I’ve wrote and deleted a blog post like this so many times over the past few months. I know it’s not the happy-go-lucky post of the cute and sometimes hilarious antics of my now fourteen month old covered in chocolate/sand/mud (delete where appropriate) but I’ve always said how cathartic this blog is for me – so here goes.
In the past few months I’ve read lots of brave ladies (and men!) baring their souls and telling their stories. It’s unbelievable to know how many people are suffering with a “invisible illness” every day and yet we may have no idea. Whilst this could be seen as a negative that mental health is so common place now, it’s also encouraging to know that the person sitting next to you on the train or that shop assistant who always smiles at you and who you think has her shit together could be fighting a battle just like you.
I’ve been suffering from anxiety- more specifically health anxiety- since 2010.
My close friends and family know 2010 was the year my parents divorced after my Dad’s affair which resulted in him walking away from both my Mum and also me. I found myself in a toxic relationship which also ended in me getting cheated on and within the year I had lost both my Nanna’s. My already small family of five was now down to two.
My anxiety wasn’t a concern back then. I was going out (too much) and drinking (also too much) and masked my feelings with alcohol and bad decisions. I hate the idea of my daughter reading this and knowing I’m far from perfect, but hopefully she will understand.
I then met him. My future husband and the would soon be father of A-O. He changed my life completely and I know he would hate me saying it but he saved my life by showing me that not all men are the same. He taught me how to fall and stay in love and that was the start of our story. This was 2012 and I believed my anxiety had disappeared.
2014 it raised its ugly head again. I guess it had started again the year before when I moved to Suffolk. It was absolute hell telling my mum I was planning on moving in with Chris and moving 100 miles away and so I put off telling her for weeks – and months – stressing myself out every day. It was what I wanted, I knew that, but I just hated breaking mum’s heart. When we moved in together it was great until we had a sofa delivered.
What if they can’t bring it up the stairs? What if they shout at me? What if it doesn’t fit? What if me moving in wasn’t the right choice? What if we split up? I started spiralling.
I unconsciously starting wiggling my teeth out of fear. Little did I know this little teeth wiggling would be the start of a horrendous habit brought on by anxiety.
I spent the next year obsessively checking my teeth wiggling them to check whether they was going to come out. Every day, at least 5-6 times a day and even more if I was anxious about something. It resulted in more than one trip to the doctors crying for help for a serious diagonosis I had given myself after consulting my good old friend, Dr Google.
It only got worse when I got engaged later 2014. I was beside myself with the idea of losing a tooth and not being able to get it fixed before my wedding day and having a gap in my pictures. I know in the grander scheme with illnesses and terroism in the world, a gappy smile wasn’t the worst thing but that’s the thing about anxiety, it makes everything seem like worst case scenario. I had two months of therapy- cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)- and slowly weaned myself off checking so much and I began to eat normally again. Oh yes, I forgot to mention at my worst, I would be cutting up all my food so I was no more than 2-3cm so it wouldn’t “break” my teeth 😩. I literally didn’t use my two front teeth to bite in to anything it was all meticulously cut up to ensure I did it have to bite.
Thankfully this all stopped a few months before our wedding although of course I had a few slips where I obsessively worried my fiancé or my mum would die (like my Nans) and I’d end up alone.
A few weeks before our wedding day I found out I was pregnant and it was the most happiest I’ve ever been. My mum told me I’d have to control my anxiety because getting myself stressed could cause me to miscarry. I didn’t want that. I loved this little jellybean so much I wanted to protect her. I didn’t want to lose her (sigh, like I had my nans)
Shit…it was back 👿.
I spent my wedding day, honeymoon and most of my 1st trimester paranoid I’d miscarry or lose her. Even when I had my first NHS scan at 9 weeks it wasn’t enough for me and I ended up having a 13 week and a 16 week scan before my 20 week anomaly scan. The rest of the pregnancy was a daily anxiety of checking there was “enough” kicks for my daily count. Having in my arms was a slight help, but I’ll admit I obsess over every heat rash or spiked tempature she has.
This is already the longest post I’ve ever wrote so I think it’s time for me to round this off but as you can probably guess adding another person to a family I’m already bloody terrified of losing has only heightened my anxiety.
Amelia-Olive has been my biggest reason for wanting to beat this bloody thing for good. But every now and then I can have a wobble. Only a month or so again I was having a particularly bad anxiety attack with a stomach pain and my brain was automatically coming to the conclusion it was cancer. This resulted in a tearful doctors office visit with a extremely compassionate lady doctor. She said if CBT wasn’t working anymore for me I should try medication to control my anxiety. I brought the prescription. I took the first tablet…and then I looked at the innocence on my daughter’s face and knew this wasn’t who I wanted her to see when she looked at me. *Side note : I know a lot of mum’s and dads, boys and girls on medication and for them it’s the right thing and works for them, I’m certainly not condemning people for having that extra help. It’s just not for me 🙂.
Most days are good, great in fact and I would never ever change my life becuse my family, friends and my husband and daughter are the best things I’ve ever had. But some days are a struggle, especially with new people and to be honest even people I’ve known for a long time too. One comment said the wrong way can make me believe someone doesn’t like me and then I wonder what’s wrong with me. It makes me want to cancel plans incase I say the wrong thing and people don’t like me or just don’t “get me”.
I still worry about illnesses especially with A-O and especially because she ended up in an ambulance after a frantic 999 call at 12 weeks old. It’s something I’m going to have to deal with probably the rest of my life with the help of CBT, positive thoughts and the love and support of my loved ones. If this post helps just one person know they’re not alone and encourages just one person to be that little bit kinder than it’s completely worth metaphorically stripping myself down naked in this post 🙈🙈.
Just remember social media only shows the best snap shots of our lives 📸
Thank you for reading to the end 😊