Anxiety, Acne, and Roaccutane! – Week 5

I know I said I would update after day 30, but, once I’d had my check up appointment with my dermatologist, they decided to up my dose from 20mg to 30mg. With this being done, I thought it best to hang off and see if there were any changes in the side effects, before I posted again.

Around week 3 I started to have more spots surface. I have some cystic ones around my jaw, that are quite small, not as sore as normal, but still a hard, red lump under the skin. I have then gotten quite a few whiteheads around my chin/lips & cheek bones. Having these surface was a little annoying, especially with how quickly my other spots had started to dry up within week 1/2. I had read online that you can get an initial break out, like your skin is fighting back, so I just attribute it to that.

When I entered my dermatologists office, the first thing he said was how great he thought my skin looked. Despite me having new spots, my skin is not nearly as red and aggravated. My complexion is a nice natural skin tone, just with some spots and hyperpigmentation, so this is really positive. I also have a lot of really dry patches all over my face and my body. I do have exceptionally dry skin, and I’m prone to patches of eczema (especially on my hands). My eczema can flare up with a change in products, hormones, stress etc, so it was no surprise it would be aggravated with Roaccutane, I was prepared for this.

I have been given some medicated gentle skin wash, as well as moisturiser & a steroid cream for my eczema. I find that this is really helping. I am also using Aveeno on my face, and this is an absolute godsend. This cream is just amazing, and it really calms my skin. It is a little bit pricey in comparison to other creams, but I highly recommend it. It’s suitable to use all over your body, it’s non-greasy, absorbs quickly, provides a barrier for your skin, and it really helps sooth my eczema.

When my dermatologist suggested I got up to 30mg, I had absolutely no concerns. Not even a single negative thought. I figure that if anything sinister was going to happen, it would have by now. I have been on the 30mg for just over a week, and the only thing I would say is my lips look awful. They are permanently dry, splitting and cracking. I lather lip balm on them, ones I’ve made myself  (beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter & orange essence), so I know they’re natural and nourishing, so I would hate to think how they would look if I wasn’t. I’m making a point of drinking as much water as I can, so as to keep myself hydrated, in the hopes this too will help my skin from being too dry.

The pores on my nose were starting to look really bad. Almost like they were opening up further? I made the mistake of exfoliating (against the advice of my dermatologist and every single site/forum for roaccutane) and I pretty much took the entire top layer of skin off my nose. This looked terrible. Although, my pores are actually looking better, but I still do not recommend  you do this at all. Thankfully, putting aveeno on my nose has helped it heal quickly, and it reduced the redness within 2 days.

With regards to my anxiety/depression, this has definitely not made it any worse. This was one of the biggest concerns for me (right up there with dying), and I’m happy to say, it’s not impacted my moods whatsoever. I’m just as moody/sad/anxious as I was before I started. All in all I’m very happy with the progress I’m making, despite my breakout. I understand that it will take time, and in the end I could potentially be spot free, making this 100% worth it.

The only thing I’m really not too happy about, is the fact I cannot have a glass of wine on a Friday night. I’m missing my Wineday 🙁 My Dermatologist has said, that with going to 30mg I could be off Roaccutane in 5 months, but, in 2 months if all is still going well, we will increase me to 40mg, so I may even get off these sooner. I could very well be sitting with a glass of wine in hand before the end of the summer months, all whilst being spot free. Now that is definitely a positive.

If you are reading this because you’re considering Roaccutane, I do hope that it’s helped. I will be sure and update again in the coming weeks. No news is good news in this instance, so if I don’t update again before my next appointment, all is going well.

What the actual f*ck is wrong with me?

Yesterday should have been a good day. One where I was happy, content, and proud of my efforts. Yet I managed to make myself feel the complete opposite.

Studying for an exam is always a bit meh. Finding time and peace to study is probably the hardest bit for me. Then there is the fact I’m a very visual and hands on kind of person. I honestly cannot just sit and read literature to take stuff in. I will read a paragraph and get to the end thinking “what the fuck did I even just read?”, then have to read it again and again. If I cannot envision something in my minds eye, I struggle to appreciate the concept, does that make sense?

Well, given all of this, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to not read the official books, and just watch training videos. I watched two sets of training videos over 8 weeks. I got to the day before my exam before I went back over the exam topics. I took each heading, googled it, and read the relating Cisco article/wiki page. It was at this point I realised that I didn’t know a lot of what I needed to know. There were nitty gritty bits I’d not even heard of, solutions that weren’t even touched on. Queue panic! I was awake until 11:30, trying to take in the information on these sites. It just wasn’t going in, mainly because I was reading tired, and in a bit of a panicked state.

I have then woken up at 3:30am, and convinced myself I have to study again. At first I tried some you tube videos, this was in vane. I then read back over my notes, just in case I had covered these things and just wasn’t remembering. Nope. No notes on them. I started to google things again, and go over the topics. Still feeling like I wasn’t taking anything in.

When I got to the test centre, I was so tired, but at the same time completely wired with nerves. I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t even do my signature. As the test started, I had convinced myself I was going to fail. I hadn’t studied properly, I didn’t know everything I needed to know etc. First question came up on the screen and it was such an easy one. One I could have answered just from doing my day to day job. The rest of the questions felt much the same. None of them appeared to be on these topics I tried to panic study. I then got a question about a particular product, and only because of my panic studying, I was able to make an educated guess based on the multiple choice answers of what it must be. Then there were a few more questions like that.

When the test finished, I had passed with 93%. I couldn’t believe it! I was so happy. My shaking got worse but this was happy, excited shaking. I started to well up as I got back to the car. All that stressing and studying had paid off. Or had it?

I had about an hours drive to get back to work. I started to think about the exam. My last minute cramming. The fact there were a lot of questions where educated guesses were made. I started to dwell on these questions and realise that without the multiple choice, I wouldn’t have known the answer. So did I deserve to pass? No. That was my conclusion. My being totally elated with passing, was short lived. The whole way back, I beat myself up for being a charlatan. I’d felt like I’d cheated. Like I didn’t deserve the pass.

What did I do next? Yup, you guessed it. I Debbie Downered the shit out of it. With every congratulations I got, especially with my high score, I felt the need to explain that I didn’t feel it was deserved. I also felt the need to reiterate that I got lucky with the questions, had it been another set of questions it may be a different story all together. This really got me down. The more I thought, and explained it, the worse and worse I felt.

Someone told me to be happy with the result, and explained that I’m a high stress person, who’s too self critical and that can “stress out the most laid back of people”. Ummm, thanks? Naturally this has been dwelling on my mind and now I’m worried that my disdain for myself is pissing others off. Very good. I have had people accuse me of using online cheating material, in a banterous way, but still, as you can imagine that has sent the panic flying; “what if they think I have cheated?!? I have made educated guesses on a lot of the questions, I don’t actually know what I’m talking about without the help of multiple choice. I don’t fully understand”. I had torn myself into pieces, and left myself feeling really shit about the whole thing. My boss joked that I could go back and resit it again if I really wanted, and a part of me thought I should. I actually took that into serious consideration.

