Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Anxiety, you're a bug a boo

Anxiety is caring too much about everything.
Depression is not caring about anything.
Having both is the constant worry about the now, while still being hurt by the past.

Dear Anxiety,

We have known one another for a very long time. My first clear memory of you becoming a bit of a pain was when I was 17, shortly after the break up of a relationship. I became plagued by self-doubt and social anxiety. So, in the years hence, I spent a lot of time living my life feeling like I was imposing myself on my friends. University in particular was a very lonely time.

Then the social anxiety bled into my work life, my intrusive thoughts leading to anxiety attacks and sickness absence. I kept it a secret for the longest time from MrB, until one day I was caught and I came clean about the horrible anxiety attacks that made me look fine, when I was falling apart inside.
MrB helped me to get you in check, 'it's ok, you're ok, just one step at a time.' He would coax me into work, often dropping me off to help me through the panic. (Remembering this is very emotional for me, he really is amazing).

About 2 years of no severe anxiety passed, August 2009 to early 2011. My halcyon days. I'd say yes to social plans (every time, and turn up). I learned to battle you, anxiety. I learned to know how you felt, and I could ignore it because I thought it would get better over time. I got really good at ignoring, pushing past you. I read about social anxiety, it helped a little But then I had babies.

Severe antenatal anxiety. Everything was something to worry about, and catastrophising became my mainstay. If I dropped a sock on the grass in the garden, I'd have to re wash it, in case there was some cat poo remains from years ago there. Simply because the leaflets said to be careful of cat faeces.

So, when my PND developed, my anxiety had already peaked and was once again combined with depression. I had to choose, in my first CBT appointment, in July 2014, between CBT for anxiety or depression. I had to CHOOSE, there and then. I chose depression, because it was making my life the most miserable then.

It's now February 2016, and I am done with you, anxiety. I have an irrational fear of dog poo. Standing in it, walking past it. It makes me mean, shouty and ridiculous when  out with the boys. It causes me so much worry that I prefer not to walk places with the boys.

This is just one example, I have plenty more reasons to give anxiety the push.

Your days are numbered, my heart shrinking, attention seeking little pal. I want to delete your number, block you on twitter and never see you again.

I've been referred for CBT, and in the meantime I'll be writing, I'll be seeking self-help and i'll do whatever I can do to stop you in your tracks.

I deserve to be happy and kind to myself.

Yours, Caroline

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