ in the end, actually now, it’s very much far from that.

Some examples of my impulsiveness of late come in the form of moving home & buying a car. You know, two really small things to take on. I hated the home we lived in previously, it depressed me to even say I lived there. I came to realise that my husband and I worked too damn hard to be going back to a house like that, so one day I saw a house online that I fell in love with and we were moved in within 4 weeks.  I would like to add that this was rented, not bought, as that could have sounded incredibly pretentious ‘oooh check me just buying a house on a whim’. Then today, I’ve just traded in my current car on impulse, and bought another car I’ve not even seen in person. Why? Because I’ve seen it, I’ve fallen in love with it, and I could. Definite trend here, I’m like a magpie with silver! See something new/shiny, fall in love, and I must have it.

After my impulse purchase today, I’ve sat and compared numerous insurance companies, created yet another spreadsheet and I’m now thinking of all the scenarios. Here is to a sleepless night, all of my own doing, in the bid of owning an awesome car (I hope).

I do hope that at least one person reading this can relate, and if that is you, please comment at the bottom so I know I’m not alone. I like to think that I cannot be the only living breathing contradictions with an anxiety disorder.

Keeping up with the Joneses is not helping!

Keeping up with the joneses! We are all guilty of it. We see other people ‘succeeding’ and we feel inadequate. Facebook is one of the worst for making us feel this way. People only ever share what they want you to see, it’s so incredibly fake, we know this, yet we buy into it.

I got myself quite upset one night; I was sitting with a glass of wine, scrolling through my news feed and I see posts like:

“I just came home to no kids, hubby has booked us into a hotel for the weekend. Totally made up. #BestHusbandEver #SoLucky #LoveHimLots #MyLifeIsAmazingAndYoursSucks”

“My Child is only two but can recite the alphabet backwards, whilst playing the piano, and standing on their head. #BestKidsEver #MyKidsAreBetterThanYours #ImABetterMumThanAllOfYou”

“OMG I’ve lived on air for 3 weeks, and been to the gym daily, I’m like so skinny. Please look at my 10000000001 gym selfies. If you’re in doubt which ones they are, I’m in lycra, and look completely self indulgent. #ImSkinnyYoureFat #ImFitAndYoureLazy #ILookAmazingInLycra #YoudLookLikeABurstSausage”

“Another promotion at work. I just come in, do nothing, and ta-da, better job title and more money. Oh and look at the new car I bought myself. Holiday next. #ImSoSuccessful #YoureTotallyLame #RollingInMoney #YoureSkint”

Ok ,Ok, these may be ever so slightly exaggerated, but this is how I read my news feed. So what did I do? Yup, you guessed it! I over thought it, and I compared my life with others. I sat and thought things like

“My husband doesn’t do that for me? Why? Where is my trip away for the weekend? Pffft, I don’t even get taken for a meal, let alone taken away”

“why don’t my kids join all of these clubs? Why do their kids seem to have more friends? Why do their kids seem to be more adjusted than mine?”

“I eat too much and I’m lazy. I need to work out. I’ll never look as good as them Lycra. Is this what the gym bunnies look like? Do I want to subject myself to in person comparisons? Hell no!”

“Wait! Have they not just been on holiday? I could swear they were. Oh that was last year. Hmmm, when did we last have a holiday? Oh right, 3 years ago. Fantastic”

And so, it begins, the vicious cycle of me thinking the whole world has it better than me, based on a few selective glimpses into people’s lives on social media. It’s madness.  Last year was a particularly tough year for me, in many ways, but doing this to myself on Facebook was making it a helluva lot worse. I would sit, feeling very low, on my phone just scrolling and scrolling, becoming even lower with every upbeat ‘my life is amazing’ post.

We are all guilty of showing the side to ourselves we want people to see on social media. It’s like a sort of ‘social media etiquette’, like our regular social etiquette; When I say “Hey, how are you?” I don’t expect to hear “Well, you know, my cat died. I lost my job. I think I may have a UTI, as well as gout…or maybe it’s a fungal nail infection…dunno…you wanna see?”. No. Just no. I want to hear “Yeah good thanks, you?”. We don’t actually ask “Hey, how are you?” to sit and have a Dr.Phil session, we do it because of social etiquette. The same logic applies to Facebook; We put up filtered pictures of ourselves, ones where we’ve done our hair, makeup, got the right lighting, tilted the camera at the right angle and probably taken 101 attempts to the get the one we deem as ok to post. Once it’s uploaded we eagerly await the likes for recognition that our efforts have not gone unnoticed. Then there is our Bio, this is usually something cheesy about how amazing our life is. Finally, it’s our daily posts; We don’t want to post that our cat has died and we have fungal nail infection, why? Well because it’s gross and deeply unnecessary for one. So, what we do instead is we wait for funny little anecdotes or something good to happen, and we exaggerate. We all do it, every single one of us, just some are better at it than others. Some people spend their entire existence giving off the pretence of a perfect existence on social media to get all of the likes, so they can feel validated. Have I been guilty of being this way? More than likely, although, this doesn’t stop it from frustrating me.

By the end of my wine and reading my news feed, I felt inadequate. I felt incredibly down for such a long time, continually asking myself all these questions of “Why am I not good enough? Why don’t I have what everyone else seems to have?”. Everything in my life appeared to be crap and I saw no way of me being able to make it any better. Hello depression and anxiety, it had been a while since I’d felt this low. I cried pretty much every day, just feeling so useless, and like I would never measure up. Well you know what? No more!

I don’t own my own house, it’s rented. My car is nearly 10 years old and has a broken parking sensor (don’t ask!), so it beeps continuously when in reverse. The only radio station I can get in my car clearly is Classical, of which makes me really thankful for my AUX port, that I plug my phone into and sit on the passenger seat as my phone holder broke.  I’m not skinny, or particularly healthy and I have post teen acne. My kids are far from perfect, drive me insane and fight most days. My husband isn’t the brightest bulb in the box, and will need prompting to do nice/thoughtful things. My family are like something out of a comedy, only, it’s not terribly funny when you live through the drama’s, but definitely makes for funny stories to tell later down the line. I live in a house where I feel that the washing basket will never be empty, no matter how many loads I put on. What do my kids do? Graze clothing in search for an outfit and chuck it to the wash?? I have no idea. Then there is the fact my kids are all completely fussy, no two kids like the same thing. What are the chances? 4 kids and they’re so incredibly different, so finding things to eat and do is a nightmare. Everyone in the house bickers and fights over the most pointless things continuously, I often feel like just getting the car, and driving. No destination in mind and no plan on coming back, just driving. I live in a permanent state of exhaustion and there is always something else to be done. The house is never fully clean, the kids are never fully happy, and somewhere in between I fit in a full-time job.

All this being said; What I do have is a roof over my head, my home is lovely, it’s big enough for this big crazy family. We’re dry and warm and want for nothing we need. My children may drive me nuts, but they are my reason to get up every day, they make me laugh more than they make me cry. My husband may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he makes effort in the ways he knows how and he loves me. I have a fantastic job, that I wouldn’t change for anything. My friends are nothing short of amazing, and if you’re reading this, thank you for being there for me though my whirlwind year, I would not have done it without you.

My end goal is to be free of ‘social media envy’, once and for all. I believe that cutting down my time on Facebook will help, but getting rid of it altogether may be best. I need to keep reinforcing the good that is in my life and not comparing myself everyone else. I may not have the best, and yes there are many things I don’t have that would be nice to have, but I’m sure there will be someone out there that has less than even me and would like to be where I am. I need to not be envious of these social media post, but open minded to the fact it will be embellished, and if it’s not? Then I can be happy for them, not jealous.

I’m pretty sure that everyone will suffer from ‘social media envy’, but when you’re already someone who’s prone to depression and/or anxiety, of which already leaves you feeling inadequate, this can have a huge impact. Moral of the blog? Make a list of all the positives you have, however small, and be thankful for them. Don’t compare yourself to those fake, glammed up, posts on Facebook, nobody’s lives are perfect.



Anxious, or Anxiety Disorder? Sad, or Depressed?

I swithered with regards to writing this blog. I have sat and worried about offending people, or in case it contradicts my blog ‘You don’t look anxious to me’, but I’ve come to realise that it’s important that people know the difference between depression and just being a bit down, and having an anxiety disorder and just being a little bit anxious.


Let’s start with anxiety; This is something we all have and deal with probably every day. Everyone in the world has their anxious moments, so what is the difference between feeling a bit anxious and having an anxiety disorder? Well, to put it in the simplest way; one is mild and one is intense. But, wait, how do we know the difference? How do we know that what we’re feeling is the mild version of anxiety or the intense? I think we first need to understand what anxiety is.