After a couple of hours I had well and truly convinced myself that I just didn’t deserve the pass, or people’s congratulations. This was until I spoke to my friends. The ones who help me see the rational side of things. I had one tell me, that a pass is a pass, I did it on my own and it was deserved. Then another quite rightly pointed out that exams are just to show that you understand the concepts, that you are yet to implement, like a driving test. You can demonstrate that you can manoeuvre the car safely, but you don’t actually learn how to drive and be confident with it, until you’ve been out driving on your own for a while. I see their point, and my colleagues points too, but I still don’t feel happy like I think I should. I don’t feel like I deserve it.

In my counselling sessions, it has been touched on that there is a definite pattern of me not allowing myself to be happy. I have to put myself down. That is exactly what I’ve done. Why?!? Why must I do this! I have been studying so much in the last few weeks that I’ve barely seen my kids. I’ve been so moody, stressed and highly strung about the whole thing. I have passed with 93%!! And yes, with educated guesses, but for fuck sake, I did it! Me! Last minute cramming or not, I did it. I also know the topics I’m not 100% on, and I can now work on those.

Despite me knowing that I should allow myself to be happy, I just can’t. I am now also worried about how others in my work perceive me! Do they think I’m a charlatan? Does my being a Debbie Downer piss them off? Do I just piss them off? Do they even like me at all? Oh my god, just stop!! Like seriously! I need this shit to stop! I’m driving myself to distraction!

One of my best friends popped over last night and I was able to chat with them. It was great to get it all out and have them understand and help me see sense. I do fully appreciate how I’m being, but it’s hard to break a habit of a lifetime.

Positives here? Well, I’m now recognising the negative patterns and seeing that I need to break the cycle. How I do that I’m not too sure yet, but I have my appointment on Tuesday, where I will discus this with them. They have said that they’re going to help me retrain my thoughts, so I can have a more positive view of myself.

Now to get up, and try to enjoy my weekend and realise that I’m a good person, who works bloody hard and deserves my pass and to be happy! Easier said than done right? But, I’m at least going to try.

Second Appointment

Today was my second assessment, as my doctor from last week wanted to discuss my past further. For those of you who have read my previous blogs, you’ll know why this wasn’t easy.

Unlike last week I tried not to dwell on the appointment. I knew now, that I was going to be asked a series of probing questions, and that trying to prepare for them was futile. Around 2:30am my husband woke up to leave for work, and I woke up with him. From then, I pretty much lay awake, unable to get back to sleep. I tried listening to Spotify’s sleep playlist, and whilst I found it very relaxing, it didn’t help.

My mind was racing, but not about my appointment, just about a series of other things going on in my life right now. My exam, work, my feeling inferior at work, going over conversations with colleagues and scrutinising them. I was driving myself around the bend, just laying there, listening to melodic piano music, whilst my thoughts went out of control, and before I knew it, my alarm was going off.

By the time I got to work, I was like a complete zombie. This made me feel quite anxious, as it can often feel similar to depersonalisation. Like I’m walking around in a hazy dream. It’s a horrible feeling. I worry that I’m losing control, and one day, I won’t snap out of it. Have you seen the move “Get Out”? If not, brilliant film! There is a scene whereby the main character is hypnotised and gets lost inside his own head. I relate to that scene on so many levels. I am so scared of getting lost inside my own head. It’s such a dark and cold place, one that I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy.

Fake smiles, laughter, menial conversations and work, is how I got through my morning. Anything to distract myself from how tired, and anxious I was feeling. What I really wanted to do was run home and curl up in bed and forget about everything. No work. No worries. No menial conversations. No having to paint a socially acceptable face on. Just to crawl into my nice, warm, non-judgemental, bed that expects nothing of me.

On my drive to my appointment, I put one of my metal playlists on. Cranked my music up as high as I could stand, so as to drown out the thoughts. I just needed peace until I got there. I find that loud music is about the only thing that stops it. It’s so loud, that the bass is literally vibrating through my teeth. The sensory overload helps to dull the madness.

My knees were barely bent, when my name was called. I still felt very disorientated at this point, but no longer as anxious. When I sat down on the couch, I was given a quick recap of what we had discussed last week and what they wanted to discuss with me this week. I was first asked to talk about my childhood. What was my childhood like? What are my parents like? Am I close with them? Do I have siblings? Am I close with them? If I could describe my childhood with one word…? Given the previous questions, she didn’t seem shocked when my one word for my childhood was “shit”.

We literally went from where I was born, until I met my husband. We spoke of my shit childhood, my not being academic at school, being bullied, abusive relationship, drinking, drugs, and finally when I turned my life around. It was going through all of this, answering her probing questions that a pattern of self loathing has emerged. This isn’t a new thing. I’ve never had anything nice to say about myself. I’ve always thought I was ugly, stupid, not good enough etc. This has been with me since I was a little girl, and the behaviour is so deeply ingrained.

It was another very emotional meeting. I was quite shocked that I’d cried, because a lot of what we spoke about isn’t exactly deep dark secrets, and is pretty much common knowledge for the most part. I think it was the way in which they ask the question, it makes you think about your answer and actually take the time to realise what you’re saying. To realise that my childhood was NOT ok! My abusive relationship was NOT ok! My sister (only 10 years my senior) raising me, was NOT ok. Not having parents who gave a fuck about me more than money and alcohol, was NOT ok! To tell myself consistently that I’m ugly & useless is NOT ok.

We discussed what we thought would be the biggest issue I have; is it my anxiety or my depression? It was agreed that I’m depressed because of my anxiety. It makes me miserable with all the negative feelings it causes me. It has been suggested that I no longer go for the 20 sessions, but rather go for 12 sessions of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). They believe they can help me and give me exercises/homework to help me retrain my thoughts.

I’ve been left feeling quite sad after today’s appointment. It’s got me thinking about things, I haven’t thought about for years. This makes me both sad and angry. With my husband being away from home, this also means that I’m just sat here alone, playing the worlds smallest violin. Never a good thing!

I have chosen to write this blog now, as I knew that writing it all down would help. I’m certainly not feeling as bad as when I started. Now I think it’s time to try and switch off. I’m about to put a mindless TV show on, and hopefully just lose myself for an hour. No thinking, studying, or playing the violin.

The positives for me here, are that I’m making progress. That is my assessment done, and now I just need to wait for next weeks appointment when my CBT begins. Just think, in 12 weeks time, I could be starting to feel better? I could maybe have some positive feelings toward myself and my life? This is more than positive, that would be amazing.

I will be sure and update again next week, and hopefully will be able to share some techniques I’ve been given to work on.

