Living With Anxiety

Living With Anxiety

Urgh. Anxiety. So much has been talked about it I imagine you probably didn’t blink when you saw the title of this post. I get it, every celebrity seems to be chatting about their mental health and it’s covered in oh so many magazines too. That’s a good thing, a really good thing. But I understand why people now probably don’t totally understand how hard life can be living with a mental illness.

Don’t worry folks, I’m here to tell you.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression so many years ago I can’t even remember how, or why I went to my GP. I don’t really remember when I developed an eating disorder or why, and I honestly couldn’t pick apart what ‘triggered’ it all.

But from the gazillion years of therapy, I’ve now gone through I’ve discovered only very recently something a little bit shocking. My anxiety is the overriding mental illness I live with, and that has caused my depression. To say this realization floored me is an understatement. I never linked my persistent and aggressive worrying with the periods I felt really low.

But it makes perfect sense really.

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How do you cope when anxiety strikes? I live with depression and anxiety, and this is how I cope.

Anxiety is more than just the state of worry. It’s a perpetual myth-building exercise whereby you cling to a ridiculous thought, and let it simmer so long it sticks in your mind. That irritating thought does more than simmer and stick, it stews. It builds to a crescendo of hideous thoughts that hold you back from doing the most mundane of tasks. Or, you push through and do these tasks with the constant fear of ‘what you know will absolutely happen,’ happening.

Often, those with anxiety have seemingly ‘normal’ phobias. The fear of flying, the fear of a partner cheating, the fear of getting fat. Yet these are not ‘normal’ fears and, anyway, alongside all of these socially acceptable fears one might also add fear of tripping and falling on a tube track. Or fear of every single human connection you make becoming toxic because you’re the absolute worst friend and OMG so annoying and how do you even function in this world anyway.

My specific anxieties are as seemingly simple as my fear of driving (I don, and being driven: I NEVER sleep in the car because I can’t trust anyone’s driving and everyone knows that if you stay awake and hyper vigilant you can control the car……

I have a very specific fear that everyone I love will die. Of cancer specifically. But of anything really. When Oli goes out, I’m convinced he’ll get so drunk he’ll trip over and hit his head in that film-specific way you die instantly. Or that he’ll get into a fight and die. Or fall on a tube track.

Yep, none of these have ever happened. But they could, right? And if I worry hard enough I can protect everyone.

The stat: ‘one in three of us will get cancer’….or: ‘be affected by cancer’ (or whatever it is) becomes my mantra. I cling to that stat and apply it with ruthless efficiency. ‘Okay, so my dad died of cancer…..my mum had cancer, my granddad died of cancer too…..what are my odds now?’

Oli and my mum have to point out the very obvious fact that we are living longer, so much older people getting cancer are skewing the stats somewhat.

A few nights ago, Oli had to break down why it was highly unlikely Anaïs would drop dead from Leukemia. I had to hear stats, and reasons why, and understand the headline I’d read about infant mortality being the worst in Europe (I’d transformed the headline from fact to fiction in one bold move).

I worry Anaïs will be kidnapped daily. Every time somebody tells me how cute she is (because that’s what everyone says to every single baby in the universe) I decide she is now at a higher risk.

After her jabs, I thought she would probably get meningitIs. And after a particularly heavy Eastenders session I think she’ll be bullied just like the crap actors in the school bullying storyline, and maybe take drugs, or become a prostitute one day.

What if us living in London means she’ll end up in a gang? A scary one where they take drugs and mug people. OR a bullying gang of bitchy schoolgirls wearing Topshop clothes and drinking cortado’s (schoolkids in coffee shops are NOT okay).

And don’t get me started on the very, VERY specific fear I will trip while holding Anaïs and drop her out of a window. That one goes through my head hourly.

I worry about money, constantly. I worry about Brexit, and Trump and the DUP and what is happening to the world like everyone else but I worry about what that means for me, my baby and what we’ll do when a nuclear war erupts.

And I really worry I’ll pass this onto my daughter. Because living with anxiety is exhausting, and scary and upsetting and depressing. And I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

L x

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10 Comments

  1. 6th July 2017 / 10:31 am

    Thank you so much for sharing lovely. I understand so much of what you’re going through. x

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2017 / 11:08 am

      Oh man, it sucks that you understand it all so well but nice to know I’m not alone! PS – OMG not long to go until the big day!!! L xx

  2. 6th July 2017 / 10:50 am

    Ohhhh LUCY this is me all over and I both hate and love that someone else can express it too <3 Sending so much love – and a thought that one of these days we need to actually get together and make each other feel a bit better! xxxx

    • Lucy
      Author
      6th July 2017 / 11:09 am

      It’s equal parts comforting and painful knowing someone else feels the same right? Gah! Yes, we MUST. Bloody Mary’s with extra vodka now I’m not preggo! xx

  3. 8th July 2017 / 10:09 am

    This is so recognizable! I’m glad we are all having open discussions about it. I think the only thing that helps me is recognizing my fears and then moving forward with life anyway. I changed my IG bio last week to reflect this, funny coincidence.

    Sending you big hugs and I love you for being so open about this!

    • Lucy
      Author
      25th July 2017 / 10:41 am

      I agree, talking about it is a little scary but the more people choose to be open – the more we can all move forward. I love the feel the fear and do it anyway attitude! xx

  4. 8th July 2017 / 10:37 am

    Lucy, you are so brave to write this and I can totally relate to a lot of what you are saying. I’m currently reading The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge, which I can highly recommend and is so relevant to the types of stuff we women worry about these days – but what I’ve also learned is there’s no ‘cure’ for anxiety, it’s a case of coping strategies and finding ways of dealing with it which is bloody hard!! You’re very inspirational and totally nailing it as a mum, I’m sure. And I’m certain you have helped many people feel they’re not alone just by sharing this xx

    • Lucy
      Author
      25th July 2017 / 10:44 am

      Thanks so much Lucy, this is SUCH a lovely comment. I’m also looking up that book – sounds brilliant, and yep…..coping mechanisms are what it’s all about. I just wish the cure was eating lots of cheese……hmmmm one day 😉 xx

  5. Mohsen
    10th September 2017 / 10:03 pm

    One’s awareness of his particular anxieties is often the starting point in confronting and countering them. Sharing your anxieties in the way you did in this article and with those nearer to you is a great insight to others. Thank you. For a great writing.

  6. 10th November 2017 / 8:12 pm

    Oh, Lucy. All of this. It is such a crippling thing, isn’t it? Anxiety. I deal with so much of it as well. I share the same fear of loved ones dying and so far no therapist has been able to help that. They just kind of shrug instead of offering solutions on conquering this! Sending love and easy-going vibes from one anxious soul to another! Happy weekend, love!

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