I did something today that I found really scary – no I didn’t parachute out of an aeroplane or bungee jump off a bridge – I opened up about my anxiety and shared my deepest darkest fear publicly on social media!
Now in doing this I seriously suffered further anxiety, worried that people would think I was doing this to just get attention and have people say nice things about me and I can assure you this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Outwardly I am a confident and chatty person but I’ve always been a worrier – even as a kid I wondered if people liked me. When I saw the wonderful charity Mind doing their Take Off the Tape campaign today I knew I had to take part. We need to get people talking about their anxiety and not holding it in, it’s absolutely draining and exhausting (I speak from experience) – initially I thought I would put I get anxious about “Failing”, “Not being good enough” or “Affecting my kids with my anxiety” amongst about another 100 thoughts and then thought I do actually share that part of my anxiety with people, I am quite open that I am an anxious person, but what I rarely mention is that I am constantly thinking; “Do I annoy people?”, “What do people think about me?”, “Have I offended them by saying x, y and z” – boiling down to “Do people really like me?”.
It took me an hour to post the image – I was flushing and feeling so hot and terrified as I pressed post on Instagram and my true inner feelings were shared across Facebook (including my Blog page) and Twitter as well! What I couldn’t have foreseen is the generous outpouring of support and lovely comments from my wonderful friends – I cannot thank you all enough, really I can’t! It means more to me than you can ever realise!
Everyday is a constant battle with these negative thoughts – One example being, you send someone a message on Facebook and you can see that they’ve read it, but they don’t reply and hours and even maybe a couple of days have gone past – logically you know it’s probably a case of they’ve opened it, been busy and thought I’ll read that later and forgotten, or they’ve written a reply and just haven’t hit send (things I’ve done myself) but that small voice in your head says “you’ve offended them”, “you’re just being annoying”, “They don’t like you” and you know in your heart of hearts it’s silly (and to be honest, and not in a horrible way – they probably don’t give you that much thought) but that’s the issue with anxiety – it isn’t logical, it’s all consuming and tiring! This is just one example of the hundreds of thoughts I have all day everyday. Some days are better and you do wonder how you can get so bogged down by your own thoughts, but it creeps up on you and suddenly you’re in floods of tears and you have no clue what to do!
Which is why I am very lucky I have such a wonderful supportive family, who though don’t always understand why my mind does what it does they are always there for me especially my hubby. Also a network of great friends (who, yes I do worry whether they really like me or not!) some of them who are also anxiety sufferers.
Then there is Mind who’s work and support to people like me is just invaluable, I have used them, the counselling sessions were so good, and I would go back to them again and I want to thank them and back them so that they can continue to help more people.
Join in the conversation – here’s how..
Anxiety is shit! It really is! It makes you feel out of control, like you’re losing your mind, completely alone, like you can’t cope and that you’re a failure! It can make just stepping outside and talking with people the hardest thing. Let’s show our support for Mind and make a big noise on social media – Don’t be silenced – we can help each other know that we’re not alone and we can beat this!
What makes you anxious? – Feel free to share, comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I know how you feel and am very happy to listen! Don’t be alone and Don’t be silenced! #TakeOffTheTape – http://www.mind.org.uk/tape xxx