My Anxiety and Me
Posted by bexy22
12th Jan 2015

I can't remember a time where I felt completely "sane". It's a funny word; sane.
Being insane has the implications that you are crazy, that you do reckless and inappropriate things because your brain doesn't function properly. Which I guess is kind of true in a way. My brain doesn't function normally, sometimes it doesn't even function at all, and this can cause me to do, or not do, certain things that I might not if my mind wasn't constantly battling with itself.

I suffer from anxiety, mainly health anxiety. I do also suffer bouts of depression because of this. I vividly remember as a timid six-year-old going to watch a film at the cinema, totally innocent and completely unaware that the events that would occur that day would change my life forever. That sounds super serious and that something terrible happened. It didn't, not really. To most people, it would be something they would probably forget, especially almost 20 years later. Others might still remember and laugh about it. For me, it has haunted me ever since.

I threw up. Not just a bit. A lot. I ate far to many pick n mix sweets and in the middle of the cinema in front of everyone, I puked. People turned to look at me, I was so embarrassed. I couldn't get out of the seats to run to the toilet in time, not that I knew where the toilets were. From that day on, I have lived my life as cautiously as possible, terrified of a reoccurrence,

Since then, there have been so many things I couldn't or wouldn't do. I learned that I was emetophobic and it felt better to know there was a name for it. I wouldn't ride fairground rides, I've been to DisneyWorld 3 times and could probably count on one hand the rides I went on. I can't even handle the teacups. When you see kids half your size and a third of your age queuing up to go on Splash Mountain when you're too scared to go on the Snow White ride, you start to feel pretty silly.

I don't drink to excess and never have. Okay well except for that one time when I was 14 and my friend threw a house party and it was the first time I'd ever drank more than 2 bottles of Smirnoff Ice. The next morning, I was sick and let me tell you, I have never drank another Smirnoff Ice to this day. I don't like not being in control of my body, mostly because I might be sick or I might end up being sick he next day.

I don't like long car or bus journeys, I get anxious that I might throw up which in turn makes me feel like I'm going to throw up. Working is a huge issue also. Anything that involves me being in an unfamiliar place and/or far from home. And cinemas? Yeah, I don't go to them anymore

Over the last few years, my emetaphobia has manifested into health anxiety. Now not only am I petrified about being sick or people around me being sick, I now over-analyse everything. In the last year alone, I've convinced myself I've had a heart defect, cervical cancer, skin cancer, a brain tumour and IBS. I obsessively Google symptoms hoping to prove myself wrong but of course, I never do. I'm scared to go to a doctor in case he tells me I'm going to die. I lie awake all night sometimes just wondering what it will be like to die, when it's going to happen, how it's going to happen. It's exhausting.

The thing with any anxiety is, to people who have no experience of it, these kinds of thoughts seem ridiculous. Sometimes I will tell my boyfriend that there is a symptom I'm worried about and he will joke that im going to die and I've only got a week left to live. I know he says it being lighthearted and doesn't mean to be nasty. But to say something like that to a raging hypochondriac is the worst thing. Similarly, telling people with anxiety and depression to simply change the way they think or to just care less about things or think about something more positive. It doesn't work like that. I've been ashamed for years that I was crazy, that people would laugh at me or not take me seriously if I was to tell them how I really felt. But in the end I told people. For the most part, they were supportive but I think the support can only go so far.

Unless your brain is forever fighting with itself, I think it is truly hard to understand what life is like for someone with anxiety and depression. Telling them that they just need to be more positive or it's their fault they feel that way because they don't do anything to help themselves when most anxiety sufferers consider getting out of bed in the morning a huge achievement, is not helpful at all. But I don't blame people for saying things like that because anxiety is so unknown and not talked about and taboo, that you could forgive people for thinking that their suggestions of "not thinking about it" are actually great pieces of advice.

So for those of you who are in the same boat as me, you're doing so great. If anyone tries to make you feel bad for having a legitimate illness, just ignore them. They have no idea what they're talking about. Just keep being you, keep fighting and one day, you never know, you might even end up being "sane". :)

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