BLOG: Living with anxiety

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“When things are at their worst I feel like I’m drowning. It feels like I’m kicking my legs and trying to get to the surface but it’s just getting harder and harder.” – Stacey McKeown, a Customer Service Advisor in the Careline team, shares a brave account of her battle with anxiety.

“You don’t look like you have anxiety”

“You just need to stop worrying”

“It might never happen”

…and normally it doesn’t.

I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember and the amount of things that have happened that I’ve imagined are few and far between. You would think that it would help and when I see it written down I totally understand the logic but that’s the problem, anxiety isn’t logical. It turns possible into probable. It gives you so many options of how many things can go wrong that clearly one of these terrible things is bound to come true, that’s my logic.

Anxiety isn’t worry. Everyone worries, it’s a part of being a human being (especially in the crazy times we are living in) but anxiety is something else. It’s getting to your front door to leave for work and feeling like you can’t step over the threshold because you feel like you might get hit by a car. It’s a nagging feeling in the middle of the night that something’s happened to a friend and having to ring them to check they’re okay. It’s the constant thoughts running through your head not giving you the chance to figure out which statements are true and which are false. It’s tiring.

When things are at their worst I feel like I’m drowning. It feels like I’m kicking my legs and trying to get to the surface but it’s just getting harder and harder. Anxiety is always going to be in my life. Through some hard work and some excellent professionals I’ve learnt how to manage it, I’ve learnt techniques to calm the thoughts and figure out when I need to step away from situations, I’ll read my book, go for a walk, play my music really loud and dance round the kitchen but sometimes that just doesn’t work.

I like to be in control and the thought of being out of control terrifies me but accepting that some days I just haven’t got myself together is also important. I’ve learnt how to ask for help. I’ve surrounded myself with people who I can talk to and feel safe with.  They know when to tell me that they’re noticing my warning signs and making a plan so things don’t get worse. If they do get worse they are there to pull me to the surface. Importantly I know that I am not my anxiety.

Liverpool Waterfront