Anxiety doesn’t happen to people like me.

August 6, 2017

I would describe myself as strong, fearless and courageous. I have balls bigger than watermelons. I'm not afraid to speak my mind or travel 22 thousand miles across the world alone. Im not afraid of major operations. Most days I'm not even frightened of having incurable cancer. So, you see, anxiety really doesn't belong in my world (or at least I thought).

Stupidly I thought anxiety was reserved for nervous people. People who hate being alone, weak people. Forgive me, this was judgmental, rude, and one of the worst assumptions I've ever made. The thing is, we all make judgements about others in our heads-and have these pre-conceived ideas about things we know nothing about. The shocking thing is, whilst making these assumptions I too always had anxiety, it's just I didn't recognise it as such and thought I merely had a few silly quirks.

I've always hated loud bangs, fireworks and balloons are a no-no. I'm extremely jumpy. Lately I'm anxious about being in cars and people walking too close to me. I have a very fast heart beat but nobody ever asked me if I had anxiety. Of course, I didn't think it was anything either, I guess inside your body tells the real truth.

A few days ago I had what I think was my first panic attack. I worked myself up in to such state earlier in the day because I was having a scan. Then I had an argument with my daughter which made me very angry. I felt really strange all evening but didn't really know why.

Around bedtime I got up to go to the toilet and then I became extremely dizzy and I couldn't see anything clearly. I couldn't really speak I just wanted to sit down on my bed and will it to go away.

I realised that this anxiety had been building up and up for some time, and then it just exploded. There was no where to run, no facade to hide behind. The next day, I promised myself to be truthful with my family and friends about the things that made me anxious, so we could try to avoid the triggers. I never want to have a panic attack again but if I do then knowing what I'm dealing with will hopefully make things a little easier.

It appears that anxiety disorders can happen to anyone. The world is a scary place, and it's hard out there. I still think I'm brave and fearless with balls the size of watermelons, but I also suffer with anxiety- it's part of me, and it's not shameful or negative to admit to.

Caroline x

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