Anxiety is an emotional response to the anticipation of something bad happening, so really, it’s the prerequisite to fear. There is a very fine line between anxiety and fear, which is why both feelings can have similar responses i.e. sweating, feeling nauseous, and quickened heart rate. The feeling of being anxious is what gives us a surge of adrenaline in preparation for the ‘fight or flight’ response, in a bid to help us if the bad scenario we’re anticipating happens. During a bout of feeling anxious you will feel a little scared, but when dealing with an anxious situation when you have an anxiety disorder, you feel intense fear, like something catastrophic is going to happen and you have no control to help yourself.

Some situations that will spike anxious feelings in anyone:

  • Driving test – Everyone in the world is nervous for this. It is one of the most nerve wracking things we will ever do, and it can cause us to be sleepless the night before, give us a dry mouth, even tremble slightly behind the wheel.
  • Operations – Whether it be for ourselves or a loved one. This type of scenario will definitely spike our anxious feelings.
  • Exams – We all want to do well and succeed, so being in an exam can cause us to doubt our abilities, and worry that our best will not be good enough.
  • Children – Our Children make us anxious every day. From the minute they are born we worry if they cry too much, don’t cry enough, eat too much, don’t eat enough, temperature spikes, temperature drops etc. Then as they get older we worry about them going out to play, will they make friends, will other kids be horrible to them, are they happy, how well will they do in school etc. It’s a constant worry for a parent.
  • Work projects – We will all have some sort of task in work that makes us anxious, one that means we’re striving to excel but worry we won’t.
  • Flying – Now this won’t affect everyone, but it does affect most. Again, perfectly normal response to the fact you’re sitting in a metal flying object, couple that with the fact humans were never meant to fly! Totally normal to be apprehensive here.

Some situation that will spike intense feelings of anxiety, associated with an anxiety disorder:

  • Health – “My left hand is slightly colder than my right. Blood flow must be being supressed somewhere. Could it be I’m having a stroke?”, “I’ve had acid indigestion for a while now, could it be an ulcer? Perhaps even stomach cancer?”, “This headache won’t go away, I think I have a blood clot on the brain”, “My right leg has gone numb and feels funny, I think I’ve got DVT”, “I’m sure my heart just skipped a beat then, it felt kinda funny. What if I have heart disease?”. These thoughts will not stop there, they will spiral out of control, to the point where you cannot contain how you’re feeling.
  • Socially – “They’re looking at me. Do they hate how I look? Is what I’m wearing silly? Is my hair sticking up? Is it the way I’m walking? They think I’m ugly.”, “The way they said ‘hello’ was weird. Was it grudged? They don’t like me. What have I done? Did the conversation we have the other day upset them? What could I have said to make them hate me?”, “They didn’t smile as they walked passed. Why? Did they not see me smiling? Maybe I didn’t smile. They will think I’m rude now. Or maybe they did see me smile, but don’t like me so didn’t smile back? Why don’t they like me?”, “I sent that text to them over an hour ago, why haven’t they text back? Have I upset them? Do they not like me?”. You can see the definite pattern here.
  • OCD’s – “That glass looks dirty, I can’t drink from that, what if I get ill?” You will then proceed to wash the glass and then rinse it 3 times for good measure. When you go to bed at night, you check the doors are locked, but then you get up to check again as you doubt you did it right the first time. In fact, you may even repeat the process a few more times, just to be sure, as you don’t want someone coming in and killing you in your sleep. Washing your hands twice, as you need to be sure that all the germs are gone, because you don’t want to die! You will also overly wash your hands as you’re too scared of the surfaces you’ve touched, that others have touched, as hey, you might die.
  • Overthinking & not feeling good enough – “They didn’t seem very happy with me today, I don’t think what I did was good enough. Maybe I could have tried harder? Perhaps I should have done it another way? What if it’s me they just don’t like and whatever I do isn’t good enough? Or maybe it’s just that I’m no good, I’m not up to it?” These thoughts can spiral out of control and have you debating 101 different scenarios of how you could have done things.
  • Insomnia – Because we’re thinking about thinking, then overthinking the thinking about thinking, we tend not to sleep much. Our minds are racing all the time and there are just not enough hours in the day for the level of over analysing that we do.

As you can see we have a rational sense of anxiousness in the first list, where everyone in the world may experience these feelings from time to time. When it’s mild, it’s something that someone can bounce back from easily and something that they will not dwell on or over analyse. Someone with an anxiety disorder, will also be anxious about these things, but they will let it tear them up inside, they will not just bounce back from it, and they will over analyse every situation. Usually to the point where they feel crippling fear and end up sweating, trembling, feeling sick, or actually being sick, getting short of breath, unable to focus, becoming depersonalised, and it may well lead onto a full-blown panic attack. We then have the second list to contend with, one where it’s completely not rational, yet we will let it consume us every single day, again to the point of feeling fear, and this can completely inhibit us from leading what is deemed a ‘normal’ life. We can look perfectly normal on the outside, but on the inside, we’re screaming. You can read more about ‘High functioning anxiety’ in my recent blog, where I explain more about what it is to try and live a ‘normal’ life, whilst contending with the above.


There are a lot of people out there that will throw around the statement “I’m feeling depressed”, without actually understanding what it means to be depressed. The feeling of being depressed, is a feeling of intense sadness, loneliness and hopelessness. You feel like you’re in the worst possible position in your life, and it will never change. You are incapable of seeing the positives in your life, or the light at the end of the tunnel.

Everyone in life has days or periods where they feel sad, down, and even like they can’t be bothered, but this is not depression. This is just a normal response to things in life not going as you hoped or planned. Perhaps you didn’t get the job you wanted, you’ve recently broken up with someone you love, you’ve had big changes in your life out with your control, these are all things that we get sad about. Whilst you feel sad in these situations, you’re still able to enjoy your life and see a light at the end of the tunnel. You know and understand that these feelings won’t last forever and over time, you will get over it.

Depression is like the feeling of sadness magnified. You are not just sad, you are beside yourself with grief. You lose all sense of what is positive in life, you don’t look forward to anything, you cannot have ‘fun’, you lose motivation to do anything for yourself, often losing the want/ability to take good care of yourself, you don’t care for your own well being, tired all the time, sleeping too much, you don’t get excited about things, watching movies that you used to love is just dull now. It is literally like someone has just sucked all the happiness and colour from your life. All you are left with is a bleak, grey, cold and loveless world, that you inhabit all by yourself and that no-one else understands. You may be depressed if you have the following:

  • Intense sadness
  • Frustrated and irritable mood all the time. Complete lack of tolerance of others.
  • Significant changes in weight – either weight loss due to being unable to eat, or weight gain through comfort eating.
  • Decrease/no interest in activities you may have been interested in before i.e. playing sports, watching movies, hanging out with friends etc.
  • Complete tasks at a slow pace – Due to lack of motivation, tasks that would usually be done quickly, will now take you some time.
  • Feeling tired and low on energy – You just feel like you’re in a permanent state of exhaustion, despite how much or how little sleep you get.
  • Unable to focus – You are so overwhelmed by how you’re feeling you can find it difficult to concentrate on the task in hand.
  • Feeling worthless – You never feel good enough. You have every possible negative thought about yourself and the more you think it, the more you reinforce it.
  • Suicide – You can feel so low, to the point of wanting to not be here. You cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel (and there is one, there is always one!), that you believe ending your own life is the only way to be free.

Now this list is not a conclusive list and should not be used for self-diagnosis. I’m not a doctor or a psychiatrist, I am just someone who has suffered with both Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression for 10+ years. The lists I have given above are from my own personal experience. I am in a position now where I don’t need medication and I am able to manage my mental illness much better than just a few years ago, however, this doesn’t mean I don’t struggle most days to appear ‘normal’. If you believe that you may be able to relate to more than a few of my examples, then I implore you to seek advice from you G.P, If you read my blog ‘My story of when Anxiety took hold’ you will see that seeking help was the best thing I ever did.


There are many helpful links online these days, here are just a few I have sourced. Again, please do not take these as conclusive, you are always better to seek professional help & advice.

NHS Depression Self-Assessment

NHS – Check your mood – Anxiety/depression assessment

NHS – Do I have an anxiety disorder

NHS – Generalised Anxiety Disorder

NHS – Suicide awareness & help

Samaritans – Someone to talk to when you’re feeling Anxious/depressed/suicidal


Remember who’s watching

No one is born with a sense of fear, it is a learned behaviour. Babies and toddlers are fearless little creatures, that often have us with our hearts in our throats. For all you parents out there reading this, you can totally relate to times where your child had climbed onto something and attempted to jump off with no concept of the height they were jumping from, or the possibility of hurting themselves. Or the fact that every toddler likes to play with bugs. What is that even about? My daughter once ate a spider. True story. She was about 8 months old, crawled into the kitchen, and ate a spider off the floor. Needless to say, I let her father change her nappy for the next two days. I still get goose-bumps and shiver when I think of it.  My Dad often likes to tell the story of when I would play with bugs in the garden as a toddler. Supposedly, one day when he came home from work, I was sitting on the wall outside our house squishing red spiders for fun, with my finger. That can’t be true surely? If so, where did my fear of spiders come from? If you ask my Dad, he’ll say it is my Mum, as she is someone who would have screamed irrationally if one was around and would get someone to kill it. So, did I learn to be fearful of spiders due to witnessing my parent have a meltdown when they were around? Sounds plausible.

