Living with anxiety

Living with anxiety is tough, its a daily battle against your own body and mind. Its so hard to explain exactly how you feel and why you feel the way you do. Living on the edge waiting for the littlest of things to tip you over into a spiralling whirlwind of self doubt and panic. I’ve lived with anxiety on and off since my late teens, probably even before that. Some weeks I’m great, amazing, on top of the world, able to breathe, laugh, relax and then others I doubt myself with every decision, talking and seeing people becomes a chore, breathing becomes tighter, smiles become forced and laughter doesn’t happen. I lie awake at night so exhausted yet my mind is racing, worrying about things I manage to push to the back when I am busy. I sleep flitfully in and out of nightmares that prey on my fears and then I get up in the morning still exhausted and even more on the edge, tipping further into the anxieties vice like grip.

living with anxiety

Times like these I can’t write, I struggle to get my words out and when I do they seem pointless. Why would anyone want to read my writing? My mind laughs at me and tells me I’m pathetic. It’s at these points that being a Mum becomes extra tough. Anything can tip me over, running late, forgetting something, the house in a mess. All the things I think I am bad at and desperately want to get right seem to go wrong even more. I berate myself for the tiniest, insignificant mistakes, my poor children try and help, watching me get more and more into a state. I try and breathe, calm my racing thoughts and heartbeat and  sometimes it works, the fresh air and sunshine, just being outside I feel less claustrophobic and its enough to bring me back into reality. 

On good weeks it seems ridiculous that I can’t cope, I multi task easily, remember everything and cope well with the usual family dramas. Then others I’m a mess, second guessing everyone and everything. I read people and their responses wrong thinking I have annoyed them for some reason, I retreat into myself becoming timid and shy, not wanting to say the wrong thing, my mind over analysing every detail. I hold my children tighter, loving them more fiercely, more afraid for them, fears I had with PND after Finlay try to resurface. A hug from James, his arms around me make me feel safe, my fears seem further away if only for a few minutes, giving me breathing space and some perspective. The silent tears of frustration, of not being able to explain what exactly is wrong are the only thing giving away my inner turmoil. 

Writing helps, its a form of therapy for me and always has been. Being able to put some sort of order to my rambling thoughts and reading them back helps me to put them into perspective which I guess is what this is all about. On bad days I think I really must do something, speak to someone, get some sort of help and then the good times I try to forget about it, the tough times don’t seem as real and as fresh, they seem silly and so I don’t do anything. A week of little sleep, stress at work, James away and my anxiety levels rocket, hands shake as I try not to panic at things that I can usually take in my stride. Picking the boys up from their Dads sends me off into the deep end, trying to breathe on the way there it takes hours to feel more normal again.

When anxiety comes on suddenly its like you swallow a heavy stone, landing deep in the pit of your stomach you feel the thud sending waves of nausea laping at your dry mouth. Palms sweat, your vision alters making you feel disorientated as everything seems to slow down whilst the thundering race of your heartbeat rings in your ears. It’s ‘fight or flight’ without any extreme reason. Panic attacks become a fear,  that make you hyperventilate so bad your hands and feet turn into claws, vision becomes blurred, sweating and puking it must be just as awful to witness. Having had one so severe once I required anti sickness injections and diazepam just to bring me back into the real world. The fear of having another so bad is always there at the back off your mind, when your pulse starts to race and you start to breathe with difficultly the worry of getting to that point makes it worse.

Living with anxiety is life crippling, life altering, holding you back at every turn. I’m ready to fight it head on, I don’t want to be in its grip waiting for it to spring on me in my times of weakness. I want to stare anxiety in the face and tell it, its not welcome here anymore.

38 Comments

  1. May 2, 2016 / 8:54 am

    I 100% identify with everything that you have written here. You’ve summed up exactly what it is like. I will be showing my husband this post. It can be so all consuming when it hits and then other times people look at you like the other week you were faking it as you’re fine now. This is a great post Eilidh, I’m so sorry that you go through this, but you are an amazing writer and I hope that this helps others understand and helped you as you wrote it xxx
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    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:03 pm

      Thanks hun, sorry to hear you suffer too. I’m having a better week this week at the moment. Hope it helped showing your husband xx

  2. May 2, 2016 / 8:57 am

    Such a powerful and brave post to write lovely Eilidh. Anxiety is a terrible terrible thing. And it is so hard to explain to someone how the smallest of decisions can seem like the largest life altering event. Or how one negative thought can take hold of you and can consume you completely. I hate thinking of you feeling like this. Have you ever thought of having cognitive behavioural therapy? I had it years ago when I had a massive relapse in my depression and anxiety and was signed off work for three months. It was amazing. And helps me still on a daily basis. I honestly don’t think I would have coped through the past few years without it. Sending you the biggest hugs and I really hope that you are able to quieten your mind and get some restful sleep. Hugs Lucy xxxx
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    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:04 pm

