I don’t is probably the best answer. But I need that to change though!
The figures for people who suffer with anxiety in the UK are startling. According to a survey by https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 1 in 6 UK adults reported having some kind of neurotic episode in the last week. 1 in 10 UK adults are likely to have some kind disabling anxiety disorder at some point in the lives. If you add that in with some recent research by the World Health Organisation (WHO), who compared depression against asthma, angina and diabetes. It was found that the impact of depression on a person’s ability to function was around 50% more serious than the impact of the other 3 illnesses in that group. As a chronic asthma sufferer myself, I am on the fence a bit about that one!
I was a shy child, and I suppose with that came a degree of anxiety. As I have said a million times, I suffered some pretty harsh bullying on the account of having severe eczema. However at around 12, I started to make more friends and with that found confidence and my voice. For 6 years I had an almost idyllic life. Until depression made itself known. I didn’t know what it was at the time, and it wrecked friendships and turned me into a person I didn’t recognise from my late teens. Not just for a few months either, for literally years.
My depression has only ever reached those depths once since. That was after the birth of my first child. Don’t get me wrong, I have some pretty crashingly low days. The difference is that they only last days, rather than the months and years of my first episode. However, not long after we moved to Wales I started to notice some behaviours that were not my norm. I had never been afraid to step outside my comfort zones, and yet suddenly I was a recluse. I lived between the supermarket, my place of work and of course my house. The thought of having to go anywhere else made me feel panicky and short of breath. I’d had a panic attack once before when I first started antidepressants, but now I had another for no apparent reason. Where I had once happily driven around the country, I was now scared of driving 20 miles up the road.
I, of course, reported these symptoms to my GP who immediately put me on tablets. The trouble with tablets though, is that they make me feel numb. I detach from myself and it scares me. I have refused all oral medication since. My anxiety is something that is ever present. I have really good days, where I quite literally feel I could do anything. And then there are the bad days. The bad days when even opening the front door is a struggle.
In years gone by, having young children has almost facilitated my anxiety. The ‘baby’ got the blame for lots of things, a handy excuse to evade any invitations that came my way. When the last baby started school, my subterfuge had disappeared. Also people had long given up on me, there are only so many times you can decline an invitation before people just stop asking. In my experience, people say they understand but in fact they don’t.
My anxiety can also be quite aggressive. Just recently we were going out for dinner and our reserved table was in a close row of small tables and it was all bench seating. Being short I find bench seating quite uncomfortable especially when eating, and the tables were very close together. So suddenly I was worried that complete strangers would almost be sitting on top of me. Rather than calmly (and politely) asking to be moved my anxiety took over. It spouted out of my mouth in an abrupt way about hating the table and hating benches. The restaurant moved us without issue. My anxiety has no middle stage, it goes from calm to crazed in about half a second. It’s only when I calm back down that I am able to process what has happened, I then feel embarrassed and ashamed. Suffice to say we left a good tip!
For so many years I have hoped that it would just go away of its own accord. The same way that it entered my life. I have written about it more times than I can remember, like this post here. There are 100 more drafts sat unpublished. I have had enough. I’m sick of how some days it lets me live my life, albeit still within a safe distance of home. I’m sick of how on other days, it completely stops me living my life. Reading on Instagram how much other Mum’s have done with their children this week, I feel awful. It doesn’t help with the age range of my children, but this week I just haven’t been able to pluck up the energy to do much with them. We’ve been to the park and out and about, but we haven’t done anything spectacular. Luckily the Husband is off in a few weeks, and we have lots planned then!
But as I said, enough is enough. I *think* I am going to try the counselling route first. I have also read some good things about hypnotherapy so that is on my list as well. If anyone else has any suggestions, please throw them into the ring. I’m willing to consider anything but tablets at this point! Right now I am blessed with some good friends, and I want to be a good friend in return. Not a flake, not someone who retreats and they don’t hear from for weeks, not someone who destroys the mood on a night out, you get the picture. So please follow me on that little journey, and see where it leads me. Hopefully that journey will help someone else as well!