Imma eat some worms

Not too sure about you, but I constantly think the world hates me. That everyone I talk to is fed up of me, that they just appease me because they’re too nice to tell me to do one. I genuinely do not believe that the people I interact with in a day (close friends aside), actually want anything to do with me. I leave every single conversation, scrutinising everything.

What is the deal? Why? Why must I do this to myself? Why must I care? O.o I’m cool with people not liking me, I get I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I think what gets me is they might be being nice to my face, but then not nice behind my back, or even just thinking to themselves that they want me to just f*ck off, but are too nice to say so.

As someone who is acutely self-aware, I pick holes in everything I do. It’s actually one of my obsessions. Myself. I am my own obsession. Not even in a good way. You know, not like I sit here thinking I’m da bomb, and marvel at how awesome I am. Instead, I sit and magnify all the negatives about myself. About how I look. How I sound (this is a new one, my voice, I now hate it), how I am as a person, my morals, how I live my life, am I a nice enough person?  I scrutinise it all, and I worry that if I see all these things, and it irritates me, how must I come across to others? What must they think when they see me? Do I repulse them, how I repulse myself? What about my acne? Do they think I’m not clean? It’s exhausting.

So what do I do? That’s right, I talk about myself, and all of my flaws, and short comings, quite publicly….a lot! Why? I think it’s because I want the world to know, I’m aware! I know I’m not good looking, I have skin issues, I’m fat, I’m not that clever, I know all the bad things about myself. More than anyone will ever appreciate, and I think I need the world to know, I know, so they don’t judge me and think I don’t.

Even writing that out, it sounds totally mental, but this is how I am. The very second I fuck up, I’m vocalising it to people. Otherwise I will worry someone will notice it and be all “Oh look, she fucked up again”, so I want to pip them all the post. How self-indulgent does that sound? This is me assuming that people care enough about my fuck ups to even have that reaction. I have convinced myself that everyone cares about all the things I self-obsess about. Then there is my appearance; as soon as I enter a conversation with someone I need to point out how crap my hair is, my new spots, my weight. As, again, I’ve convinced myself they’re judging me. Utterly self-indulgent. It’s so cringy.

Now I worry that I come across as narcissistic. This has been my new worry; “Here she is, talking about herself again”, is what I think they’re all thinking. Does this stop me talking about myself, laying it all bare, no? I need them to know, I know. It will then lead me into an anxious spiral, where I will replay everything I just said about myself, then think things like “Honestly, do you think they care? Get a grip and stop it”, followed by “You should have explained more, maybe they wouldn’t think you’re so self-obsessed … “. This then leads me to self-loath some more.

It is these thoughts, coupled with how a few people have been with me of late, that has lead me to the overall conclusion – No one likes me. That’s it. I have but a few friends. Other than this, the world just puts up with me, because they’re either too nice, or just two face – not made my mind up which yet. I’m sure I’ll overthink the shit out of this later, and categorise everyone into the group I think they best fit. Yes. I’m that sad.

Definitely not in a good place right now. My head is well and truly minced from all the thinking, self-loathing, obsessing, worrying, and stress. I’m feeling down and angry all the time. Taking it out on those closest to me, by being short and unreasonable. I know I’m doing it, but I can’t stop myself. I know I’m an absolute horror of a person. I watch it all play out, I hear myself, I cringe, and I hate it, yet I cannot stop it. The bubble of rage I feel about life in general just overwhelms me. So why rage? Why am I so angry? My life isn’t bad. I’m actually very lucky. I think it’s just certain situations, and some people, that I really let get to me.

I’m back to the whole, life is unfair, why me crap again. Add into that, the fact I’m now convinced that no-one likes me and their being nice is superficial, and my being self-obsessed, I’m absolutely wired with anxiety.

If I could honestly have anything in the world, just one wish, it would be simple. I just want to be happy. I’ve read so many self-help things, and they all say the same thing, that you need to learn to be happy with yourself and what you have. Why do I find this so difficult? Anyone looking at my life, would tell you, I have it pretty good.

So, what’s the plus side here? Where is my PMA? Have to admit, I’m bloody struggling to find any just now. About the only thing I can think of is, I have my psychology appointment next week. I’m both happy and nervous about it. This whole meeting a stranger, who I need to try and explain all the madness that is my thought process and try to make sense of it, so that they can tell me what is wrong with me, and how to make it kindly do one. I’m not naive enough to believe this appointment will be a magic wand, it’s just the first step of many. I just really want this to all go away L I’d even just settle for feeling content. I can forego happy for content. I just can’t deal with being this sad anymore.

Apologies for my PMA not quite being what it should be, but I cannot lie and be all upbeat when I’m really not feeling it. I will write again once I’ve had my appointment, as I’m sure I’ll have something to say – hopefully something more positive!

Enough of never being enough!

I am my own biggest critic. I’m sure I speak for nearly everyone when I say; nothing I do is good enough. I will always say that I could have done more. I will scrutinise my work/life, and strive for better.  Another thing I’m bad for, is beating myself up for how I am with others. I always scrutinise my social interactions and relationships. Wondering if what I said was offensive, doubting how people see me, not knowing how to deal with people, for fear of just getting it all wrong.

Well, let’s just say I’ve had an epiphany this week. You see, I am very much someone that has a black and white attitude toward people, as in; I either care about you, or I don’t. So, if you’re someone I respect/like, I would like to think you respect/like me back. If you didn’t, this would hurt me, because I like to think I’m a pretty nice person, so would assume it’s my actions that have made you not like me, thus leading me to over scrutinise our every interaction. However, if I don’t like/respect you, then what you think of me is neither here nor there. Does that make sense? I will not lose sleep over someone, I don’t care about. This even goes for work colleagues. I may not consider work colleagues to be friends, but if I like them and I respect them, I would be upset to think it wasn’t mutual. I am also a very firm believer that respect is earned, not commanded. People who insist on talking at people, rather than to them, really annoy me. I do not respond well to these people, and they definitely fall into the black.

I spend a lot of my life doing my best to appease those I like, for fear that my actions will cause them to dislike me somehow. Just another one of my stupid, time consuming, irrational fears. I will scrutinise our every interaction, sometimes even during the interaction, and I will beat myself up for things said, or even things that were unsaid. It’s exhausting. I will even look to message people, or talk to people after the fact and apologise, or say the things I think I should have said. Most of the time I get a rather meh response, because they genuinely didn’t notice, nor care. I often know this will be the response I’m met with, but I have to say something. Otherwise my brain will just continue to race about the situation, and it will drive me around the bend.