Now I’m a parent I’m aware that I could be passing on my issues onto my children. They are incredibly impressionable and whether they like to admit it or not, I’m exceptionally cool and they totally want to be just like me. This just goes without saying really. My daughters, Rachel & Rebecca, and I are close, and we do a lot together, meaning they spend a lot of time around me and hiding my quirks/ticks/OCD’s isn’t always easy.  I’ve come to notice in the past couple of years that they had developed some issues of their own. Rebecca was starting to develop a bit of a stutter, cries at the drop of a hat, and was incredibly nervous in social situations. Rachel is incredibly socially awkward, doesn’t like people, has hygiene issues and little OCD’s. I could see that my issues were transpiring with them, and this is not the life I want them to have. I don’t want them to worry about every little thing and spend their life over analysing and being sad. All parents want the best for their Children, and ending up like me, even just a fraction of me, is not an option here.

Rebecca was showing signs of a stutter when she was worried about something. She worries incisively about not being good enough or failing, or worse, being wrong! To the point where she would stutter when trying to explain something, then cry. The amount of conversations we’ve had where I never actually hear the end due to sobs, is a lot. I could see that she was lacking in confidence, and I hated seeing her this way. To me, and yes, I may be slightly biased here, she is one of the most beautiful, thoughtful, caring, funny, talented girls in the world, and the fact she couldn’t see this was upsetting. Rachel had started to become very introverted, lost a lot of friends, started sleeping a lot, developed my OCD for hygiene etc. it was like looking at mini-me and I’ve hated it. She too is such a beautiful, loving, very funny, talented girl, who genuinely cannot see how fantastic she really is. Why can’t they just be like their peers, and their only concerns be with their Facebook profile picture and how many likes it’s gotten? Well, the reason for this is me. They have spent so much time with me, that they’ve picked up on my bad anxious habits.

Noticing these traits was hard, as I knew it had to be my fault. So how do I change them? How do I make them see how great they are and that the world is not that scary a place, when I don’t even have this faith in myself or the world? I spend every day telling them how great they are, I praise their small successes as if they’re a toddler who’s just used the potty for the first time, I tell them every day I love them and how lucky I am to have them. I tell them things I wish people would say to me, the things I’d like to believe in myself.

Assuring them constantly that things are ok, and will be ok, just isn’t enough. I see that they doubt me, and they will continue to be anxious. So, what now? Well, I now make them do things they say scare them, or that they’re not keen on doing. For example, Rachel hated going into shops, as she hated the crowds, queues and speaking to strangers, for fear of something happening or looking stupid. I started making her go to the shops with me every time I went, and I would make her talk to the cashier. I would always prep her with what to say, and I believe having me there made it easier. That’s not to say that she didn’t hate me for it, or leave the cashier with tears in her eyes because to her this was incredibly daunting. Now though? Well, she chooses to go to the shops with me all the time, and she now speaks to strangers with ease. This is a success. Rebecca will often get upset at small things e.g. She once got an email where the person had gotten her name wrong, she opened it, then worried it might have had a virus, so came down the stairs in a bit of state. Rebecca had believed that her laptop was now going to break, and realising I wouldn’t have money to fix it or get her another one, thought that I would have been angry/upset and now was besides herself. Thankfully it was just a case of an incorrect name, there was no virus, and the laptop is still going strong. Seeing her so upset, over something so small, was hard. I had to sit her down and explain that even if it was a virus, it wasn’t a big deal. It is fixable. And again, even if it wasn’t fixable, it’s not worth getting so upset over. Even as I wrote that sentence, I realise that is just the height of cheek. Here I am explaining to my daughter that there are things to get upset about, and things to not be caring about, yet I cannot do this for myself. Rebecca can now see the funny side of this, and we will often bring it up and laugh about it. I feel that is very important, to be able to see the funny side of these situations, as it helps to lighten the mood and in turn it doesn’t feel quite so serious.

I’m very open with all my children, about everything and anything. If my children ask me a question about sex, drugs, life etc. I will answer it as openly and honestly as possible. I don’t believe in lying to them, as this will only peak their curiosity and in turn they will make bad decisions. This is me talking from experience; When I was younger I learned about sex in the playground, so, as you can imagine it was incredibly helpful and accurate to the facts. My Mum didn’t even discuss a woman’s menstrual cycle, so imagine my horror when I got mine at the young age of 11 and thought I was dying. Just as well I had one of my close friends with me, who had started hers not long before and was able to help me out. I was shocked, embarrassed and upset. There are many other examples where my parents didn’t help or prepare me for life, so I’ve made the conscious decision to always be open and honest with my kids. I don’t want them to be sheltered or unprepared, and in turn I believe this has helped them to be the amazingly wise and mature kids they are. I have people who disagree with how open I am with them, as they believe ‘kids should just be kids’, but in this day and age, where they have the internet and a lot of misinformation, I believe it’s more important than ever to have these awkward discussions. I also feel it makes them more comfortable to be able to speak to me about anything. I have also been very open with my older children with regards to my mental illness. I need them to understand that I have these little quirks, and explain why. This helps them to better understand that how I am, is not ‘normal’, and these ticks/quirks/OCD’s are definitely not normal. We have discussed Anxiety/Depression, the symptoms, the differences between having Depression and just being sad, then the difference between being anxious and having a disorder. I believe this is extremely important, as I don’t want them thinking because they’re sad, they’re depressed, or because they’ve had a flutter in their stomach they’ve got an anxiety disorder.

Managing how my daughters are, and trying to help them be happier and more settled, is teaching me a lot about myself. A lot of what I tell them, is something I could be doing for me. Also, a lot of what I make them do, like making Rachel go into shops, has pushed me to do things I don’t like, as I know she is watching me for guidance and I need to help her learn by example. They still have their issues and their little quirks, but I’ve noticed a lot of improvement in recent months. Both Rachel and Rebecca are becoming more outgoing, they appear happier, and they don’t seem to worry quite as much. I have many days where I feel like I just can’t deal with the day, or where I just want to stay in bed and let life pass me by, but I can’t do that. I can’t let my kids see me quit, or not even try, as what kind of example is that?  We still have some way to go, but who knows, in my bid to help them be happier, I might just help myself.



Anxiety and Insomnia in a tree…

Well isn’t this fun. Sitting awake at 3.58am, having been awake since around 1am, knowing I need to be up at 5.30am. Why am I awake? Naturally my mind is racing with thoughts that could wait, or better yet, are completely unnecessary. My brain needs to surface these thoughts and analyse them now. Surely the small hours of the morning is the best time? Yup I’m sure it is. It must be. Why else would it always be these times I’m like this?

Do you ever have the ‘what if’ thoughts? I have been laying here for the better part of 3 hours thinking all of the ‘what if’ thoughts for things I cannot possibly change. Things like “What if I picked better friends growing up, how much better would my life have been”, and “What if I’d gotten my education sooner, where would I be now”, these are just a couple of the questions that have raced in my mind this morning. There have been many many more, that have spawned from these two questions, but I won’t bore you with those.

Why is it, we sit and tear ourselves up about things out of our control and that can never be changed? What even is the point? Rationally I know these events have passed and cannot be changed, yet here I am going over the 101 scenarios of how things could have turned out had I not made such silly decisions in my life. Not only do I beat myself up for things that haven’t even happened yet by anticipating the worst in ever single thing that happens in my life, but I also tear myself up inside over things that have happened.

I do not regret my Children one little bit, but I do wish I’d had them a bit later. Why? Well, I see others who have waited until they’re settled into a career and they can offer their Children more than I can offer mine. This leaves me with deep seeded guilt that I’m not enough. This then leads me to think about all the time I wasted not getting my education, to have a better job, to be able to give them a better life, and again I’m thinking about not being enough. I then start to think about where it all went wrong for me. Was it just down to who I am? Was I always going to be this way? Am I just a waste of space? Or, would me being more choosy about my friends when I was a teen have helped? Surely it would have. The people I dared to call friends in my teens, were far from. In fact, you’d have been safer emotionally/physically trapped in a den of rattle snakes, so yeah that must be it. Well no, maybe not, as I too was one of those snakes. Queue more thoughts on scrutinising every single decision I made in my youth. I also realise that these decisions lead to me having my Children, of whom I do not regret one single bit. I would honestly be lost without them. So, whilst I have these regrets of not making better choices or being a better person, I realise I may have been without my Children, and I’d hate that. So where does that leave me? I’m left unable to sleep, going over the same thoughts of being a useless waste of space, and then feeling guilty for even considering changing how my life turned out.

I have resisted putting on the T.V for two reasons:

1) My husband is currently sleeping and I don’t want to wake him. 

2) I’m too stubborn for my own good. I like to think I’m at a point where I can do this myself.

