If you known me or have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve suffered with anxiety for most of my life. At the start of 2014 I found out I had anxiety, very much by accident. Before that I had no idea and I really had no clue that the way I was living wasn’t ‘normal’ (for want of a better word, because normal is just a setting on the dryer).
I was always afraid. Afraid of what could go wrong, afraid of what if, afraid of all the bad things. And before I knew what was happening, I was living my daily life in a state of fear. I was tired every single day, my heart raced and pounded in my chest, I didn’t sleep well, my arms and legs felt weak, my brain wouldn’t think clearly, I couldn’t cope with simple problems. While none of this was life threatening, it was incredibly debilitating and I was really just surviving each day.
The first time I sought out help for anxiety, I didn’t really know I was looking for help with anxiety. I was actually looking for help with fatigue. What unfolded was a whole heap of health issues including adrenal fatigue, gut problems and sleep apnoea as well as anxiety. If you think physical problems are just physical, I’m here to tell you they are not. I wasn’t connected to my body and it was screaming at me for help. I didn’t listen to what was going on in my head and so it showed up in my body.
At my very worst, I wasn’t able to work more than part time hours, I was napping every day, I couldn’t think straight and I was just generally very miserable. I worried about what people thought of me, in the sense that maybe I was being judged when I wasn’t actually myself, which for me is worse than being judged for being myself. I worried about how I was showing up in relationships. I felt like a crappy sister, daughter, girlfriend and friend.
They were some really dark days and I often feel like I blinked and missed my twenties. While everyone was enjoying this very care-free time of life, I was struggling to get through most days.
The thing that I hate most is how much I missed or didn’t enjoy because I simply couldn’t. In the moment, I couldn’t be present and enjoy what I was doing because I was worried about something else. I was in a constant state of anxiety. Any number of things could trigger it. Sometimes I look back now and I can’t believe that each time I drove my car, I was triggering anxiety.
The hardest part, was going through this alone. I live in a small town and mental wellbeing is just not something people talk about. I found that most people rarely experienced feeling anxious and so they just couldn’t understand. I had no one guiding me or telling me how to manage it. I had to work out how to get through it on my own.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars and countless hours working through anxiety to get to where I am today. I decided that no way was I going to live my whole life like this. 25 years was more than enough. Living 80+ years like this would be a tragedy.
Now, my life is very different and I’m a different person. In fact I’m the person I’m meant to be. Through all the work I’ve done I’m now able to manage my anxiety and other health issues better than ever before. There were times I thought I’d never ever feel better and I’m finally there. I still have some work to do to be anxiety free, but I’m working on it every day and I believe I’ll get there.
Recently I kept crossing paths and getting little whispers from other people who were suffering. Once I created space in my own head, I started to be able to see it in other people just by observing them and listening to my own intuition. A friend told me about her husband suffering chronically with anxiety for 10 years and how she felt like she’d lost him for that time. A chance meeting at the airport with a young lady having a panic attack. A friend’s son showing the very early signs of anxiety.
I believe these people crossed my path for a reason.
I believe I’m meant to share this story. Not for sympathy and attention, I’m not about that. But because I can’t bare to think of someone else going through this, especially alone.
I’m in a place now where I can help others because I went through it myself.
Many times I thought I wouldn’t get through this. But I did and I am. My life is by no means perfect or free of anxiety. But it is 1000 times better than it was and I am who I’m meant to be.
Can you relate to my story?
I want you to know this.
Know that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with you and you are not crazy.
Know that this is not how it has to be and you don’t have to settle for this life.
Know that the voice in your head telling you there has to be more than this and better than this, is right.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. You’re either here because you’re curious about me and my story.
Or you’re here because you can relate and my story is your story too.
You want more in your life and that’s OK. You don’t want your life to be controlled by fear, panic and anxiety any more.
Let me gently guide you back to the real you.
If you’ve simply had enough of living with anxiety and want to live a better, more enjoyable life, you’re in the right spot.
I believe you can manage anxiety. I believe it for you because I believed it for me.
One of the mantras I live by is ‘Incremental Building.’ It means taking small steps and building up to what you want to achieve. This is one of the most important ways to tackle anxiety.
So, let’s have a chat and work out what the next best step is for you. I’m here, reach out
Go on, do it for yourself. Don’t be scared.
I promise you it’ll be OK
P.S. That photo is me at the start of 2016 marching off to a helicopter ride. When I was young my brothers went in a helicopter and although I really, really wanted to, I was too terrified.
This time I chose fun and excitement and beauty over fear. And it was amazing.