Lately I’ve had someone I class as a friend, just completely use me. The shit thing here is, I let them. I could see they were only out for their own selfish gain, and you know what, I let them do it anyway. I was so worried that I would lose them, I just let them treat me how they wanted. They are the kind of friend that is only ever interested in hearing from you when they’ve literally sod all else to do, or they want something. You know the ones? Completely selfish beyond all reason. They think nothing of you dropping what you’re doing to appease them, but would they so much as make a smidgen of effort for you? Would they hell. We all know someone like this. Now why, if I’m aware of how they are, have I even let them in close enough to use me? Well, after much thought (try a weekend of no sleep), I’ve come to the conclusion, that I like to jump through hoops for those that don’t care. I seem to have this deep seeded need to be enough for those, who will NEVER see me as enough. I work harder for these types of people. I do more. I need to be more. I need for them to like me. I need to be there for them, whenever they beckon. It’s sad, and it’s highly pathetic.

I may have had a little frustrated cry to myself on Friday. It wasn’t through being sad, it was 100% anger. The anger comes from me knowing this is completely my fault. I never listen to my inner rational voice, or those around me who see things for what they are. I always try to see good in people, when really the good is not there. I read a quote once, “You can’t stick a flower in an asshole and call it a vase”. I don’t know who said it, but it’s bloody good right? So true in this instance.

Not being good enough for my own standards, is tough going, but knowing that I’m not good enough for people I like/respect, definitely affects me more. I’m not letting toxic people affect me anymore. I am a good person, and I should be investing my time in the good people in my life. This ‘friend’, will definitely miss me before I miss them. I am so far removed from letting people use me. So, what is the positive here? I am reaffirming with myself that I am a good person, and I deserve to be treated with respect. From now on, I will not settle for any less. People will only treat you, how you allow yourself to be treated. Fact. From now on, I will not stand for being made a mug of, or being used. There is enough going on in my day-to-day life, without adding some Dawson Creek teenage drama to it. I’m sad/angry that someone has made me feel this way, but, also happy/relieved that I now see it for what it is, and can move forward.

If you have read this and think it may ring true for you, just get rid of the so-called ‘friend’. Cut them out, and if/when they ever try to weasel their way back in because they have nothing else doing, or they want something, take great pleasure in ignoring them. I would like to think this ‘friend’ is not stupid enough to attempt the latter with me, as they’ve been told directly to bore off. Although, I think I have to admit I clearly don’t know them that well, so you never know right? If/when they do, the pleasure of walking away will be all mine.

It’s so unfair

Children are stressful, but Teenagers are whole other ballgame..

To all the fellow parents out there, I’m sure you’ve all heard from your parents “I hope your child ends up half as bad as you were”. I know I have, many times. Well, did my parents get what they wanted or what? In the last 5 years, I’ve put up with so many things from my kids that I question my ability as a parent daily.

So far, my children have managed to have police at my house, more than once, social workers and I’ve nearly gone toe-to-toe with several Mum’s. I will do anything for my children, absolutely anything, to keep them safe, but this is all getting completely ridiculous now. When will it end? When will they realise that their behaviour is completely unacceptable? When they have their own kids and hear my words of “I hope your children are half as bad as you were” echo through their minds? I sincerely hope it doesn’t take that long.

I consider myself to be a strict parent. Things are very black & white in my house, as in, it’s either acceptable or it’s not. I don’t believe in having things be acceptable sometimes and not others, as this gives mixed messages. When I was growing up, I was blessed with a parent who personally did not give a flying hoot what I did, so long as it didn’t affect them in any way. If it did, however, that was a different story and usually resulted in me being thrown out. I swore, that my children would always know where they stand. Now, whilst I say I’m strict, I would also like to think I’m fair. Nothing I do or say should be a shock, as I will say things like “If you’re late home, I will take however long you’ve been late off you for tomorrow night”, or “I’m sick of the dishes either being left, or not being done correctly, so if it happens again, you’ll not be going out tomorrow”. I outline expectations and consequences quite clearly, yet, they still do as they damn well please. Not a single fuck is given in this house. This being said, they would describe as scary because I’m a shouter. Well, clearly, I’m not that scary, if I’m having to shout about the same old things, day in, day out, and they still do as they please.

All teenagers go through a rebellious stage, I know this. I of all people really do know this, but c’mon? 3 teenagers at once? All of them going through a Kevin, fuck you, I’m an adult, I know what the meaning of life is, bore off, phase. Can I just get a break? Completely exasperated over here.

I work full time, and when I’m not working I’m cleaning and spending time with the kids. They think the fact I ask them to do the dishes (we have a dishwasher, just thought I’d add that in), and clean their own bathroom, I’m being ‘unfair’. Then when I go to the cupboard to get something, I will spend the next 5 minutes essentially pulling the contents of it out, to wash it by hand, their excuse is “it’s the dishwashers fault, not mine, I did what I was told”. Shit you not. That is the excuse. Then there is their bathroom. A room you use to become clean, and I fear I’ll get hepatitis from just standing in it. Their excuse then? “Well they didn’t do it when it was their turn, so I didn’t do my turn”. What the actual…? What can you even say to that?  I don’t feel that I ask a lot of them, I just ask that they help me out. I don’t see why I should have to spend my days off cleaning, to then have to go back to work, so they can be lazy. How is that fair?

Totally at my wits end over here. Would be great to hear from other parents, to know If you have issues with your teenagers. What kind of discipline do you use? Do you feel it’s unfair to ask teenagers to do chores around the house? Do you think I give mine too much/little?


Adulting sucks

Adulting is tiring. Fact. We spend our whole youth willing mile stone birthdays. First we cannot wait to be 10, because this is double digits. Then we cannot wait to be 13, then 16, 18, and 21. We wish our youth away, as we’re so eager to grow and do as we please. Pffft how naive were we right? Adulting sucks!

I’m a married mother of 4 who works full time. Do I really need to elaborate much more than that? Every single waking moment of my life is busy. I’ve always got something going on, and for the most part I like it, as keeping busy distracts my anxious thoughts. Although I understand that being busy is good for me, It would just be nice to not have to adult some times.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m mentally mature for adulting. Do you know what I mean? Like, I look at others my age, or younger, and I think “wow, they really have their shit together” or “They are so much more mature than I am”. I still feel like I’m 18, and that every single day I wake up and just wing it. I often worry that I missed an invitation to ‘Adulting College’ , where people were educated and given tips on how to adult.

I have been on holiday for the last 2 weeks and I have to say, it’s been a pretty meh holiday. We have just moved house (again), so the first week was spent packing. Albeit very lazy packing. We just took it nice and easy over the week, given it was terrible weather and we knew we had a week to get it done. Then this week it’s been unpacking, and now I’m on my last couple of days before I’m back to the grind. Always the same; when you’re an adult, your holidays are used for appointments and other life commitments outside of work. It’s never actually a holiday, unless you’re flitting off somewhere with a suitcase.

I wish that someone else could carry the burden of adulting for me for a while. This someone could do the worrying, work, chores, kids etc. But then what would I do with myself? For a couple of weekends in a row, I refused to make plans or run about doing errands, unless absolutely necessary. Why? Well, I knew I had the move coming up and I wanted to chill. I found those weekends to be incredibly dull/boring and I found it gave me all the time in the world to overthink/analyse pointless things.