I know I cannot calm my thoughts alone, not when they’re racing and im tired.When PMA isn’t working, I know I need a distraction. Im totally not in the right mind set to have a positive outlook. Perhaps this is why the overthinking happens at this time. Maybe my Anxiety knows it can creep in when I’m at my most vulnerable.

Well, I’ve given in and realised I needed to do something. I was at the point where I was so tense my legs were starting to tremble and my jaw was clenched. Writing this blog has helped me to not feel as tense, but now it’s time to put on a movie to completely lose myself in, and detach. I almost feel like I’m admitting defeat. Why couldn’t I just roll over, change my train of thought and nod back off? Maybe one day I’ll find it easier to do. For now though, I’m going to watch “Wolverine – Origin”. Yes it’s not a very good movie, but it’s something that I can hopefully get lost in and doze off to.

I now also realise that this will leave me very tired for the day ahead, of which will have a knock on effect with how I deal with things and no doubt leave to me feeling fragile and anxious. Could this just be me setting myself up to feel this way? Being too negative for my own good. Or could it just be the fact I’ve been here many times before, so I know how the story goes? I guess only time will tell, and for now I seem to have plenty of that.

Anxiety – a nice little reminder for when  you think life is stressful enough, it will rear it’s head to push your limits further for the banter.



High Functioning Anxiety?

Naturally since starting this blog I have worried about what people will think. I’ve had thoughts like “Is this the right thing? Am I exposing too much of myself?”, “Will people think I’m just attention seeking”, “Am I boring them?”, “Do people even read it? Do they even care?”, “what if they read this, but think it’s a load of crap, as I’m up every day, at work, out socially etc. They’ll never believe what I have to say”. Again, with the negative thoughts. But I must remember why I’ve started this blog. I’ve done this for myself, to get out what I’m thinking/feeling, but also to help those around me and even strangers facing the same struggles. These worries are what has inspired tonight’s post, as I need people to understand that I do appear ok on the surface, but inside it’s a very different story.

In 2005 I was diagnosed with G.A.D (Generalised Anxiety Disorder). Meaning, I don’t just have one form of Anxiety, I have a bit of everything; I worry about absolutely everything from social situations, health, money, family, friends, work etc. Yes I know, everyone worries about these things, but for someone like me, It involves anticipating the worst, and overthinking the scenarios of how the worst can happen. This level of worrying and overthinking, is what rears the feeling of being scared and can induce a panic attack.  In the beginning, I found it overwhelming and I really struggled to cope. When you go from being ‘normal’, to essentially fearing life, it does take its toll. In the first few years of learning to cope, I was completely erratic and I had many more bad days than good. These days, it’s a different story. I can go weeks having good days, before I have an episode where my Anxiety can take over.

What is a good day, and what is a bad day? Well a good day to me is one where I’ve not let my Anxiety take over. It’s always there, in the pit of my stomach, like a dull ache, but on good days I can ignore it. I can let the feeling wash over me, and I will pull through and do what needs to be done. A bad day, is one where that feeling cannot be ignored, and I let it consume me until it’s grown bigger than I can handle. This doesn’t always result in a full-blown panic attack, these days it usually manifests as depersonalisation. You will find that over time, you find your own ways to manage your fears. You become accustom to what can set you off and you can choose to avoid it completely, or, find a way to get you through it. I wouldn’t recommend avoiding your fears forever, as you will only isolate yourself, making you feel worse. I would say that you should understand what your triggers are, and work towards better managing them. My way of coping is PMA, and in my blog about this I explain how I have to reinforce positive thoughts in my head, or completely distract my thoughts to get me through things that make me feel anxious.  I would love to sit here and say that I’ve mastered all my fears, I have not, but I have mastered most and like to think this attributes to me being able to get up each day, go to work, go shopping in supermarkets, and be there for my family.

I’m someone who is classed as having ‘High Functioning Anxiety;’. What is high functioning Anxiety? Well, it’s pretty much what it states; it’s someone who is high functioning, but still lives with the inner struggles of an Anxiety Disorder. If you have read my  blog, ‘You don’t look anxious to me!’, I do explain, that just because someone isn’t cowering in a corner shaking, doesn’t mean that they don’t have an Anxiety disorder.  Remember watching Tom & Jerry, when the Angel & Devil would appear on Tom’s shoulders? Having high functioning anxiety is a bit like that. Naturally the Devil is your Anxiety, and the Angel is your rational thoughts. It’s a constant battle between the two. I get negative thoughts, rationally I know it’s my anxiety, but this doesn’t always stop me from doubting myself or letting the feeling of being anxious overwhelm me. I’m pleased to say my rational thoughts triumph more these days, and I appear like I’m a ‘normal’ person.

Despite me appearing normal to those around me who don’t know any better, I do struggle with:

  • Never feeling good enough – Every single day of my life I feel like I’m a bad mother, bad wife, bad at my job, bad friend and just an all-round bad person. I worry about every little decision I make, how it will impact others, and will this cause the people I care about to hate me. If you are outwith my circle, I care about what you think, how you are, how my actions affect you, but, if you are in my circle (someone I care about), my feelings of not being good enough for you are magnified. I fear that I will be seen as a fraud, and that you will see the terrible person I am and leave me.
  • Rejection – Yes, I just love to be rejected! Said no-one ever. No-one likes it. Probably one of the worst feelings in the world. For someone like me though, this ties in with never feeling good enough. If we take the chance to put ourselves out there, exposing ourselves, only to be told we’re essentially not good enough, that hits us hard. I will doubt myself in every way. I will sit and scruitinise every single moment of our encounter, and tear myself up inside. A job interview for example? Wow. I will over play every possible outcome of this interview in my head, then when in the interview, I’m just a wreck. Looking at the interviewers faces thinking “Why are they not smiling? Oh, my god they hate me. I shouldn’t have worn this outfit, I don’t look smart enough…” These negative thoughts will go on. I will then leave the interview and over play the whole scenario again in my head, hating the answers I’ve given, beating myself up for missed opportunities to say something funny/positive. Queue a bout of panic, depersonalisation, and the need to go home and curl up in bed. That is exactly what happened after the last job I went for. Thankfully I got that job, but that didn’t stop me from being in bits until I got the call to say I had the job. I don’t think I slept or ate a full meal for a week.
  • Change – Small progressional changes I can just about cope with, as these I can prep, plan and make lists for. Big changes that are progressional, are a little more nerve wracking, but again manageable if I’m given time to prep, plan and make a list. Sudden change can set me off into a downward spiral. This is throwing me into the unknown, unprepared, and I will freak out. Sometimes I’ve done so publicly, others I’ve had a quiet eruption beneath the surface.
  • Being let down – I am someone who has had to learn to cope with things on my own. I pride myself on this and will never ask for help, unless it’s completely necessary. If someone has said they will be there for me, or help me, and let me down, I take this particularly hard. It sends my thought process down a negative path of wondering things like “Do they not care?”, “Am I not worth their time?”, “Is this because they hate me”, and before you know it I’m doubting my relationship with this person. Sounds dramatic, and it very much is, but it’s how my brain operates.
  • Stress – No-one likes feeling stressed. It’s hardly a pleasurable feeling. We all deal with it differently; there are those of us, that very rarely get stressed and when they do, they understand they need to slow down. Then there are those that find the smallest situations stressful, namely me, and do not cope well with high stress situations. I deal with high stress situations every day, that others may hear about and think “wow, you need to calm down”. Just a heads up, never tell someone who’s stressed to calm down, you’ll only turn the stress to anger. When things get too stressful for me, I need to take a deep breath, walk away, clear my thoughts, then come back to try again. Doing this allows me to look at the situation more objectively and assess things properly.
  • Health Concerns – I worry relentlessly about my health. All it takes is a chest pain (usually wind. Must be all the hot air), and I’m convinced I’m having a heart attack. A headache is a stroke/brain tumour. Sore stomach is an ulcer/stomach cancer. You can see the pattern here. I know this I not rational, but in the back of my mind I then worry that one day I’ll blame it on the anxiety and it will be real and I’ll die. That will be that. I will have ignored obvious signs of being unwell, put it down to being in my head and I’ll just die.

Ok so to anyone who has just read my list and is thinking, “Well, I can relate to all of that and I’m not anxious. We all don’t like these things”. You are totally right. The things I have mentioned are things that no-one in the world likes to have to deal with. My point here is; whilst no-one likes to feel stressed, be let down, go through change, be rejected, or never feel good enough. To someone like me, we cannot cope with these situations, as well as someone with a more rational mind. That is the difference.

How do I manage to be high functioning, when feeling anxious?