      Thanks so much Lucy, I had a few CBT years ago and it does help, unless I’m really bad when all rational thinking goes out of the window. Maybe I need to revisit it. xx

  3. May 2, 2016 / 6:00 pm

    Very powerful and well-written and I can totally relate. I had very bad antenatal and postnatal anxiety alongside PND, and the anxiety has never really gone away since. It’s so beneficial to find coping mechanisms that work for you – so many people have suggestions, but you have to do trial and error until you find one that fits. Sending you lots of love – you’re never alone. Lots of people have been through and are going through this, and there’s a fantastic community who are always around to chat. #KCACOLS xx

    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:07 pm

      Thanks for your comment, I think the anxiety has never gone away for me either. You definitely do need to find what works for you. I find somethings work relatively well when it’s not too bad and then when it’s really bad nothing seems to help. I need to talk more about it I think x

  4. May 2, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    This is such a powerful post and so brave of you to write it. This must be so difficult for you to live with every day. I struggle with anxiety in certain work situations (the thought of presenting makes my heart race and makes me feel totally out of control) and I do tend to worry far too much about what people think of me – so I can relate to this in some way. I hope you manage to find a way of dealing with this and overcoming it xx #KCACOLS

    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:09 pm

      Thanks Natalie, the thought of doing a presentation would keep me awake for nights, I don’t know how you and others do it. I think that stems from Secondary School and having to stand infront of the class when I would blush. x

  5. May 2, 2016 / 11:55 pm

    This is a really good explanation of the symptoms of anxiety! Thanks for wording it for me.

    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:09 pm

      Thanks Rachel, I’ve struggled for so long trying to explain it x

  6. May 3, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    Such an insight into what anxiety looks and feels like. I cant imagine anything more awful or exhausting. I dont generally suffer from anxiety, but can identify with some of these feelings and experiences which have been horrible to go through one the very dew occassions that I have, so I cant imagine what its like to live with it on a more daily basis. It sounds like you cope with it very well despite some of your experiences with it. Such a brave post to share and to stand up to it in the way you are. x Emily #KCACOLS

    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:11 pm

      Thanks Emily, having a better week so far thankfully it’s not everyday, well not really bad everyday. x

  7. May 4, 2016 / 8:47 am

    I also suffer from anxiety and relate to a lot of this – most of the time I cope, push things to the back of my mind and seem fine. Then something triggers it and my ability to do tiny things -pick lunch – collapses. I can’t function for all the worry. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on such an important issue and for linking with #KCACOLS. I hope you can come back next Sunday.

    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:11 pm

      Sorry to read you suffer too. It really does make even the smallest tasks seem like a mountain to climb. x

  8. May 4, 2016 / 10:58 am

    I really feel for you because I go thru similar. and it isn’t fun. I also understand the worrying about panics. I actually run a separate blog focusing just on my anxiety and specifics around it. feel free to join me there – emetomum on wordpress 🙂 and I know what you mean about the good days and bad days and should you see someone.
    #KCACOLS

    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      Hi Emma, yes I’ve read your blog and it’s stuck a chord with me as I can relate to it all x

  9. May 4, 2016 / 11:00 am

    This is a brilliant post. I am sure many people (including myself) will find some relief in this post knowing that they are not suffering alone.
    I have been suffering with depression for a while now and my father’s death has increased this and my anxiety. I feel bad as my daughter has been having counselling to cope with everything and they have just told me she is suffering with anxiety at 10!
    I am hoping with my experience of this I can help her through it.
    Thank you for your bravery in writing this.
    #KCACOLS

    • MummyandMonkeys
      May 11, 2016 / 7:14 pm

      Oh no your poor daughter and you, sounds like you are really going through it. Hopefully she can learn some techniques to help her early on and she has a Mum that understands x

  10. May 4, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    My son suffers from anxiety. I think spreading the word like you do here is so important. Heartfelt post. #KCACOLS

  11. May 5, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    An honest and powerful post, Eilidh. It is often difficult to put into words how anxiety can colour every aspect of your life when you an the grip of it. You explain it very well. I’ve also heard that CBT (Cognitive Behavioural THerapy) can be very helpful. I know your writing is therapy for you. Do you journal or have you considered journalling or keeping a diary. There are some very good ones that my friends have found helpful is the dayoneapp (enter it into google).