I want peace and I want to chill with no responsibilities, yet, when I try to take time off I find it makes my anxiety worse. I honestly cannot win. I’m very confident that I am not on my own here. Pretty sure that most adults, regardless if you have mental health issues or not, will be able to relate. My Dad is 66 and is sure he’s still 18, it’s just his body that’s failing him. Do any of us really know how to adult? Or are we all just winging it, with some of us better at faking it than others?

It would be good to know; Can you find the time to chill? If so, what do you do to relax and avoid adulting for a bit? I seriously need to find a way to escape adulting, that doesn’t involve too much downtime to over think and preferably not a hangover!

Always angry!

I feel like I spend my life being frustrated, negative and angry! I honestly need to try and be positive. I work very hard daily to find at least one positive in every situation and you know what? It’s tiring.

Even growing up I was a very negative child. I saw the worst in everything/everyone, and in all honesty, was probably a nightmare to be around. I was angry when I was little because my parents were divorced, I was stuck in the middle, and I was being bullied. I was so frustrated and bitter about the whole thing, that it made me incredibly negative. There was a girl I went to school with, Janine, who was the happiest/bubbliest girl I think I’ve ever met. Just such a lovely, genuinely nice person too. I would look at her sometimes and think “how can someone be this happy all the time? Its not natural!”. In hindsight, Janine probably just wasn’t an angry, bitter girl. Makes sense really. Abraham Lincoln once said “You’re only as happy as you make your mind up to be”, and I believe he’s right. If we start something with negative thoughts, it will only ever be a negative experience.

You would think that as I’ve gotten older, I would have curbed this by now. I have managed to find a way to cope, by using PMA, but it’s so much effort and tiring that sometimes it annoys me and just contributes to my frustrations. Why do I have to find it so hard to be positive? To be happy? To not be angry/frustrated all the time?

I have things and people that make me happy, but it’s like my brain cannot see this as enough. I have had bad things happen, and that’s it. Arse has fallen out of my world, I hate everyone, everyone hates me, it’s all gone to shit and I’m gonna eat some worms. My mind races over the negative comments/situations and blows them all out of proportion. Then I need to sit, and painstakingly go over everything and find the positives. If I don’t do that, one negative thing will just snow ball into the next, and the next, and so on until I have the mood I’m in today.

I am currently sitting in my room, in the world’s worst mood and I’ve been very politely asked to just stay in here and chill. I’m not even mad at that. I get why my husband would rather not deal with it. I don’t want to deal with it either, but I’m stuck with me. I have let things this week get on top of me to the point of not being able to sleep (shock!), and having nightmares when I do sleep. I’ve let life and work just get on top of me, taking no time to do my PMA and this is where it’s gotten me. Grimacing at my phone as I type this blog.

This week I have managed to bark at everyone who has dared to give me a sideways glance, or heaven forbid, disagree. I also do this thing where I look to others to make me feel better, and when they dont, this makes me frustrated. What is that about? It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make me happy. It’s mine.

So here it is; I’m sat here, after a pretty meh week, feeling frustrated. I’m then feeling angry with myself for letting it get this out if hand and now being sat here in the world’s worst mood. I have spent the week feeling completely detached and it’s been horrible.

What now? I need to get a grip and focus on my PMA. I need to start looking at all the positives that have come out of this week, even if it’s only one. I need to look toward the weekend and week ahead and find the positives, so that I’m not taking this bad mood forward.

To all of you that have had to endure me this week, I’m sorry! Believe it or not, I do try to not be so angry, grumpy, negative, argumentative and just a general pain to be around.

This is why PMA is so important. Without it, I don’t cope. Yes this week is a bit of a write off, but tomorrow is a new day! It’s also Saturday, so a longer lie, no work and hopefully a chance to spend sometime with my family and enjoy the rest of my weekend.

Do any of you find it hard to see the positives? Do you feel angry/frustrated all the time?


Live and let live!


Well the gist of this entire blog can be summarised to this; Don’t be a dick!


World’s smallest violin….


When I was growing up I was bullied for being poor and ugly. I mean being one of them is bad enough, but both? Damn! I grew up in a single parent family, in a dingy wee scheme in Scotland, I’ve got a big nose, nothing special to look at, that is unless you think I’m a bit speshul – but that’s not quite the special you want to be now, is it? My mum couldn’t afford to kit me out like some of the kids I knew, nor did she have any taste, so the stuff I wore was something else to be mocked for. All in all, I’d describe my childhood as shit for the most part. I wasn’t alone through all this though, I did have my big sister, 10 years my senior and clearly the one who got all the genes for good looks. Not too sure what I was left with, perhaps a good sense of humour? My sister and I can tell stories of our childhood that would make most gasp in horror/disbelief, but thankfully we manage to laugh about it now. In fact, half the time when we reminisce we are kinked with laughter. I don’t know if that’s more a nervous thing, or if it’s just the fact the stories are bloody funny. Probably a bit of both.

If there is one thing that bullying teaches you, it’s to laugh at yourself. You have the privilege of letting others point out all the flaws you know about, and, to point out new ones. It’s great. Having this makes you acutely self-aware, meaning that as you grow older, you’re able to crack better jokes about yourself than others, leaving no room for the bullies. For a brief time during my late teens/early 20’s I cared not a single jot what others thought of me. That was a blissful time, as far as self-confidence went. As I’ve gotten older and anxiety/depression has been a part of my life, I’ve become more self-conscious now, than I think I was as a child. I’m over weight, more stripes than a tiger (kids have been worth every one), horrible skin, post teen acne, frizzy hair, still have a big nose, big squint eyes, a top lip that is not symmetrical (who knew that could even be a thing!!), a large forehead (well this was new to me over the last year, but hey, what is one more thing to add to my list right?), lines appearing around my eyes (hello crow’s feet), and horrible man hands. Yup, I have these horrible manly looking hands, but they’re like a midget version, so let’s just call them my ‘Trump hands’.

My daily wake up and get ready for the day routine goes like this:

  • Roll out of bed and marvel at my less than adequate physique in our full-length mirror. Convince myself today is the day I will diet (this has still not happened)
  • Go in the shower, and be grossed out by myself as I get washed and wonder how on earth someone like me can be married. Sometimes, just sometimes, I have a wee blub about this.
  • Whilst in the shower, I think of all the people I know that are pretty, skinny and don’t have stripes and spend a moment hating them and wondering if they even appreciate how lucky they actually are?
  • Get dressed as quickly as I can, but huff and haw about the fact it might be warm outside but I need to remain covered up ALL the time due to my skin, so I’ll just have to sweat like a Glaswegian watching Crime Watch (If you’re from the west coast it’s only a joke!).
  • Once dressed I’ll start to apply my makeup, but not before I scrutinise every square inch of my spots, uneven skin tone, pores and horrible facial features. Namely my nose! I mean this hooter is turning corners before me. I swear if I tilt my head up toward the sun, I’ll eclipse half the city. I wear more makeup now, than I ever have in my life. Why? Well, it helps me to feel better about how I look for one. Plus, I feel that If I was to wear a burka, as lets face it, they hide a multitude of sins, I may actually cause more offence, so makeup applied by catapult is the way to go for me.

