I’m sorry that I haven’t posted for a while. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs lately, my health hasn’t been great and honestly, I haven’t really felt like writing. I was even in two minds about writing this, let alone posting it.
I’m the girl with the smile on her face, the one who listens to her friends’ problems, and gladly so. I hate talking about my own issues and rather be the agony aunt. I put my mask on, and I get on with it.
But it’s time to admit, I have always suffered from anxiety. During my teens it was at it’s worst, it resulted in panic attacks and long nights in A&E. I didn’t understand what was happening, numbness in my limbs, feeling dizzy and strong heart palpitations, which felt like my heart was coming out of my chest. It was like I was having a heart attack. I had check-up after check-up and even had an ECG. I was told that nothing is wrong, results are normal until eventually, a doctor identified it as panic attacks. I never got any professional help, which I regret immensely, but I eventually got over the sudden attacks when certain events, which triggered my anxiety, finally came to an end.
However, anxiety has never left me and has been triggered by all the shit that seems to find me in my life. People may look into my life and think I have my shit together, but that’s far from the truth. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, a gorgeous son, a good career, etc…. and I’m so thankful for this, however, anxiety and depression don’t discriminate, and it’s not something to just brush over for fear of looking weak.
There have been a few traumatising events in my life that have triggered my anxiety, including being stalked. Anyone who has been through this will understand the level of anxiety this can trigger. When this happened to me, it was during my days as a university student. There was a foreign student, who was someone I barely even knew or spoke to, he just took the same course as me and became obsessed with me for no apparent reason, other than I may have said hi to him once.
Somehow he got a hold of my personal details; he emailed me, text me, followed me, and tormented me for a year. I spent more time watching my back than looking where I was going. He would stop contact for a while… so then I would start to relax, let my guard down, thinking he has got the message, but before I knew it, he would start again with creepy emails and messages. It mentally fucked with my head, and I was scared about what could happen. I kept all the messages and emails as evidence and eventually, I reported him. I walked into my local station, I was in a state of panic, and tears flooded my eyes, I could barely even speak, but I knew I had to do this, as I feared what could happen if I didn’t report him. My dad was there with me, holding my hand, he was my rock. After reporting him, the police found his address, but he had disappeared, they issued a warning, and somehow this worked, and thankfully I never saw or heard from him again.
A year of torment was over, but the fear and anxiety I felt over 10 years ago never truly left me. It has taken me years to realise just how much it has impacted my mental health, particularly how I react to things out of my control. It’s a time in my life that I struggle to look back on, and I have spent most of my adult life blocking it out. But the more I’m trying to work through my issues, the more I realise how much I downplayed what I went through, and how much it actually impacted me.
I worry that having issues like this hanging over my head impacts on how I am as a mum, as a wife, and how this impacts my relationships with the people around me.
Today my issues are minor compared to what I went through 10 years ago, I guess you can say “first world problems”.
I suffered with anxiety during my pregnancy, and even after having my son. I worried about what all first-time mums worry about… If I’d be a good enough mum, and if I’m doing the right things etc…. My worries as a mother continues, although my concerns change. Now I worry if I’m present enough as I work full time, and I only get one quality day with my son a week, when it’s just me, hubby and my son. I don’t think I will ever be able to just stop worrying. A lot of these worries I’m sure are common, and I guess these are things that all mums go through, but for someone with existing anxiety issues, I feel this is magnified.
These days my anxiety levels yo-yo, and I’ve had a few low days, crying for what feels like no reason. I get anxious about a lot of things, my brain is constantly ticking on overtime and some days I just feel mentally drained.
The good news is that I’m working towards getting help to manage my anxieties, talking about my issues and learning to manage them to become mentally stronger.
This is me baring all, and the big mess that is my head. I’m sharing this because I know that I’m not alone suffering from anxiety, and for me, the biggest step was to just admit it, and I hope that this helps even just one person.