Thursday 15 November 2018

I’ve always been an anxious person, and a worrier/over-thinker for as long as I can remember. I just put it down to how my brain works and how I was born. I worry about everything and nothing, especially when it comes to my family, and I’ve always done that.
My anxiety comes in many forms and it triggers at certain things. The big ones are travelling, working nights at work, and social situations. I hate going ‘out out’ because I get so uncomfortable and paranoid around drunk people (because I don’t really drink myself so I’m always sober if I go out) and I hate being in that environment. I also hate telephone calls. I will avoid it at all costs where I can (unless its super important).
My fear of travelling has always been there. I’m not scared of flying or anything like that, I always just worry about stuff back home and if the worst was to happen (such as if the vehicle crashed or we got hit by another car. I know this is dark!).
I always played down my anxiety as just worrying and functioned on a day to day basis as usual, but it was always there. I think what tipped me over the edge of needing to get help was a couple of factors. One being starting my night shifts at work and I get myself all worked up about them (when I know they’re okay and there’s never any issues), and the second being the Manchester Attack last May (I won’t get into that because it’s a very horrible event to talk about for the victims and their families).
I finally plucked up the courage to speak to the GP and it was the best thing I ever did! He was so understanding and listened to my problems and helped me the best he could. I was then prescribed Sertraline which is an anti-anxiety medication. I also self-referred to an online counselling service, which I had a counsellor on the other end who would send me messages every week about my progress on the app.
I didn’t find the online service particularly helpful, because it was a series of modules and it didn’t do much for my anxiety and mood, but the medication really helped me. I felt a difference within a week or two and I felt so much better. I know medication is not the cure, but it definitely helps. I felt my mood lift and help me function better.
Now, I did something very stupid and stopped taking them after a while because I felt I was better (because the tablets were working), and that’s when my mood began to plummet again. I have done this a couple of times now and I’ve had to go back to the GP to get another prescription, which sucks. I have found some of the doctors I’ve had about this very condescending and made me feel worse and embarrassed (which I think puts a lot of people off from going because of that fear) but I got through it.
I am now back on the medication and it’s helping but not to the extent it was before, so I am thinking of going back to the doctors to have this increased, but they’re definitely taking the edge off my anxious thoughts and paranoia.
The strategies I use to help deal with this and what hobbies/activities, are spending time with my family and friends, watching YouTube and Netflix, listening to music (and singing and dancing around my bedroom like an idiot) and doing makeup.
I am so passionate about makeup and it’s a relaxation method for me. I can focus and put all of my energy into creating a look, and I don’t have anxious thoughts. I don’t do it to make myself look better (which helps I must say) and I don’t do it for anyone else, but it makes me feel better and, when it’s all done, I feel unstoppable and fierce (which sounds so cliché I know). It’s a great relaxation method for me.
My family are so understanding and support me no matter what and have been a massive help. I would be a mess without them, so when I spend time with them, they help me relax and calm down and it makes me happier. Same goes with friends, I have amazing friends who understand and support me (who are also writing in this series!). We all help each other I think with different problems and its nice to have someone to talk to who understands.

That pretty much sums up my story, experience and my coping strategies. Living with anxiety is not fun at all, its like a constant knot in your stomach that can’t be shifted just by telling yourself to calm down and that it’s nothing. It’s affected me so much (and still does) but I can function as a human being and I am determined not to let it run my life. I hope this was helpful to some people living with this horrible disorder. Thanks for reading!

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