By the time I leave the house I’m worried that the outfit I’ve picked isn’t flattering enough, that my makeup will look silly, that my hair is full of fly aways and probably now getting frizzy, do I have more spots? It’s completely exhausting to be this self-aware and indulgent in how you look, and not even for the good reasons. You know, if I looked like a model and I was just concerned with how I looked all the time, I doubt that would be as bad, as being concerned for the negative reasons. You know what I mean?

How do I feel better about myself?

Despite having these negative feelings and thoughts about myself, and a very clear deep self-loathing, I get up and put a smile on daily. I get showered, dressed and put my face on, quite literally. Once I’m out of the house, either for work, shopping, or doing something with the kids, I just get focused on the task in hand and having light hearted conversations with people to completely distract my thoughts, and for the most part, this works.

Until I got post teen acne, I didn’t wear makeup at all. So, the fact I wear it every day now is a chore, and one I definitely wish I didn’t have to do. I’m no makeup artist and with being so pale I struggle to get a foundation that completely matches, something I’m aware of. I do my best to cover my flaws, to not have people be grossed out by me, or to see how ugly I really am underneath all of this slap.

With regards to clothes, usual attire is a pair of skinny jeans, black vest with lumberjack shirt, or a band/movie tshirt and trainers. That’s it. Office attire is a basic dress from H&M with a shirt over the top, or a cardigan. Nothing outlandish or fashionable here. Just basic. Very very very rarely will you see me go out of my comfort zone to wear something different, as I always fear that I’ll look like mutton. So, I stick with what I know works and I’m usually happy.

I love Tattoo’s. If I had enough money I’d be covered head to toe. Why? Well I’ve got really horrible skin, so what better way to get body confidence than to have it coloured in and make it look pretty? My first Tattoo was when I was 16, my sister took me and bluffed that I was 18. My Tattooist was a drunk, who turned up late with a tin of Tennent’s lager in one hand and spliff in the other. I was undeterred as a badass little 16-year-old and I got it anyway. It’s not my nicest Tattoo,*inner voice* “no shit Sherlock!”, and I’ve considered covering it up, but you know what? It’s a memory, and a funny one at that, so it stays. I then have a few more on my lower arm, as I hate my skin there, and having my Tattoo’s makes me not care about having short sleeves.

So, c’mon,what’s the point to this blog?

We all know someone who likes to be sarky all the time, and someone who thinks they’re being discreet with their eye rolls, when really we all know they’re about as discreet as a brick in the face? Yup, we all do. As we know, I have anxiety and I’m a naturally a paranoid person, meaning I do doubt myself, and I doubt everyone and assume everyone is disingenuous until proven otherwise. This does make situations and making friends difficult, and is more than likely why all my close friends are the most honest people you’ll meet. No second guessing and that is just how I like it. Well, today I have been met head on by a situation that has made me doubt myself, and someone I know.

I have decided to wear something that I wouldn’t normally consider. Something that I saw in the shop and loved, but never envisioned myself having the courage to wear. Then a couple of weeks ago, we had gorgeous weather one weekend and I thought to myself “Stuff it, I’m buying it”, and I did. I came home, tried it on, and my husband told me I looked lovely in it. The next day it belted down with rain and I’ve not had a chance to wear it since trying it on. Typical. The past couple of days have been really warm/humid and I’ve been quite uncomfortable in work, done up like nanook of the north, so I thought “aha I have this top I bought, I’m going to wear that”.

When I was getting ready to leave this morning, I asked my husband and kids, “how do I look?”, and they all assured me I looked fine. I actually felt really good, like I had a little bit of confidence. When out, I had one friend lean in and say, “You’re looking really skinny today”, another asked me to walk around for a better look and told me I was looking really good. Ummm excuse me whilst my ego inflates. That really did make me feel good. I did actually start to think my choice was a goodun. This was until, someone I know walked past, and gave what can only be described as a grimace, a look toward someone else, then an eye roll. They must have thought they were being really subtle, OR, they figure they don’t  need to try and be subtle? Who knows, but, regardless that is what happened and I found myself thinking “WTF is your problem?”. I left it though, I kept smiling, figured it was maybe aimed at someone else. Kept telling myself that not everything is about me (I know right? Who knew the world didn’t revolve around me), and that this person could be having a bad day. So, I parked the negative thoughts, continued to feel good about myself, then went about my day. Later on I tried to speak to this person and I was met with a curt response. Again, I put this down to them having a bad day, so walked on and left it.

Thanks to having horrible skin, I also have a really oily T-Zone, meaning I feel compelled to constantly powder my nose. Otherwise it’s shiny, you can see all the pores and let’s face it, it’s my biggest (pun fully intended) complex. As soon as I feel my nose getting oily, I’ll pull out my foundation brush and just give a quick dust over. Nothing major, just enough to make me feel a bit better. Well today, it was a bit cooler and I hadn’t felt compelled to powder my T-Zone, that was until I got a text. As I raised my phone I caught my reflection and I was mortified. Without hesitation I got my brush and promptly powdered my face, thinking things like “OMG how long has it been like that for? Who has seen it?”, when all I hear from the side of me is a dry/sarky comment . Sorry? what? I looked around and this person wasn’t even looking at me when talking to me, just carrying on about their business, of which to me, is more than a little rude. So now I’m thinking, nope, this isn’t a bad day, clearly this is something personal. Why would me powdering my T-Zone warrant any comment? Or was this also a dig at the top I’m wearing? So, I bit back. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have. Why lower myself, but I was miffed. I’m not even sure of their retort, as I couldn’t hear them over my now descending red mist, but what I did see was the smirk at my reaction. Clearly my biting back, had been the reaction they were looking for. Well, colour me pissed.

I then proceed to carry on about my business, and just let myself calm down. I realised, that if this was the kind of reaction they were looking for, they won’t get it from me. They’re not a friend, haven’t been, never will be, and their opinion of me actually stands for nowt.  So, it was time to follow Mum’s advice “Smile and walk away, they hate that”. If they want to be sarky, let them, I will not lower myself to their level. I’m a good person and if I’m not your cup of tea, then you know what, your loss ?


