Waiting on the world to change

19:00


Well, this blog post has been sat in my drafts for a few weeks now. I set it to go live last week, and then reverted it back to draft five minutes before it was due to go live.

But, this little space on the Internet has always been an outlet for me to share my feelings, whether that’s my feelings on a new pair of shoes, a trendy bar I love, or something a little more personal, and there’s been something niggling away at me recently that I just need to get off my chest; mainly for my own benefit, but hey, if it helps others then that's always a bonus!

Truth be told, I think the only reason I’ve kept schtum about it so far is because, ‘oh look, another blogger writing about their anxiety’. It all seems a little bit… overdone. Controversial opinion, I know, but although I think it’s great that more people are talking about their mental health – and boy did we need that – I also worry that it’s glamorising it.

Take a look at the comments underneath a Zoella video. I am in no way dismissing the mental health of others, but I can’t help but think that youngsters with a bit of exam stress are slapping the ‘anxiety’ label on it and over dramatizing things. In no way is that Zoe’s fault – undoubtedly, she’s helped a lot of people come to terms with their anxiety – but it was absolutely one of the reasons why I put off booking a GP appointment for so long. I was worried they’d think I was just another millennial that almost wanted to have that anxiety label as much as a Gucci Dionysus.

Does that make me sound daft? It probably does. All I know is that it took the best part of fourteen years to pluck up the courage to see my GP, and even now, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and “hey, I’m cured!” I suppose that’s what I needed to express in this post.



I eventually booked that appointment with my GP. I got put onto some medication and endured the waiting list for CBT. I did everything those thinkpieces told me to.

And yet here I am. Still anxious. In fact, probably the most anxious I’ve ever been. Why is that? Can anyone tell me? Don’t they tell you that CBT cures all?

I remember those weeks I was on the waiting list for therapy, and I would think, "yes, just a few short weeks and I'll be on the road to recovery." But what they don't tell you online, is that these things don't work for everyone.

At the beginning of each CBT session, my therapist would give me questionnaire to fill in. "On a scale of one to ten, how anxious have you felt this week?" If that number was lower than the week before, that would be monitored as progress.

But you see, my anxiety is so much more complex than that; you can’t measure it on a numerical scale. Exhibit A: before July 2016, I hadn’t had a panic attack since 2012. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, and find myself thinking of excuses to cancel plans. And yet other days I can jump on a plane to the Maldives and not give two hoots. Nothing is black and white. It’s very much a grey area.

I can still have an amazing weekend out on the town with my girlfriends. I can still go to the pub and laugh and have an amazing time and drink gin all night with my husband, and I can definitely put on a charade on social media, because that’s what it’s for, right? But sometimes I have darker days, and that’s okay.



So the medication didn’t work. The CBT didn’t work. Neither did the yoga, peppermint tea, and meditation apps. But I’m slowly figuring out other options. I’m learning to listen to my body more; I mean, sure I don’t have a physically intense job, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need a break every now and again. 

I don’t want fuss – I don’t want friends and family to read this post and think I’m unhappy; I’m absolutely the happiest I’ve ever been in my life – I have a gorgeous home, the most incredible family who I am lucky to be close with, and a husband who supports me throughout everything. I think I just need to be understood. When I need to go to the toilet five times before leaving the house, let me. When I flap my hands and pace the room and cry, don’t tell me to calm down, or ask me what I’m so worried about. When I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m going to die, I find it quite comforting to have a hand on the small of my back. And tell me I will be okay.

Just that; “you will be okay”.

And I will.

I've finally got around to booking a short break for Rob and I; obviously we'll be taking Sid too! We're going to be spending a few days in a cosy little cottage in Whitby over Easter. Whitby holds fond memories for me; I used to holiday there a lot with my parents and it's just such a special place.

I've always said there's something so relaxing about being by the coast; I think it'll be just what the doctor ordered.



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8 comments

  1. I don't have anxiety but I am a chronic overthinker, sometimes that works out in my favour because stuff at work I can read situations and see what is happening, but outside of work it's a real real bad thing to have because even at a tricial.message, WhatsApp... if someone reads a WhatsApp message and doesn't reply you start over thinking what have I said? Is it something to offend them and the brain won't switch off. Overthinking and over analysing can take over.

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    1. Meant to put at a trivial level. Predictive bloody text!

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    2. Thanks for your comment Emma. I totally agree, overthinking can really take over. I tend to over-think situations and almost talk myself into having anxiety attacks. x

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  2. I recently started CBT and, whilst I think it's helpful, I'm definitely the most anxious I've been (or either just suddenly very aware of it) and I'm finding it such a frustrating process. I hope that you find way of coping and managing that work for you x

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    1. Thank you so much Fern. I hope you have a positive experience. Everyone is different, I just hope I find something that works for me. x

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  4. Thanks for being honest about this Olivia, While I am so pleased people are talking about mental health more, I too am worried that anxiety is becoming a 'fad' and a label that people attach to feeling stressed or worried. The same with panic attacks - it's really not the same thing that it is sometimes made out to be.
    I can't get on with CBT either, I've tried it twice now and it seems to make me worse!
    I now go to a psychotherapist for a very different treatment, and although it's taken me a while to get into it, I am really starting to see the benefits. I hope you can find something that works for you, I think the key is not expecting a quick fix, and accepting that it might be a long process to overcome (something I'm just starting to come to terms with!) x

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    1. I totally agree with you Kate. I'm looking into other options - I'm signing up to lots of exercise classes to get rid of some of those negative feelings in a positive way so hopefully that will have some kind of improvement! Thanks so much for your comment :) x

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