This is something that fills me with a lot of anxiety (ha) to write about, but if it helps someone who suffers or helps someone understand how living with anxiety feels for a loved one who suffers, then it’ll be worth it.
So to begin with I suffer from something called Dermatillomania, which I’ve written about previously (we also recently had the lovely Ellie write a guest post on this, which you can read here) and I’ve suffered with that for a long time. I’ve also suffered with bouts of depression, but nowhere near as bad as some people out there. Both of these things effect me as a person, but I have learnt ways to try and deal with them to the best of my ability. Obviously this isn’t always the case, but I definitely handle them better than I have done in the past.
However, I also suffer with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It’s important to note that there are many different forms of anxiety; such as health anxiety, social anxiety and anxiety triggered towards specific phobias such as travelling. Generalised Anxiety doesn’t have one set trigger, so for me it can literally be anything, and I mean anything that causes the anxiety. It can be a number of different issues all at once, or it can be one issue on one day and another the next. There really is no telling.
I don’t know the specific cause for my anxiety, and from memory I’ve suffered since my teen years. Although when it started it definitely wasn’t as bad, until I reached around 17/18 and that’s probably the last time I can remember going a full day without feeling any form of anxiety.
I often describe it as feeling like I’m stood on the edge of a very tall cliff, and I can’t go backwards and get away from the cliff and so I just have to stand and constantly look over the cliff. I’m in a near constant state of fight or flight. Don’t get me wrong, I do go for periods of time without feeling anxious but these periods aren’t for very long. It makes me question every decision I make, which makes decision making quite frustrating for anyone around me.
Aside from the mental toll anxiety takes, there is also the physical aspect. A lot of my anxiety fuels my Dermatillomania, but it also causes: stomach aches and nausea, jaw and shoulder aches, shaking my leg or constantly moving a part of my body, irritability and exhaustion. These are just some of the symptoms I experience, but there are a whole host of other symptoms that other people with anxiety can suffer with.
I can honestly say, I hate being like this. I don’t want to be like this forever. I don’t want Grayson growing up remembering mummy being anxious and I don’t want Mark missing out on things because I’m too anxious. They are my reason for constantly trying to be better, but I also want to do it for myself because feeling anxious every single day is no way for anyone to live.
I’ve done CBT, I’ve seen a number of therapists and attended stress handling seminars, I’ve taken a variety of different medications and tried a number of different self help methods. I’m still currently trying to find what works best for me, and I’m okay with that because all I can do is try.
If you suffer with anxiety, think you suffer with anxiety, or you know / think you know someone that is suffering then please know (or let them know) that it’s okay. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but hopefully just knowing that there are other people out there who might understand how you feel will give you some comfort.
The most important thing with any mental illness is to try and talk to the people you love, or speak to someone you think will understand. I know it’s hard, because writing this post was hard but it does always help to open up.
I truly hope for any of you reading this that you can find a way to start to heal.