  • Planning – I like to plan, plan, plan! I swear the people close to me are driven around the bend with this. The unknown is a daunting place, and I like need to be prepared. If I’m ever in a situation where I do not have time to plan, my panic will start to surface. I do not cope well with not at least contemplating how things will work out. I need to have at least one scenario in my mind.
  • Lists – Once I have planned something, I will then list the tasks in hand. This is so that I know nothing will be missed, but also so I know I’m on the right track and can see my progress.
  • Distraction – I need to keep my mind busy all the time. One of the reasons I love my job, is the fact that I can completely submerge myself into work. When I’m working, I don’t have to think about the house, the kids, my partner, bills, family, health, friends etc. I get to just worry about the task in hand. I need my work to be able to cope, and even on what may be a bad day, I’ll chose to go to work, as I know staying at home would be worse, as it would give me more time to think. There have only been a few occasions where going to work wasn’t feasible, but this was because the physical symptoms were so bad, that I just would not have managed.
  • Space – I need space! Lots and lots of space. Me time is a must. I need to be in a room where I’m not expected to answer 101 questions, or even just have a conversation. I’ll often just crawl into bed and put on a movie/TV show, something I can get totally lost in, that allows me to completely detach for a couple of hours. I always find that my brain is racing at 100mph, but chilling with a good movie, allows my brain to switch off.
  • My Circle – My circle is small, and purposefully so. I need to surround myself with people who understand why I am the way I am, but also those who are a positive influence and who can keep my spirits up. These are also people who I trust implicitly and who I know would never let me down, reject me or make me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
  • Music – Everyone listens to music, whether it’s when you’re getting ready for work, in the car, when you’re cleaning, cooking etc. All of us listen to our music. I listen to music all the time, every opportunity. Why? Because it helps to calm my thoughts. If I put music on, then I tune into the rhythm or the lyrics and it helps to keep my negative thoughts at bay.


There is nothing to say that because you suffer Anxiety/Depression, you cannot be high functioning with it. For some people, they can’t, either due to still learning how to manage their disorder, or the fact they’ve got an acute form of Anxiety/Depression, that prevents them from being able. I have found a way to manage my anxiety to the point where I can do things like go to work, go out socially, and have a life that would appear to be ‘normal’, but this doesn’t mean I don’t find it hard. For those of you reading this that don’t suffer from mental health issues, I do hope that it’s given you some understanding of what it’s like for us. For those of you that can relate, or are just learning how to manage your Anxiety, I hope this helps you to see you’re not alone. If you have any of your own coping strategies you’d like to share with me, I’d be happy to hear them.

I was diagnosed, now what?

I was prescribed Citalopram, 20mg to start, and then put on a waiting list for a counsellor. When I was given my prescription, I was advised that it can take up to 2 months for the effects of the medication to start working, but I should start to notice improvements after 30 days. 30 days? I asked if they had anything that would work now, and I was advised of betablockers, but they weren’t keen. I was assured that Citalopram was the right one for me, as it was the most common to be prescribed for Depression/Anxiety, with the best results. Well what can you say to that? You want the best results, right? I took the prescription and started my medication that day.

My first couple of days were OK, I even felt like they were working, of which I know was totally all in my head. Complete placebo effect, as they had not been in my system nearly long enough. Did that matter though? Well, no. Not if it made me feel better. I was looking at things more positively, this medication was the answer to all my problems and it was going to bring the old me back. Right? Well, no. My optimism lasted but a few days, my feeling of fear hadn’t gone, despite me knowing I wouldn’t feel better for nearly two months. I wanted results, and I wanted them yesterday. Why wasn’t I feeling better yet? I started to feel quite poorly, if I remember rightly I had a cold or something, but naturally, I’d convinced myself that my medication was doing this to me. I made the big mistake of reading the side effects of Citalopram. Yeah, don’t do that. In fact, if you’re reading this and have anxiety, I urge you to take all the little leaflets inside all of the boxes of medication you have and throw them out. These side effects are worst case scenario and are put on these leaflets, for the 1 in a however many chances it would ever happen, to cover their backs.

Reading that leaflet sent my anxiety into overdrive; Stiff muscles? Umm well yeah. Check. Sweating? Check. Irregular heartbeats? Check. Agitation? Definitely check. Seizure?? What? Umm, well probably now yes! I started to hyperventilate. I was beside myself. What had this doctor given me? Was he trying to kill me? Naturally I went into full blown panic mode, and had to be peeled off the ceiling. My partner phoned the doctors surgery, and I was given an emergency appointment. Well of course this was an emergency. I’m clearly taking a reaction to this medication you gave me. What use is medication if it makes you worse? I was now crying with fear and frustration at the whole situation. Why can’t someone just help me? Why couldn’t someone have the answer to make it go away?

When at the doctors, I had my blood pressure and breathing checked. Was that it? I mean seriously, this medication could have killed me. I then had it explained to me that everything was fine, they had no concerns that the medication was causing any of these symptoms and that it was my Anxiety. To say I was unamused, would be a gross understatement. Here we are again, “Umm, it’s all in your head, now bore off please”. I get this is not what was said, but in my mind, it may as well have been. I was then asked if I’d tried 7/11 breathing. Well no, never heard of it. They explained that when I feel overwhelmed like that, I was to breathe in for the count of 7, then out for the count of 11. Try it, it’s not as easy as you think. Well not for an ex-smoker. They then told me to never read these leaflets within medication voluntarily. This, apparently, is one of the worst things an Anxiety sufferer can do. This, and google symptoms. If I got a £1 for every time I googled a symptom and ended up in a blind panic, then at the GP or A&E, I’d never need to work again. I bet you didn’t know you’re reading the blog of a woman who has successfully overcome many heart attacks, strokes, all different types of cancer, brain haemorrhage, stomach ulcer etc. Yup. I’m quite a woman.


Going home and realising, yet again, this was all in my head, and that I had wasted even more of my doctor’s time was upsetting. I just needed this to be over. I was a mess. I just had to wait the two months I was advised, and assume that all symptoms felt in the next few weeks were all in my head. Sounds simple and matter of fact, but it wasn’t. It was far from in fact. Those few weeks waiting for my medication to work, were tough. I felt detached from reality pretty much all of the time, I wasn’t sleeping/eating right, I was an emotional wreck. All whilst having to look after 3 kids under the age of 5, with a man who was about as much use a chocolate tea pot. I had absolutely no support network what so ever, and lived 20miles away from my nearest family member. So, to say I felt lonely would be an understatement. These few weeks of waiting, and the months to come, were by far the darkest times of my life.

I relied on No More Panic a lot for their support. Even going back over some of my old posts I see how needy I was, and to me now it’s somewhat embarrassing, but at the time they were all I had. I couldn’t leave the house, I had no friends, not even one, no support, and I was going it alone. I spent most days/nights in their chat room, speaking to people. Some of them I still have in my social network today and who I’m very happy to see are doing so well. The chat room would often do quizzes in an evening, or some sort of game. Sounds cheesy but it was a bit of light hearted fun, that helped to distract us from the reality of what we were all facing when we logged off. Speaking with my online friends made me realise I was not alone with regards to my diagnosis, medication, symptoms etc. I could discuss with them how I was feeling, and at least one person in the room would get it. That was all I needed, was to know I wasn’t alone, and whatever I was going through was ‘normal’ to at least one other person.

What did I do when I wasn’t online? I looked after my kids, cooked and cleaned. That was my existence, being Mum. My partner at the time, wasn’t of any real help, both emotionally or with the family/home. Our relationship was toxic, and I believe this is a huge contributor as to why I ended up this way.  I became so low that I would often think of just ending it all. I couldn’t do this anymore. I was so alone. I was permanently exhausted and I was struggling to be the Mum my kids needed and deserved. I would often think about my life, my anxiety, my toxic relationship, was I good mum? Would the world be better off without me and my drama? Does anyone love me? I remember that being a big question. Who actually loves me? Who can love me?  I’m a mess. No-one wants to be around me. Hell, I don’t even want to be around me, but I’m stuck. I honestly loathed myself. When you’re feeling low and isolated, it’s so easy to just assume that no-one loves you. I think it’s because we’re finding it hard loving ourselves, so cannot possibly fathom that someone else out there that cares. Well I did have someone, in fact I had 3 little someone’s. I needed to woman up for them, they needed a Mum that could care for them, and they loved me very much. If you have read my post on PMA, you will know that I need to find the one good thing in every situation, well my kids have always been mine. As hard as it was to do, I got up every day and I got myself back into a routine. Albeit, leaving the house was now an issue, and my routine may have been a bit sketchy at times, but the point is I got up and I tried. I wasn’t perfect and I wasn’t better, but I was doing the best I could to manage my Depression/Anxiety, but still try and be the best possible Mum I could be.