    Thanks for sharing. #KCACOLS

  12. May 6, 2016 / 7:36 am

    What a brave, honest post. thanks for sharing babe, its so hard to put it all down but i bet it feels good having done it. High five for fighting and really being aware of your own body and have great methods to try and help. I really hope your doing well and have you ever used “positive affirmations” it works really well for me 🙂 Sending lots of virtual hugs, thanks for sharing and letting us in a little x #Picknmix

  13. May 6, 2016 / 7:40 am

    Very well written and a perfect description here when you said about the silent tears of frustration giving away the inner turmoil that was absolutely spot on for me… Thanks for sharing such an important post ⭐️

  14. May 6, 2016 / 9:02 am

    I can relate to everything in this, thank you for sharing it. One of things I always feel is that I’m always alone – I’m the only person to ever feel like this and then you read posts like this online and realise you are sane and that other people have this too. Mine’s got worse as I’ve got older and it’s really hard to function some days, especially when you have comittments like a full-time job or children to look after. I’m currently expecting my first little one and even the thought of labour makes me feel dizzy! Can I ask how you coped with your anxiety during pregnancy/labour? #PicknMix

  15. May 6, 2016 / 9:02 am

    I’ve never been able to explain exactly how it feels to have anxiety but you have done so perfectly.
    You’re right, writing does help. It’s good to get everything out in the open and make some sense of it all.
    #picknmix
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  16. May 6, 2016 / 11:31 am

    *hugs* I related to this so much – I’m in the midst of a black period of depression and anxiety at the moment and it’s so hard to keep it under control. I think I’ve cried more over the last few months than I had in the previous few years!

    I hope you beat your anxiety into submission, lovely! x #picknmix

  17. May 6, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    What a powerful post. I don’t think of myself as an anxious person but I still identified with so much of this – it’s written with such honesty.

    #PicknMix
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  18. May 6, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    It seems we were thinking along similar lines this week. I can completely identify with everything you have said having been through all of this myself. I hope like me you manage to find a way through it as it is a very isolating place to be. #picknmix

  19. May 6, 2016 / 7:08 pm

    Whilst I wouldn’t say I suffer with anxiety I do get very anxious at time so I can relate to this in my way. I hope you manage to find a way to help you deal with this as I know how upsetting and disruptive it can be #kcacols
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  20. May 7, 2016 / 8:27 am

    Oh Eilidh, I’m so sorry to hear that!! It must be very hard to constantly try to push away those feelings. Anxiety it is not nice at all! In fact it is very nasty!! I understand you as I had some panic attacks a few years ago when I was leaving my country to study abroad on my own. I was so scared that I started to develop lots of anxiety and ended up in panic attacks. I couldn’t breath, it was awful! My sister that is a psychologist recommended me a good psychiatrist that prescribed me some drops and pills which really helped me. This only lasted for a short period of time until I finally settled in Madrid where I was studying at that time. The same as you, I really don’t want to have them again. But thanks God I don’t think I have those feelings anymore. I hope you don’t have to deal with this again. Thanks so much lovely for sharing this at #KCACOLS, 🙂 xx
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  21. May 7, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    Really relate to this. I don’t suffer with panic attacks, but I do struggle with anxious thoughts often. There are times where I want to hold my child tight and never let her go anywhere or do anything as the thought of what could happen to her overwhelms me. And I beat myself up a lot on those days, wondering why I bother writing because no-one likes it … it’s tough and stressful. Like you though, I find writing therapeutic. I’ve wondered a few times whether I should seek help but like you say, on good days the problem seems miles away! Thanks so much for posting, I feel encouraged when people are open about it x #picknmix
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  22. May 8, 2016 / 6:40 pm

    Oh sweetheart this must be awful…. you know I have experience of this through someone close to me and I have seen the massive effect it can have. You know you can talk to me anytime that you need to.

    Stevie xx
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  23. May 8, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    I completely relate. I have lived with anxiety and panic disorder for many years now and despite countless therapies and CBT, I’m still struggling with it. I’ve had a massive set back due to health worries so the anxiety is sky high, which then escalates the physical symptoms which in turn escalates the anxiety! It’s so difficult, I sympathise with anyone who suffers with anxiety, it’s very difficult for others to really understand how crippling it can be. #picknmix
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  24. May 10, 2016 / 9:46 am

    I can only imagine how hard this must be for you – very brave of you to be so honest about it in a post. My sister also suffers with this and alot of what you describe she goes through too. Thank you for sharing #PickNMix
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  25. May 12, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    Very well explained. I relate to a lot of this. I have had problems with anxiety and panic attacks since childhood as well. It’s strange that it becomes a kind of normal, so that it is hard to imagine what it must be like for people who don’t feel that way, and don’t have it always in the background, while they don’t really understand what it’s like to live with chronic anxiety. #picknmix
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  26. March 22, 2017 / 12:31 am

    Just found this post after firing my way here from instagram. I totally relate to everything you’ve said here, at times parrying with anxiety really feels unbearably hard. Your post is so well written and sums it up so well. I struggle with each and every thing you’ve written too so don’t ever feel alone x

    • MummyandMonkeys
      March 22, 2017 / 10:06 am

      Thanks so much for popping over and taking the time to leave a comment. Sorry to hear you struggle too but it is nice to know that we aren’t alone in the sometimes daily battles! x

  27. April 30, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    My dear. How we walk among each other and hide ourselves amazes me. We’re in plain sight, trying to fit in until we’re back in our bubble, safe to grit our teeth, tense our jaws, fingers like hooks, toes curled. We feel weak, but if there was a way to harvest that energy we’d power the world. Bless you, you’re amazing x

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