I’ve put off writing in depth about this for a very very long time, because writing about it ‘triggers me off’ to a high extent. However recently I’m becoming all about facing my fears so here’s me doing just that.
I have diagnosed anxiety disorder. This to me is probably the most difficult thing in my entire life. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, and it makes a lot of things very very very hard.
I’m going to write about in detail, kind of for myself but also just to give a little help to anyone that’s not quite sure what it is, or thinks they might suffer it themselves? I think people often get confused between feeling anxious sometimes, because that’s a normal human emotion we all feel, and actually suffering with an anxiety disorder. It’s important to know the differentiation so you can know when to go and get help.
I think it fully started when I was 11, and I suffered with uncontrollable healthy anxiety. I spent a good hour every night before bed listing to my dad all the illnesses I thought I had while he’d counteract them. I’d wake up most nights to panic. I’d constantly be feeling my head for lumps that might be bone cancer. I’d always be thinking about brain tumours and diseases, I’d constantly be finding symptoms. Around Christmas time in year 7, I got a doctor’s appointment where I was diagnosed and then given a referral to a councillor.
My health anxiety continued for a while, but unfortunately my anxiety has a tendency to shift the form in which it displays itself in my life whenever I begin to conquere the former. I started being able to rationalise the illness related thoughts, for my mental state to go into a complete shambles when I started developing an eating disorder. This was correlated with my anxiety issues, with my fear of a lack of control and not being good enough. I felt trapped in my own head, oblivious to anything around me other than the food I ate and the circumference of my waist. I’m blessed in that I can honestly say now my eating disorder has mostly disappeared, and despite it rearing it’s ugly head every once in a while, I after several years of fighting it, can now say I have really conquered that too.
It’s been an interesting time since then as now my anxiety isn’t concentrated on a specific thing in the way it was then. A couple of years ago, I thought about *possible trigger warning?* death so often I made myself physically ill, I stopped eating and became so intensely obsessive again. It was a really shitty time, and I still get those thoughts from time to time but I’ve learnt how to cope with them a lot better. Then I started *another possible trigger warning* thinking about the universe, another thought which felt unbearably big for me to even comprehend. I still have these thoughts too from time to time, but again I’m getting a lot better at controlling them. Nowadays I find it can have a detrimental effect on my relationships with other people as I overthink to a very high extent, but I’m so lucky in that I have really patient people in my life who really seem to understand.
I feel like anxiety is a word that is thrown around a lot, which I understand because as I said before, anxiety is a feeling that everyone feels, but it’s so important to know when you have an actual disorder regarding it!! I hate the word being thrown about because I feel like a lot of people really don’t understand the effect an anxiety disorder can have on someone’s life. I can overly struggle with cinemas, theatres, restaurants, classrooms, new settings and anywhere where I find myself feeling ‘trapped’. For me, fight or flight is a very significant thing in that I like to be in a position where I can do either if necessary, which in the above locations I find difficult. About 6 months ago I went to the theatre with my family, and in the car on the way there, I got so afraid I started crying hysterically, shouting that I needed us to go home, and that I needed to go home and I needed to get out of the car. Luckily I have minimal panic attacks now, but there was a time where scenarios like that were pretty regular. I almost permanently have a nervous, sickly feeling in my stomach, the only time it’s really eased is around my close friends and family, and even then sometimes it can be very difficult. It can take me even an hour, sometimes longer, to build up the ‘courage’ to get a shower. Unfortunately alongside my depressive thoughts this can be super tricky in that I have very little motivation to fight against my anxiety, as I just want to stay in bed all day a lot of the time (but that’s another post!).
I don’t like to make a big fuss about it a lot of the time, which is why I’ve always been big on avoiding the things that ‘trigger’ high levels of anxiety for me. Yet now I realised I can never get over something I never expose myself to. I can’t watch any space related film without panicking, so I’ve challenged myself to watch a Star Wars. I’m also going to challenge myself to a cinema outing soon.
I fear this had been a very self focused post, but I’m glad to have written it. Anxiety disorder is tricky to write about in that I can’t fully explain it, as it’s hard to fully understand I think if you haven’t experienced it first hand?
It can feel like the most embarrassing thing in the world not being able to cope in everyday situations, I often feel that I ‘wish I was like everybody else’, but I’m not everybody else, I’m me, and wishing won’t change anything. I’m not giving in to my anxiety, just because it might be semi exhausting to battle, because I know one day I’ll be able to cope utterly and entirely! Whether that’s years away or not, I know I’ll get there!
I’m so grateful to everybody and anybody around me that’s been supportive ever. I’m particularly blessed in that my dad is the most patient man I think I’ve ever met, and somehow has coped with my obsessive anxious thoughts at so many times, helping me rationalise. Even occasionally at 3am in the morning when I can’t cope with my brain, he’s always there. I’m also blessed in that I had the best councillor for 5 years of my life, who helped me overcome so many issues.
I don’t want anyone to think this post is me wanting sympathy, because as much as I love having supportive people in my life, I don’t feel I need sympathy. This is just the hand I’ve been dealt, for now. Things may be tough sometimes, but I know I can get by. Nobody’s life is smooth sailing, and regardless of whether my life might be harder or easier than others, I don’t require sympathy, just support and many hugs.
Finally, if anyone is suffering with issues they think are regarding anxiety, or any form of mental health issue really, I’m always open ears. Not only because I don’t think anyone should cope with issues alone, but also because it helps me to know there’s people that may be feeling similar to me. So hopefully I’d be able to help you, and you’d definitely be helping me.
All the love,