Living with anxiety

Mental health, unfortunately has a huge stigma surrounding it. I think some people can’t understand it, but I also think others choose not to. Whether or not people understand it, mental illnesses are very much real and I have battled anxiety since I was a teenager. Living with anxiety is something I’ve often referred to as “soul destroying”. It eats you up, takes away your happiness and changes you massively as a person. I have always been a worrier. It’s part of my personality, and it’s something I carry with me everyday of my life. Sometimes, at certain stages of my life it can become so bad that it feels as though it’s completely taking over. I become very distant to friends and family and hardly ever want to leave the house.

At my worst, I suffer terrible panic attacks alongside my anxiety. If anybody has ever experienced them, they’ll know exactly how awful they are. When people, especially a GP, ask me to describe how I feel when I’m having one I literally mutter the words “I feel like I’m going to die”. Because honestly that’s how it feels. I get dizzy, clammy, my heart starts racing and then I feel as though the walls are closing in and everything seems to be going dark. Of course I’ve been reassured that I will never die from a panic attack, and I’m still very much alive, but in that moment, you don’t think see or think clearly, and that’s exactly what it does, takes over your mind. I read an amazing book a few years ago called “Reasons to stay alive” by Matt Haig. I strongly recommend anybody who feels the same to consider grabbing a copy and having a read. It brings a difficult and sensitive subject out of the darkness and into the light.

My anxiety is at its peak when I’m pregnant and post natal. I get these awful visions of bad things happening to my baby. It can range from becoming really ill, or as extreme as being run over and no matter what I try to tell myself, I can’t snap out of it. Obviously, when I had my first child and experienced these visions, I reluctantly went to visit a GP, scared she was going to tell me what I was envisioning was crazy and I was crazy but she was able to reassure what I was experiencing was Post Natal Anxiety. Great, so not only was I suffering with generalised anxiety I now had another type thrown into the mix. She was very reassuring though and did tell me it was common, but I did need to start looking after myself more and try to get enough sleep. 

So here it is, back again, as Raya is only 2 months, my old friend post natal anxiety. Although I know what to expect and I’ve been told it’s common, it doesn’t make the visions any less uneasy. It doesn’t affect my parenting skills in any way 
whatsoever, but I do find myself asking my partner to carry my 
baby down the stairs or checking and re checking her 
temperature to ensure she isn’t getting sick. 

So if there are any new mothers out there, especially first time mums who are feeling the same, or experiencing similar, it is more common that you realise, it does get better but it does feel great to talk to somebody, in particular a medical professional. It’s easy to see when your body is broken, physically. But your 
mind also needs the same amount of love and care. And self care 
isn’t selfish.

I hope this honest post has helped at least one person today. Helped them to realise they’re not alone and we all need a little bit of help sometimes. Anxiety can make you feel as though you can’t trust your instincts or rely on your own thoughts anymore. 
But it can be cured. 

Are you living with anxiety? There is SO much help available. I found the Pandas website amazing for pre and post natal anxiety. Check them out or drop me a message. 

Grace x

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