In my second month of being on Citalopram, I did notice a difference. I was calmer. The Anxiety didn’t magically go away, I wasn’t suddenly happy and all my troubles had gone, but I was calmer. I cried less and I coped more. Medication is not a magic wand, but it does help. As you can imagine, I was still upset by this. I was expecting this to be my magic cure, and it wasn’t. This was literally the beginning to me learning to manage my issues, the first stepping stone if you will. When I went back to my Doctor for a check-up I was put up to 40mg of Citalopram, and by the time I went to see a counsellor I was up to 60mg. This was a very high dose that helped to keep the severe symptoms at bay, but in turn made me incredibly tired/groggy and my panic attacks were not kept at bay for long. This would later be attributed to the fact that I suffer from low blood pressure, meaning if my blood pressure gets too low, my body gives me a surge of adrenaline, thus making me feel I’m about to panic, and inevitably I do. Whilst the medication helped, it’s not the sole reason I managed my Anxiety. The rest of it was down to me, the medication only dulled the symptoms, to allow me more time to focus. I’m not sure exactly when I got my appointment for my counsellor, all I know is; I wasn’t there that long, maybe only 6 months. I would go to see her every 2 weeks for an hour, and we’d just sit and have a chat about things that had been going on with me; Did I have any panic attacks recently? Any major stresses? How were things with my partner? How was I coping with the kids? Etc. Counselling helped me to see I was completely miserable with all aspects of my life, not just one or two things. I was in a very bad relationship, I was grossly overweight, I had no friends, no support network as my family were 20miles away, I lived in a city I didn’t particularly like and I didn’t have a job.  So, first things first, I sat with her and discussed all the things about myself and my life, that I could change for the better. This is when I realised that the only person who could help me, was me. Fact. I had spent these few months waiting for the right person or the right medication to wave a magic wand and make everything ok, and now I knew this was never going to happen. It was all down to me.

I took stock of my life, what was important, what I needed to change, and I just went for it. I knew things had to change, I was miserable. I started by ending my toxic relationship. By far, the best thing I have ever done. You do not need toxic people in your life, it’s far too short to have them making you unhappy. I then had to address the fact I hated not working and that I had a poor education. I went back to work for a bit, but then enrolled into college, of which was another great decision. I love that I chose to go back and get my education, and I love that I have made some lifelong friends in doing so. In fact, it was going back to college that helped me immensely with my Anxiety. That is not to say it wasn’t difficult, it was especially difficult. It involved me going into a building with lots of strangers, putting me into crowds, queue like systems on the stairs and in the halls, sitting in a class with strangers etc. I had a dry mouth and sweaty palms most days, and I relapsed back onto medication at one point. Despite that, I still don’t regret it. Exposing myself to these situations, and forcing myself to get up and do, has helped me to better understand how to cope and my personal boundaries. I was 25 when I went back to college, so imagine my shock when on my first day I was put into a class full of pubescent boys, only for the tutor to realise my age and then shift me into the ‘mature students’ class. Both nervous and offended, I slinked to the back of my new class where I just sat staring at the board, never daring to look at someone else. What if they looked back? Caught my eye and then I’d have to speak, or feel the need to smile. Umm no thanks. I stayed very quiet for the first few days, but soon warmed up in class discussions. It was then I got talking to a few girls in my class, and realised I knew one of them from years before. We hit it off, and she is one of my best friends to this day. The next three years in college, were some of the best years of my 20’s. I would elaborate more here, but I feel that time of my life is a blog of its own.

The moral to my story is; Take all the help from your doctor that you can, they do know what they’re talking about, but be prepared for the positive changes to come from you. You need to find out what it is that makes you unhappy and what makes you happy. Make a list if you must. Assess the things in life you can change, and those you can’t. The ones you can change – do it. It won’t be easy, and more than likely the decisions you will be faced with will be tough, but they’ll be a step in the right direction to you changing something that makes you unhappy, into something that makes you happy.

You don’t look anxious to me!

I don’t look anxious to you? Well that is fantastic, hold on a moment whilst I just inform my brain to stop my insides from trembling, my thoughts from racing at 100mph, my mouth to stop being dry, my vision to straighten out and my heart to stop pounding out of my chest, because hey, I don’t look it.

If you are someone who suffers from an Anxiety condition, I’m sure you will have been on the receiving end of this statement, and we can agree on how infuriating it is. What is it that they’re trying to suggest with this statement? Are we just making our condition up? Why yes, you’re right, I’m not anxious at all now you point out how calm I look. Fantastic. Who needs doctors, counsellors and medication. You sir are a legend.

To those of you reading my blog who do not have an Anxiety condition, and who think, or worse, say that statement to someone who has, don’t! You have absolutely no idea the implications this statement will have on someone like me. All you will do is set off another bout of anxiety, or make the current bout worse. We will start to think things like “Do they think I’m making this up? Do they think I’m a hypochondriac? I’m doing their head in now with all my moaning, they’re getting fed up” or “Maybe I’m not anxious, if they cannot see my, obvious to me, physical symptoms. Maybe there is something more sinister at play here…” And here we have started a negative cycle of thoughts and self-doubt. Now our palms are sweating, our heart rates have increased even more, we cannot have a single positive thought, the walls are now closing in and our anxiety is crippling us on the inside. On the outside? We are probably smiling through it. Looking quite calm. No doubt quiet, as there is no way to hold a conversation when Anxiety takes hold, as it’s taking all our energy to ride out the next wave of panic.

Everyone who suffers from Anxiety, suffers differently. The way I suffer will be different from you, as will the way I cope. There are some generic symptoms that are the same i.e. quickened heart rate, shortness of breath, muscle cramps, headaches, dry mouth, upset stomach, vomiting, shaking, numbness of the hands and/or feet, insomnia, and dizziness. I have suffered all of these, and during a bad flare up, I will get pretty much all of them at one time. In the beginning, I would get these, and I suppose it may have been obvious to people I was having these symptoms. You know why? Because I would usually be mid freak-out and whoever was with me would have me say “Oh my god, my hands have just gone numb. I think I’m having a stroke. Is my face drooping. Wait I think I can feel my face drooping. It is, right I need to get to the hospital” or “I can’t breathe, my heart feels like it’s going to explode and I have a pain in my right arm. I’m having a heart attack”. Now that I’ve lived with these symptoms long enough, my head still thinks these things, and I still worry that I just might have something more sinister wrong with me, but I know I’ve been here before and I just need to ride it out. So, unless I’m explicitly telling you what is going on in my head, and that my head is pounding, my heart is racing and my arm aches, how would you possibly know?

I spend my entire life in a state of feeling anxious. I have days where I cope better than others. My good days usually are due to positive people and positive encounters. For me, distraction is key. I keep my head buried in my work for one. I love my job, and most of the people I work with are fantastic. They are just upbeat, positive people, who manage to generate conversations of utter nonsense half the time, but it’s a conversation that isn’t about health concerns or Anxiety, so my mind is completely distracted and for a time I forget. If I’m highly stressed, or something significant has happened, I find even positive people and encounters cannot help, as my mind will be far too gone with the Anxiety to be able to let the positive thoughts in. On my more anxious days, I will be more quiet, possibly not as smiley, but my symptoms are not visible. My colleagues cannot see that I’m shaking on the inside, that my palms are sweaty, my heart is racing and I just feel like I want to run and I don’t really know why. They don’t know/see this, but does that mean it’s not happening? No.

To all of you dealing with this condition every day, who doubt themselves, their diagnosis, their sanity, and who have had to put up with the statement “Well you don’t look anxious to me”, remember this; This is your daily struggle, not theirs. Mental illness is not something that can be seen, but it is felt. You know how hard it is to get up every day and deal with how you feel, and you know how much you achieve each day just to do what a ‘normal’ person does without a second thought. Never let someone make you feel like you’re making it up, or that you’re a hypochondriac. If they don’t understand, try to calmly explain to them what having an Anxiety disorder really means, and the real struggles it poses. Send them to helpful websites with lots of information, to help educate their narrow mind. If they’re not willing to educate themselves, or they still pose the same view, then you need to consider if you need that kind of negativity. We don’t need nor want to be wrapped in cotton wool, but what we do need each day, to be able to cope ourselves, is a little understanding. We don’t need someone to hold our hand and walk us through life, but we do need someone to appreciate that whilst we don’t need a walking aid, we still find it hard.

For all my fellow Anxiety suffers – You are awesome. If you are up, dressed and contemplating a day that scares you, but doing it anyway, you are one strong badass. Don’t let anyone let you believe any different.

How Anxiety changed me for the better

When people look at pictures of me as a toddler, I get comments like “You were so cute”. I had long blond hair, big brown eyes, and cute smile, so what went wrong? As I grew up, I started to become awkward looking; my eyes just looked bug like, my nose became large and crooked, and my adult teeth came in squint. This lead to my rather perceptive peers pointing out my flaws relentlessly. My reactions to being called names could have been better, other than me lashing out and giving them more fuel for the fire. I was a child after all, and I didn’t exactly get the best of advice on how to deal with the bullies either. My mum would say “Walk away and smile, they hate that”, and my Dad would say “Kick them where it hurts”. Neither were supportive or helpful, just conflicting and left me wondering what I was supposed to do. I would try to stick up for myself, but these kids would often be in groups so I would feel too intimidated to do anything. When you are bullied it changes how you see yourself and how you trust/see others. For me, it gave me a huge chip on my shoulder and made me quite a bitter girl. I developed a terrible attitude and I took my moods and frustrations out on everyone around me.

