My battle with anxiety

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I am 1 of a percentage in the population that suffers from anxiety.
I consider anxiety to be a mental health disorder.
1 in 4 British adults suffer from at least one diagnosable mental health issue.

But I am not here to talk statistics today.
I want to share what I want people to know about anxiety – how it makes me feel, how I may come across to others.

Anxiety is not simple or straightforward.
It’s not black and white.

Those who suffer from an anxiety disorder know what I mean.

It is paralysing.

When I am in a group of people that I don’t know – I am silent.
Fear paralyses me.
I get irrational thoughts in my head that take over.
I fear being disliked straight off the bat.
I fear rejection.
I retreat inside myself and just become a non verbal mannequin.

This doesn’t make me a B***h
This doesn’t make me weird
This doesn’t make me worthy of your judgement
This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to talk to you
This doesn’t mean I am an angry person

Someone said to me once – you didn’t bother trying to get to know such and such at my party…why are you trying to talk to her now?

They didn’t seem to understand that social situations with people I don’t know terrify me.
I don’t want to be this way.
I don’t enjoy feeling this way.

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I feel confined never confident.
My heart races, my pulse quickens.
My hands tense into fists.
My nerves get the better if me and voice disappears – leaving me mute in a sea of chatter.

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This speaks volumes to how I feel when I open the door to a full room of people.

My anxiety began at the age of 10.
I developed a phobia of vomit/vomiting called emetophobia.
I spent the best half of the next 2 years unable to control it.
Several times when I felt ill, I ran away from home…thinking that running away from the feeling was logical thing to do.
I stopped eating all together, which triggered the beginning of my anorexia.

I became full of fear and irrational thoughts.
I became filled with dread whenever I felt ill or anyone else did.
If anyone in my home was sick I ran and hid for days in my room, not exiting until I knew it was gone.

Today, if my children vomit I get paralysed with fear and spend my time hiding in the kitchen when I should be taking care of them.
I just can’t bring myself to do it.
The last time it occurred I was washing the dishes and contemplated cutting open my hand so that I had a reason to be out of the house.

This may seem crazy to you, to those who don’t suffer with anxiety.
But to me it makes logical sense.

This is how it began.

But since the age of 10 it has escalated into so much more than just a paralysing fear.
The fear has given birth to many, many babies and bred into a crippling anxiety that leaves me breathless.

Some days are good, like today.
Some days are bad.

Last week, every time I got into the drivers seat of my car I started panicking.
My chest got tight, my breathing changed.

I feared having an accident.

It only occurred to me several days later what my thoughts were doing to me.
In my minds eye I could see all the bad scenarios playing out.
My thoughts just keep building until they make a hideous monster of a thought that takes over everything else.

I cannot help this feeling.
It takes over and there is nothing I can do.

I would love to say that I am confident, happy and outgoing.
On paper perhaps.
But in person no.

It hurts my heart to feel this way, but it is not something I can easily change.

If there is one thing I would want people to know its that –
I cannot help how feel
My anxiety takes over and leaves me almost empty.
I wish I didn’t feel this way.
It doesn’t make me a B***h

It makes me human.

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