No-one will EVER:

  • Think I’m uglier than I do
  • Hate me as much as I do
  • Doubt my ability as much as I do
  • Find me as annoying as I do myself

I am my own biggest critic, but you know what I am sure of, I’m a bloody good person. Those closest to me know this, and those that don’t take the time to see it, then that is their loss. I’m a very honest, straight talking person. If I don’t like you, I won’t go out of my way to be around you and be overly friendly, but by the same token I won’t be a dick. I would never ever belittle someone, or try to make a mug of them. Why? Well because I’m not an asshole, that’s why. I will never ever presume to think I’m better than anyone, as I’m a firm believer that we’re all equal, we just each have our own things that we excel at, doesn’t make us better than each other.

I have always raised my kids to be kind and see the good in people. I have raised them to be the kids I’d wished I’d known growing up, friends I’d wished I’d had, and I must say I’m damn proud of the young adults they’re becoming. They’re incredibly loving, caring, compassionate, empathetic and just all round good people. I will continue to lead by example, I will not be brought down to negative levels and I definitely won’t let anyone make me feel any worse about me than I already do. Believe it or not, despite everything that has been said, I do believe I’m worth something, and I’m definitely worth more than petty snipes.

If you’re like me, and self-loath, don’t let anyone else add to it. We exhaust ourselves daily overthinking everything as it is, why on earth should we let others steal more of our time/energy? Wear what you want, put makeup on if you want, put your hair how you want and live how you want, you know why? Your anxiety is always going to be there to beat you up anyways, so at least try and have a little fun and enjoy yourself along the way. Despite my snark comment/look today, I did get two compliments, of which totally top trumps the snark one, not just because they were nice, but because they’re from people I care about and whose opinions matter.


They don’t deserve our attention, and definitely not our fear!

Today is the day after the second London terror attack in less than 3 months. We’re not even 2 weeks from the Manchester attacks. Having this happen makes me realise how utterly trivial my anxiety disorder is, and that there are bigger issues going on the world to be worried about. Knowing this will not stop me from worrying relentlessly about social situations or my health, but it does give a lot of food for thought.

I have watched all the news correspondence and read the articles with regards to last night, and my heart is breaking for those affected by this latest cowardly attack. I also feel very angry to think that there are people out there, so incredibly warped, to think that taking lives is a means to an end. This is a horrible game of tit-for-tat that we, the general population, are paying the price for. The sister of Salman Abedi (Manchester bomber), said he wanted the UK to know what it was like to have innocent children blown up, so we’d know what Syria are going through. This is the level of mentality we’re working with here. The reasoning behind both attacks in London is unclear, although we can be sure that every attack on us, is directly related to our involvement in Syria. Why are we even involved in the war in Syria in the first place? I’m yet to actually hear a conclusive and honest answer to that question. The decisions that are made, with regards to our military and the bombs that are dropped, are not made by us, they are made by our government. Killing us doesn’t make them pay, they don’t care. Do these extremists’ honestly think that Theresa May will lose a single ounce of sleep tonight, as she hangs upside down in her cave? No! Why? Because her security team will always make sure she’s ok. We, the public, do NOT agree with what is happening in Syria. I for one, cannot even bring myself to watch any of the new correspondence from there any more, as it just breaks my heart. I also believe that we should be taking in every single Syrian refugee that comes to our borders, as they wouldn’t be in this situation without our shitty governments help. These extremists’ attempts are in vain, but this will not stop them. They’re out to make a point and instil fear, and really, for someone like me who’s already fearful, it’s working.

So here I am, worried about what might happen. Worried for my children, and the places they go. I’ve already asked them to avoid places that might be crowded, for example, there is a wee music festival taking place just down the road from where I live, and I’ve asked that when they’re out today, can they please avoid this at all costs. Now, even as I type this I feel ridiculous. Am I just instilling the fear into them, am I creating unnecessary worry for them, but then what if I don’t, what if I just let them go and do their thing and something was to happen? Would I ever forgive myself? Definitely not.

This time next week I’ll be at the Download Music Festival . This was something I was already worried about, as it’s putting me into a situation where I’ll be 300miles away from my comfort zone, I’ll be in large crowds, it will be sensory overload, but you know what, I was more than prepared to push through all of these factors, for the love I have for the bands I’m going to see. Now, given what has happened recently, I’m now worried about a potential terrorist attack. I’m worried that because it’s in Leicester and because it’s a particularly large gathering, that it may well be a target.  My eldest asked me today if I was still going, as he was worried because it was in England. Now I’m sure that not just England will be a target, I’m sure these extremists are plotting all over, but given recent events we cannot be blamed for being concerned. My mind already races constantly about all the things that could kill me from day to day, but now I have something more real, more tangible to be concerned about. Even as I type this blog, my palms are sweating and my heart is racing. I have worried myself to the point of actually feeling sick, and even considering selling my tickets. The tickets that have been bought for over 8months, for an event that I’ve been so excited about, more excited than anything else ever in my life, and I was about to just up and sell my chance to see Aerosmith on their farewell tour. This was, until I spoke with friends and my sister, who said:

You really want to willingly give up seeing Steve Tyler for those f******?!? I thought you were made of tougher stuff. Just keep thinking ….Steve Tyler!!
Isis today called for “all out war won the west” asking for attacks on ‘infidels’ in the streets, and in their homes. so to be fair, homes aren’t safe if they keep it up…you have to live your life…live it!

My sister, the voice of reason, as always. If we’re not even safe in our own homes, what is the point? What is the point in staying at home being fearful to live our lives, when they will seek out to do harm just about anywhere?

Also, a friend of mine on Facebook today said something very poignant;

I am a great believer that terrorism, as stated only exists because people believe it does. what is happening is dreadful, but the media make it powerful. I was brought up with the IRA, Badder Meinhof, Red Brigade, ETA, Chinese Red Brigade. [This] was a weekly occurrence, but was inevitably ignored from the news and they all disappeared.  It is a state of fear that I will not have any part of. Sorry, bit of a rant. And I am not afraid.

At first, I found myself thinking, “Well surely not watching it, and not keeping up to date, is just burying our heads in the sand? What good is that?”. Then, I’ve found myself realising that this could just be right. If we don’t feed the fear, and fuel the fire, perhaps they will stop, if the exposure they’re looking for, is not achieved.

So, given all I’ve said, what do I do? Do I give into my fear and stay home, where I think I will be safe? Or, do I choose to not let these cowardly extremists take more from me, than I already take from myself, and go for what will be an awesome weekend? Given everything, I believe it will have to be the latter. I will continue to be scared right up until the point of heading off on my long drive, I will no doubt be a wreck when standing in the large crowd/queue to get in, and even once there I will no doubt be extra vigilant, but you know what? I’ve already missed out on so much, due to being scared, and this festival is everything to me. I love music, as I’m sure all of you reading this can relate, but what is sad for me, is I’ve never seen a band I love live. I usually sit in the comfort of my own home at watch them on Sky Arts.