At the age of 11, the bullying made me so miserable I was now going home and crying most nights and I began to dread School. Even my supposed friends were joining in. My Mum took me to the doctor to see what they could do, and I was referred for Rhinoplasty . Around a year later I was sent an appointment for the surgery. I was elated, this was going to fix all of my problems. The day after my surgery, I was allowed to get up and go to the toilet. Looking at my reflection in the mirror, I was quite taken back. I had a huge cast over my nose, which was taped over my cheeks and forehead. My eyes were all puffed out and were a horrible yellow/purple colour. I just hoped this was all going to be worth it. Two weeks later I had the cast removed, and I was gutted. I didn’t look that much different, and I felt the same. My first day back at school, a group of girls approached me and I kid you not, one of them said “Does this mean you’re like Cher now and can’t sit in the sun?” The silly mare clearly thought that plastic surgery meant you get plastic put into your face. The level of ‘what the %*@!?!’ cannot even be described. I didn’t even answer her and kept going. I generated a lot of interest from people after my surgery. Especially from people who never gave me the time of day before. You would think this would make me happy right? Wrong. This just really annoyed me. I’d had surgery on my nose, not a personality transplant. I was the same person. This only made the chip on my shoulder bigger, and my attitude worse. I now hated people and did not care one iota what they thought of me either.

I spent the rest of my teens and early 20’s with a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude. My motto was very much “like me? Don’t like me? Don’t care”. I would just open my mouth, spew out words, and if you were offended? Tough. You just needed to man up. My sister actually wrote inside my birthday card for my 21st that she was unable to find tact as a gift, as this was a running joke that I was never blessed with any. I had no tolerance for anyone or anything. I didn’t like people, and I didn’t care if they didn’t like me. I had managed to build a pretty awesome wall around myself, which protected me from being hurt emotionally.

Then BANG, Anxiety/Depression struck. The floodgates opened and I became exposed and fragile. The slightest thing could be said and I’d break. I didn’t cope with this at all. My wall was gone and with it was the ability to deal with anything. All of these emotions were flooding in daily and I had no way to deal with them. I started to care about how I looked, what people thought of me, how I came across etc. I even cared about the things I said to people, perhaps even a too much. I was having conversations with people, then walking away, playing the scenario over in my head. Scrutinising every word that was said, their responses, their facial expressions, trying to figure out if they liked me or not. It was a very alien feeling for me and I hated it. No longer was I ‘me’ anymore, I had become a stranger to myself. I was now a scared and timid young girl, who was completely lost in her own mind.  I was getting my head around my diagnosis, but I was also having to discover these new aspects of myself, learn how to deal with them, but most of all learn to embrace them. I really struggled with this. I missed my old self. I wanted to not care. Sometimes, even now, I miss parts of the old me. She was feisty, fearless, and somewhat carefree. The old me would never have stood for this ‘Anxiety’ nonsense, she would have manned up and got on. So why couldn’t I just do that? Why couldn’t I just get over it?  I don’t have the answer I’m afraid. I honestly do not know why I couldn’t just ‘get over it’, all I do know is; if I could, I would.

I went to counselling for a few months and I found this really helped me manage my emotional state. I was able to understand where these emotions were coming from and how to better handle them. My counsellor helped me come to terms with my mental illness, the fact I was now different, and the fact the old me wasn’t coming back. Thanks to my counsellor helping me do this,  I have completely reshaped who I am as a person, my thoughts, beliefs, outlook on life, perspectives, wants, needs and more. I also discovered how to be empathetic, thoughtful and just generally care about others. Sometimes I’m guilty of caring too much now, of which I can find overwhelming. I guess you can say I’m still learning how to manage my emotions, and it’s not always easy.

I spent my 20’s discovering the new me, my friend and I call this period of my life, my ‘mid 20’s crisis’, as not all of my discoveries were positive. I have tried in vain to build that wall back up, to try and protect myself as much as I can from being hurt, but it will never be what it was. To protect myself now, I keep my circle small. I don’t let people in, as doing so will only increase my chances of being let down/hurt. This isn’t to say I’ve not made the heinous mistake of letting my guard down from time to time, however, this has only ever assured me of why I like to keep it up. I make sure the people in my circle are open and honest, you know, ‘a spades a spade’ kind of people. I don’t like second guessing what people mean, or trying to read between the lines, just tell me how it is.  I’m already going to replay every single social encounter I have when I try to sleep at night, so being around people I know I can trust and who tell it like it is, means I’m not having to do this half as much.

In spite of everything, I actually have to thank Anxiety/Depression, for the woman I am today. Without it, I wouldn’t have made all of these self-discoveries and changes. I am a long way from the feisty, fierce, and somewhat carefree girl, but I’m also a long way from being content and happy with who I am. Who knows, I may never be fully content. All I do know is; I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, just as everyone is not mine, but I’m confident that I’m a good person, and that, for now, is enough for me.

What is PMA and how does it help me

PMA stands for Positive Mental Attitude, and it’s something that I need to get through a day. When you are going through depression/anxiety, it’s difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Your day can feel hopeless and you can feel completely powerless to change it. All it takes is one tiny moment to send you into a spiralling wreck, whereby you’re holding on by a thread. Everything in your life can feel negative, you feel useless and the people around you just don’t get it. All in all, it feels like there is nothing positive. Well, there is. There is always something positive in every situation. Doesn’t matter how small it is, you need to find it, recognise it, and hold onto it.

I have gone through many bad times in my life, as has everyone. I found that once my Anxiety began, I was unable to deal with difficult situations. I had become unable to make an important decision for fear of it being wrong, unable to make plans for fear of the plans not being a success, and unable to just do what felt like basic everyday tasks because of the overwhelming fear. This was, until, I discovered PMA. What I do now is I do a risk assessment for every situation/decision. I think about the worst-case scenarios and then I think about the positives. So doing something may cause me to be scared, but then I focus on the outcome and the sense of achievement I get from being able to successful complete the task in hand.

Out of everything in my day that makes me scared or even just a little bit worried, I need to find the positive to help me through. For example; I hate shopping, and I especially hate supermarkets. This probably comes from the fact I hate crowds and I associate it with my first ever public panic attack. It could also be because I’m claustrophobic, and I have social anxiety as well as G.A.D, which makes me flustered in crowds. When I stand in long queues for long periods of time, it makes me feel uneasy and I get sweaty palms and a quickened heart rate. Whilst I know it’s not rational, the fear is always there. Now how many times in a week do you think I visit a supermarket? It may surprise you to know, it’s nearly every day. I make myself go. Sometimes I’m ok when I go in, and this is usually because I go at a time where I know it won’t be too busy, or I go with someone who makes me feel safe/secure. I have other days where I find it hard, as maybe the shop is packed, and it’s loud and overwhelming. I have had times where I’ve walked into a shop and got as far as the first aisle and thought “Nope, I’m out!” and I have left without anything I’ve needed. But for the most part it’s my PMA that allows me to push myself and do something that scares me. If I’m walking in, and my chest starts to pound, my initial reaction is to just leave, but I don’t. I will tell myself “It’s ok, you know you’re ok. You have done this before, in fact, many times before and everything will be fine”. I literally chant this to myself in my head, assuring myself I’m OK. If I have someone with me, I will use them to distract my thoughts. Keep the conversation positive and upbeat. Talk about something funny that happened in work, or movies/music that I’m liking at that given time. Anything that will keep the negative thoughts/feelings at bay. Then, once I leave the shop I feel a sense of relief & achievement. Now, to some reading this they may be thinking “Settle down love, it’s only going shopping”, well to me, it’s a big deal. Always has been, and probably always will be. So, what is the positive in making myself walk into a shop every day when my anxiety will flare up? It’s knowing that I can do it. It’s the feeling of achievement and knowing that my anxiety has not held me prisoner. It’s knowing that I’m in control.

This will not always work for me 100% of the time, like I mentioned before I have abandoned a shop when I feel too overwhelmed. I’m an advocator of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and doing things that scare me, but I’m also aware of boundaries and not pushing myself too far. I know my limits and I know, depending on how I’ve slept, my mood, and how my anxiety has been of late, will determine how far I can push myself on any given day.

I have also found that surrounding myself with positive people helps. Moods are contagious, so if you’re around people who are constantly negative and who bring the mood down, you will always be in a negative mindset. I surround myself with people who keep a positive attitude and who I feed off, to help spur on my positive thoughts and moods. Negative people; people who are just not nice, who have nothing nice to say/offer, moody, put you down, put others down etc, are people I must avoid. I find I take them personally, even if their negative energy is not directly aimed at me,  this can just ruin any attempt at PMA.

