I feel like I’ve suffered with anxiety on and off since I was a teenager. I remember I became a bit of a recluse at some point in my teens, people would knock for me and I wouldn’t go out and then when I did I would be physically sick. My mum took me to the doctors, I remember the doctor asking my mum if I could be pregnant! The look on my mothers face! I obviously wasn’t but I think it was a nervous energy that I had and a bit of anxiety that had crept in from out of nowhere.
Everytime I had a bout of it, it seemed to get worse every time. I remember very vividly the first time I had a panic attack. I was coming home from work on the DLR (docklands light railway) for those who might not know what that is, I was sitting next to the window and was really tired, I was about 20 seconds from my stop when I saw the train passing in the opposite direction, I remember thinking, “it’s like being on a rollercoaster” when boom, my heart started racing, I felt really hot and my hands started shaking. I had no idea what was happening but I knew I had to get off of the train. I got up and walked to the door but the train wasn’t at the station yet so I obviously couldn’t get off. My legs were shaking uncontrollably at this point and my heart was still thudding in my chest. All I kept thinking was, “I need to get off. I need to get off”, which was impossible to do which made me panic even more. Like I said that must have lasted for about 20 seconds but it truly felt like a good five minutes, like time just stood still. Unless you’ve experienced that yourself it’s hard to explain the terror that builds up in you and the fear that your hearts just gonna explode in your chest or you’re just gonna end up screaming and lose control of yourself. That is the scariest thing, is that you feel like you’ve lost control of your thoughts, your body and your whole self and it’s hard to be calm and rational when you feel like you’ve lost control of yourself. This incident happened maybe about 10 years ago and still to this day I struggle with getting on any kind of train. The thought of not being able to get off of any kind of transport when I want to sends my brain into a bit of a swirl and I can feel a bit of panic creeping in. Many times I’ve got on the train and I’m clinging on to the pole because I’ve convinced myself that its going to happen again and lo and behold…. it does, because I’ve made it happen. That’s the thing with anxiety, your brain gets into a very negative thought patterns and unless you’re aware of them and what your brains doing, it’s so hard to get out of that vicious cycle. Even when you realise what you’re brain is doing, it’s still hard to think differently about something that you’ve always thought negatively about. I’m still not over it to be honest, I haven’t actually been on a train for about 6 months now. I do anything to avoid it and no-one close to me really knows that I have an issue with it. I think it makes me sound stupid and weak, I know that I’m not stupid or weak but unfortunately other peoples opinions matter to me.
I hardly EVER talk about any of this with anyone. I’ve gone through a large portion of my life pretending that I don’t have anxiety and that the way I feel sometimes is normal but it’s not. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life not really enjoying what I was doing because I had either worried too much about it beforehand or was worrying about it at the time. I have finally decided that I don’t want to live my life like that anymore and I’ve decided to write about it to get it all of my system. I hit a real low at the end of last year and I started reading loads about anxiety and into meditation and I feel like I’m in a better place, not 100% but definitely better than I have been in years.
There was a quote that I saw in some Instagram post that said “These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” I think that sums up most of us perfectly.