I’ve concluded that I’m already fearful enough. I already have enough day-to-day worries about everyone and everything, and I refuse to let these terrorists/extremists be added to it. I will look to not tune into the news, I will choose to be someone who will not add fuel to the fire, or give them the exposure they’re looking for. If you suffer from anxiety, and you too have found your anxiety has heightened due to the recent attacks, I hope you join me in not letting this be another matter to consume your daily life. I’m not suggesting it will be easy, I am still feeling the fear in the pit of my stomach. Speaking to my sister and my friends has not just been some magic wand that has made my initial fear of this entire situation go, but it has given me some much needed perspective and a way to tackle moving forward.

PMA Corner – 10 Illustrations that nicely sum up Anxiety!

Sometimes it’s difficult to put into words how the merry-go-round of  Anxiety & Depression can make you feel, so here are a few illustrations I’ve had shared and seen in recent years that I’ve found more than relatable, and even amusing. If you don’t laugh, you cry right?

We all have that one friend who thinks they just know…..

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Ahhh mornings, a time to reflect on the day ahead

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For days when you just feel scared and you don’t know why. Lets face it, they’re the worst! 

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Usually bedtime is a good time to reflect

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OMG my ultimate favourite pass time. Thinking about all the silly things I’ve done, ever! 

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For the days when you just can’t. We’ve all been there, when we’ve had plans with friends and we find any bull excuse to cancel. You want to be social, you want to have friends, but you don’t want to have to leave the house, be seen or have to talk to people. 

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Ahhh Calvin and Hobbs, a comic I read as a kid and loved. It does have a poignant message though. We spend all day every day worrying about what is going to happen, when really, all the planning in the world may not predict/change the destination. Will this stop my overthinking/worrying? Most definitely not…

You can all relate to this one. I will only ever take painkillers if I’m at a point where I cannot cope. The fact I take a multivitamin every day is huge, but for the first 3 hours of taking it I worry that I will keel over. Why specifically 3 hours I hear you say? I reckon if it was going to kill me, 3 hours is a good guestimate. Is that rational? Well, you’re reading a blog of a woman with an anxiety disorder, nothing here is rational.Yes, it’s as sad to type as it is to think, but also very very true. 

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And finally, never feeling good enough. I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m stupid, I’m not interesting, no-one will like me, or want to be with me/be my friend and those that are around me only pity me. Ahhh good times Anxiety, good times…

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Alcohol is never the answer

My Dad once told me, “This is not a dress rehearsal, this is it! Make the most of it”. I was a teenager at the time, I felt I was infallible, and these words meant nothing to me. I’m now in my 30’s and these words mean everything to me. We only get one life, one chance to actually live, and I spend most of it over analysing the little things, and missing the big things because of it. When I was at my worst, and fearing that everything in this world was going to kill me, my Dad (again, a very wise man), told me this “Look darling, there is only one guarantee in life ‘no-one is getting out alive’”. That very statement shook me to my core, he was so right. No matter what I do, I’m going to die. Now, whilst this was said to be a little reality check and make me feel better, it did the opposite. This statement made me very fearful, that was until recently.

I am still very fearful of things, and sometimes I get worried that today will be my last. In fact, I dare to say that every single day of my life, I have at least one thought of that day being my last. It’s quite a depressing thought, but it’s true. I understand fully that we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, no-one is. I struggle to see my life in 10/20 years’ time, as I’m convinced my time is numbered. Having this feeling of impending doom, is probably one of the worst feelings I get from anxiety. All the other feelings I can just about manage, but this one, is different. My fear of crowds and being claustrophobic is something that can be avoided, but death? I can’t avoid that, it’s coming, and it scares me more than anything else in this world. I’m sure anyone reading this, anxiety disorder or not, can agree. Death is not a happy prospect and it will scare anyone, but to ‘normal’ people, they don’t think/dwell on it quite like we do.

Due to my fear of dying, and my social issues, I was living a very sheltered life for a long time. I was avoiding social situations, being very introvert, and in turn, not really living. I turned to alcohol to help me through. Now, I’m not saying I was an alcoholic, definitely not, but if I had a night out coming up, I would be sure and be half way gone before I left the house. I needed that Dutch courage to be able to get through it. I would then drink to forget, and when I was drunk it was great. I would be the life and soul, outgoing, ‘happy’, able to enjoy myself, no cares, no fear of dying, that was until the next day. Hang overs when you have anxiety, are nothing short of dire. It can bring on all the fears. You have heard of beer fear, right? Well this is beer fear magnified!  I also started to have my weekly bottle of wine at the weekend, as this was sure to let me have a full night’s sleep. It wasn’t a rested sleep though, it never is when you drink, but I’d convinced myself it was helping.

During my ‘mid 20’s crises’, when I was back at college, I was out drinking at least 3 times a week with my college friends. I felt I was doing great, I was out all the time, I had friends, I was ‘enjoying life’. Looking back now though, I wasn’t really. I was masking my fears with alcohol, and it wasn’t helping, even if it felt like it was at the time. All I was doing was masking the problem, and in turn, making it worse in the long run.

When I was at my Sister-in-laws wedding a couple of years ago, I drank a lot. I was really nervous about going, as I knew very little people there. I knew it was going to be busy, loud and no doubt something I couldn’t cope with. What did I do? Yup, I sought out to get drunk. I drank a large wine, to every one of my husband’s pints. I think over the course of 5 hours, I’d had 10 large glasses of wine, of which I think works out to be 3 – 4 bottles. Needless to say, I went home, and I was very very ill. It was at this point I realised I wasn’t coping, and things needed to change.

There are people close to me who drink a lot, pretty much every night. I could see that I wasn’t far from them, and did I really want to end up like them? Did I want to become reliant on something like alcohol to get me through a week? It was at the point where I was using a Friday as an excuse to ‘celebrate’, so would buy wine on my way home from work. Even typing that, it just sounds so ridiculous. I don’t want to be that person, I don’t want to rely on anything but myself to get through these difficult situations, and I certainly don’t want to end up like those close me either.

Since my sister-in-laws wedding, I have never really looked at alcohol the same. I barely drink at all now. I’ve even been called boring, and been told I’ve changed, by some of my friends. I’m ok with this, I’m glad to be boring and to have changed. I don’t go out as much socially anymore, this is a choice I’ve made, as I don’t want to feel like I must drink to get me through the night. I can, and have, been out for a little bit, where I’ve had maybe one or two drinks that I’ve nursed over the evening. It’s enough to make me feel like I’m being social when in a pub, but little enough for me to feel completely in control and to avoid the beer fear the next day.

Do you drink to forget? Have you been guilty of using alcohol or other substances to help you with your mental illness? I found an interesting article about the effects of alcohol on your moods and mental health that I think would be of benefit to some, it will help you see that whilst it may feel like it’s helping you in the moment, you’re actually doing more harm than good in the long run.

If you have a story similar to mine, would be good to hear from you and how you have dealt/dealing with it.


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.

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.