SUPPORT: Anxiety and me

SUPPORT: Anxiety and me

By Tracy Douthwaite from Way to Wellbeing

I lived with anxiety most of my life, mostly I masked it, but sometimes it would completely overwhelm me. Even when doing okay and masking it well the anxiety controlled a lot of my choices. I rarely feel anxious now and certainly not to a degree that has an impact on my life. I hope sharing a little of my story may resonate with some of you and help you explore your own relationship with anxiety.

I can’t remember when I first felt anxious, but I can remember being a small child 5/6 and feeling what I would now describe as anxiety- feeling fear of the unknown, a sense of unease.

I thought everyone else understood life and could do it and somehow I had missed that lesson.

It wasn’t seen as anxiety, not even by me for many years. If you can only remember that feeling why would you label it as anxiety it was just me. I can remember my parents saying she is shy, or quiet but never anxious.

I am not sure if I was shy, or whether that is also a self perpetuating label. I liked quiet, I still do, I didn’t like big groups, I still don’t. I didn’t like small talk, I still don’t. I didn’t feel there was anything “wrong” with me, I still don’t but maybe something is wrong with a society that tries to pigeonhole us into boxes where I just wanted to be me. That in part impacted my self esteem and fed the anxiety.

So back to my anxiety, when I reflect now I can remember having palpitations, shallow breathing, stomach pains etc in Junior school, if I was asked to speak up in class, or be seen in any way I felt physically sick. I struggled with friendships and experienced bullying. I tried to make myself so small that I would be able to get through without being noticed.

We are all complex beings

Like everyone, I am a complex human being and that anxious child was only one part of me. Although I was trying to be small there was a huge part of me that didn’t want to fit in, I had strong opinions about…Read More