A recent example of this was only a few weeks ago; It was a Monday, the sun was shining, I was on time for work, the kids had got up without a fuss, so all in all, the day was going well. I had a lot be positive about. I got into work and was met by someone who was in a bad mood, and they felt the need to project this onto me. Now this person is someone I like and respect, so I found I took this particularly hard. I couldn’t believe how I had been spoken to, and I couldn’t fathom why, I hadn’t done anything wrong. Or wait, had I? This then caused me to start overthinking the conversation. What had I done wrong? Did they just not like me? No, they must hate me to speak to me this way! They think I’m a joke! Maybe I am. Maybe I just shouldn’t speak to people. No wait, I must speak too much. Am I just doing their head in? These thoughts raced through my brain, as I felt my eyes well up and my bottom lip go. I had gone from being in such a good, positive mood, to now feeling so low and pathetic, that I was now crying at my desk. I left the office and sat in a toilet cubical and sobbed. Deep down I knew I was being irrational. I knew I wasn’t these negative thoughts, but being someone who overthinks everything and someone who has such low confidence and a low opinion of myself, it’s hard to bounce back from a negative encounter such as this. I then started to feel really silly and embarrassed, like everyone would know that a grown woman had just been sat sobbing in the loo’s like a small child. I just had to take a moment. I needed to think rationally about what was happening here, as I could feel the anxiety creeping in. I could feel the overwhelming urge to just run out the door and run home to curl up in bed. I just needed to breath. I did my 7/11 breathing and put my wrists under the cold tap. I looked at myself in the mirror and I told myself “You are a good person. No-one hates you and no-one thinks you’re silly! Hell, no-one even knows you’re in here”. I just had to keep assuring myself that I’m a good person and no-one hates me. This is their problem that they’re this way, not mine. It may have taken me about 10 minutes or so, but I calmed down. I was then able to compose myself and go back to my desk. I then messaged this person to ask if I had done something to upset them, and I was assured they were just in a mood and to not take it personally. Now I do believe that had anyone else been on the receiving end of this negativity, it would have washed over them, as they would have realised it was just someone in a bad mood. Heck, we all have them right? Days when we’re not in the mood. But to someone like me, it hits us hard. We take it as a personal attack.

I would love to say I got my positive mood back, but I didn’t. I felt depersonalised (detached from reality) for the rest of the day, of which completely hindered my productivity, as I was now having to concentrate 200% harder than ever. What was the positive here then? Well, you know what, I managed to calm myself down. I didn’t run for the door and run home to curl up in bed. I didn’t let this person completely ruin my day and I didn’t let my anxiety control me. This was my positive from what was a very low day, and I clung to that.

Every day is a struggle when you suffer from Anxiety. It feels like you’re swimming against a strong current, as everything takes so much effort. Your mind is constantly on the go, of which causes you feel like you’re in a permeant state of exhaustion.  Life in general just feels so hard at times, and often we can make the big mistake of comparing our struggles to those around us. We look to other people and think things like “I wish I was carefree like them”, or “they don’t appreciate how easy they have it”. First bit of advice here; STOP comparing yourself to others. You don’t know their struggles, and they don’t know yours. Their struggles, or lack there of, depending on how you’re looking at them, is none of your business. Concentrate on you and you alone. Second bit of advice; Keep positive! Celebrate the little successes in a day. If your success today is that you left the house for a pint of milk. That is not menial. That probably took all the courage and energy you had today, and you have probably felt completely drained from having done it. Celebrate it and don’t let it go by as something small. This was a huge deal, and you did it!

I know it might seem impossible to find the positive in every situation, but try it. I would be keen to know of your struggles, and how you celebrate your successes. Feel free to comment below or even drop me an email.

My story of when Anxiety took hold

Where to begin? I guess from the very start…

Around 10 years ago, I was sitting minding my own watching my usual evening T.V programs when all of a sudden I couldn’t breath. My chest was tight, my breathing and heart rate quickened, what was happening to me? I must be dying! It must be a heart attack. I was taken to the hospital where it was decided I was OK. Umm excuse me, no, I was not ok, I just suffered a major heart attack. Didn’t I? That’s definitely what it felt like, or what I imagine one would feel like. I had a doctor sit me down and explain that all of my vitals were fine, bloods and urine was fine. However, the whole time he was talking I was just thinking “Do them again. This is wrong. You’re wrong. The medical system is wrong. I’m dying”.

I left the hospital sobbing. I felt unsupported, cheated, lied to, hurt, patronised, embarrassed and scared. These feelings didn’t leave me any time soon, and the very next day I had another ‘heart attack’. I called NHS24, to be told to calm down. I’m sure it wasn’t as simple or as straight to the point as that, but it’s certainly what it felt like. Over the next few days I had more of these ‘heart attacks’, I was besides myself. What was wrong with me? Am I dying and they’re just not telling me?

An appointment was made with my G.P, although I had no faith that they would be able to help me. What use would a G.P be if an ER doctor couldn’t diagnose the fact I’m clearly very very ill. When I got to the surgery I was given a doctor I’d never had before, so this naturally had me believing the appointment was totally pointless. I still remember the day well, although not the doctors name unfortunately, I just remember he was a middle aged man, slender, softly spoken and probably the first/best start to my getting help. He walked me in and sat me down, he sympathetically listened to my somewhat incoherent ramblings of our failed medical system and why I needed someone to take me seriously. He calmly said that he would do everything he could to help me, there and then, and that he recognised I needed to be checked. He sent me to the nurse for blood and urine samples to be taken, when I returned he took my blood pressure and listened to my heart and lungs. Then we just spoke for a bit.

During our conversation I had revealed that I was a Mum to 3 children under the age of 5, and I was only 22 years old. He also asked about how I coped with this, what else did I have going on, and had anything big happened in my life recently? Well it had; around 3 months prior I had hemorrhaged in my womb, which had lead to me ending up in hospital. I had hemorrhaged that badly, I required 3 blood transfusions before I was able to receive anesthetic for the operation, I then hemorrhaged during the surgery and required a further 2 transfusions when I was back on the ward. I nearly died. The last thing I had said to my children before this happened to me was “Goodnight, love you, see you in the morning”, but they nearly didn’t see me in the morning. The experience was scary and I guess traumatic, but as soon as I was well enough to go home to my kids, I hot footed out of the hospital. I hate hospitals, always have, absolutely no intentions of staying longer than required. I didn’t dwell on the situation. In fact, I dare to say it wasn’t even a thought. I was just happy to be better and home.

I believe the G.P asked this, due to having looked at my medical history and realising that this was probably a pretty significant thing to have happen. He went on to explain that he feels that I may have been suffering from ‘Anxiety’, and continues to explain that this is a very common thing, especially when people can feel overwhelmed and have significant triggers happen in their lives. This was not the answer that I wanted to hear. I was essentially being told that this is all in my head, I’m making it up, it’s not real. When it is real. It’s physical, It hurts. I cried. No, I sobbed. I was devastated at his proposed diagnosis and again, refused to believe it.

When leaving the surgery that day, I felt worse. Even more patronised and humiliated. I refused his diagnosis and I refused his suggestion of medication and a referral to talk to someone. The days went by and these attacks got worse. I stopped eating, my stomach was in knots, I sat in a permanent state of fear. I longed for sleep, as I was sooo tired and drained, but I couldn’t switch off. My thoughts were racing a 100mph, I was thinking about thinking, then overthinking the thinking about thinking. It was horrible situation to be in. It felt like I was losing my mind. The level of anxiety I was now feeling, left me in a permanent heightened state, that rendered me unable to function daily, and definitely not able to leave the house. Oh no, I wasn’t going outside for everyone to see the mess I had become. They’d know. They’d see that I was now crazy!

It was at this point, my Mum came to stay for a few days. Naturally I got the whole ‘pull yourself together’ talk, of which was of no help what so ever, it just made me feel even more out of control, as if it were that easy would I not have done it? Who actually wants to be in a situation where they cannot eat, sleep or function? I know the words came from a place of good intention, but that didn’t mean they were helpful. My Mum then decided I wasn’t staying in the house anymore, I was to get up, get dressed and get to the shop. First stop? Asda. Yup, busy supermarket. As I walked in the door I felt my heart pounding out of my chest, the lights were so bright I could barely see. People were looking at me, they must see I’m not right. They know. They know I’m crazy. My thoughts are racing, and I’m trying to keep pace with my Mum, but now I can’t breathe. I’m on the ground, gasping for air. I now have a crowd around me and my Mum telling me to get up. I can’t. I can’t breathe, I can’t see. I hear someone shout “Someone get a first aider, she’s having an asthma attack”.  My Mum is trying to tell them I’m ok, I don’t have asthma. She manages to get me off the floor and get me out to the car. I sat in that passenger seat and shouted at her. This was all her fault. Why did she make me do this. Then I just burst into tears. The realisation of what had happened. I had just shown the world I was a crazy!

Another appointment was made with my G.P for the next morning, and it was the same doctor. This time my Mum came in with me and she proceeds to tell the doctor I’m not coping and he needs to help me. I let out a sob “Just tell me, am I crazy?”, to which he replied “No. Do you know why I know? Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy”. After another long chat, with my Mum and I, he strongly urged me to accept his suggestion of medication and a referral for someone to talk to. I’m pleased to say I did, and that it was the first step on my journey to be able to better manage my Anxiety.