On Holiday with Anxiety -Venice Feb 2017

3 days before,

So for my 21st birthday I’m off the the wonderful Venice, Italy. During carnival week no less. And with my favourite person. But oh wait there’s a stowaway in my luggage! 

Enter Anxiety,

So it should be something I’m crazy looking forward to, right?! I am, of course. Venice is one of my top wanderlust countries I’ve always wanted to visit. But I’m also crazy anxious. What if I forget to pack something? Don’t have enough spending money? Something goes wrong at the airport? (Airports alone inspire such Anxiety in me). What if I get lost or am too miserable to enjoy myself? What if we go and don’t even have a good time? What if what if what if?!?! I’m even anxious about leaving my darling kittens with my mom. I know they’ll have a great time in her big house, but I know I’ll be checking in multiple times a day. 

At the airport, 

My stomach is rolling and I feel sick and like I could cry. I’ll be fine once I’m on the plane.

You know I had this whole post planned as soon as I started to feel the anxiety set in, so sure I’d have loads to write. The anxiety was telling me firmly everything was going to be a disaster. 

But you know what?? It wasn’t. 

I had the most incredible time, I left anxiety and depression behind when I got on that plane. I’ve never felt so carefree happy and excitable and curious as I did in those few days. We rode electric bikes the length of Lido, listened to live music in San Marco, got lost down the endless winding streets and canals, stared in awe at all the costumes and masks, visited the Doge’s palace and hired our own boat to drive across the lagoon to Burano and back.

So F you Anxiety! I went on holiday without you and LOVED IT.

(and now I’m 21, like proper adult and stuff) 



A panickless panic attack

Today was not s great day in general. Back at work after a long weekend, doing my own job with two members of my team gone whilst covering a job I have little experience in and being expected to teach this job to a new person. Not to mention being the port of call for four other new staff member’s queries. 

I know my job inside out and I’m good at it, but having so many people relying on you when you’re already feeling on edge does not a good day make.

So anxious morning, low motivation in the afternoon, half my lunch break spent hiding in the toilets left me feeling more than a little worn out. As I left work I could feel a gnawing emptiness eating at me, I text my boyfriend saying I may need some extra caring when I got back. Then missed my train and had to wait half an hour for the next.

As I was stood outside the station waiting for my train the aching in my chest became more physical than emotional. It kept building and building. I no longer felt sad or anxious or anything but I felt like I was about to have a heart attack. My chest felt physically cold and like my heart had been removed. Shortness of breath, dizziness and weakness came next until I was sure I was going to collapse right there. 

I got to my train and could’ve sworn I was in the early stages of a stroke. I couldn’t think and my whole body refused to function. I felt like I was about to die. I thought I was going to collapse in Tesco buying cat food, and a hundred times on the walk home. 

My boyfriend met me halfway and carried the shopping (bless his heart, I’d be lost without him). I was sweating but felt icy inside. 

I feel better now after sitting down and eating but now feel bone tired. It was all the symptoms of an intense panic attack but I never once felt panicked or worried or anxious. It came on so quickly and strongly it was terrifying. I’ve never experienced it before. 

I’m now in bed and feel like I could never get out again. Anyone else experienced this? 

What I want to say to my favourite person

What I want my favourite person to know but can never seem to say.
I know I’m a hypocrite. I know I always encourage you to talk to me about the things that bother you, to tell me all the things you can’t talk to anyone else about. And then I know I can’t do the same. That I say I’m fine when you ask if I’m okay and I’m really not.
But I want you to know that it’s not that I don’t trust you, that I really really WANT to tell you. But at the same time I don’t want you to know what a mess I sometimes am. I don’t want you to think less of me. Not that I don’t think you’d stick by me like I stick by you but the depression and the anxiety throws everything at me to convince me you’d be disgusted by the thoughts in my head.
I know that you care but the shadows in my head and in my chest don’t like me very much. Everyday they’re there, telling me how you can do better than me, how I’m holding you back and being selfish by keeping you for myself. They say ‘if he only knew, if he knew what a failure you are and how weak you are he’d run a mile’. Every. Single. Day. They inject my soul daily with self pity and self hatred until complete apathy seems the only way I can keep myself alive.
I know how lucky I am to have you but my trouble lies in holding onto the belief that you’re somehow lucky to have me. That I’m somehow a person worthy of love and time and commitment. I don’t always feel it.
I know I come across as lazy and ungrateful and all the rest. But years of living with depression has sapped me of motivation. Whats the point in getting a new job? I’ll only be unhappy there too. What’s the point of tidying up? It’ll only get messy again. Complete organisation and tidiness just feels so at odds with what’s inside me it breaks me a little. I like a little chaos in my world because it makes me feel more at home.
Sometime you ask me to do you a favour and I’m so terrified of doing it wrong that I don’t do it at all and offer no explanation. In fact I’m so terrified of doing everything wrong and not being good enough that I can barely get up in the morning let alone face everything the day throws at me.
I want to ask you to bear with me, but the depression and anxiety won’t let me. I want to tell you all the lies they whisper in my head so that you can remind me that lies are exactly what they are. I want you to hold my hand when I’m withdrawing into myself, for the warmth of your skin to ground me. I want you to know that I hate asking for confirmation of how you feel about me, that it makes me feel weak and needy, but that I think I need to hear it. It’s not that I don’t already know, but the awful thoughts in my head make it so hard to believe.
So here’s my bare honesty, all my neediness and the soft part of me, I really do love you and appreciate everything you do for me, please bare with me and help me fight my demons, you can’t fight them for me but I need to know you’re always on my side. And you might need to remind that you’re there on my bad days more often than you do on my good days.

Please fight with me.

This post also featured on The Mighty !

A letter to my depression

I call you my depression, as if you belong to me and I own you. But that implies a degree of control over you that I do not possess. Plus, if you were really mine I’d give you away, abandon you somewhere alone and afraid where no-one could find you.

Instead, it’s the other way around. I am yours. You own me and control me. You’ve isolated  me, alone and afraid, even when I’m surrounded by people who care. You’re abusive and cruel, and it seems you’re intent to carry this on until you’ve ruined everything good in my life.

I want to ask you, that whatever you feel the need to do to me, that you leave my relationships out of it. I’m at the end of my tether with you pushing all my buttons and causing pain to the people I love. I’m not an irritable person but you make me that way. I’m not a self conscious person but you’ve wrecked my self confidence to the point that I’m a mess of insecurities and paranoia. But I know asking you that is pointless; you have no conscience and no concept of mercy.

But, in the same way you know my weaknesses, so too do I know yours. Even if some days you’re stronger than I am, I know what to expect from you. You’re unoriginal and predictable in your methods. You are so different from the person I am that, even though you endevour to make your thoughts feel like my own, I see through it. I could never hate as you hate, not even myself.

Whilst it’s true when you have me in your tightest grip and your tendrils are snaked and woven through my entire body I can barely twitch a finger without your say so. And yes, I will cry and scream and feel like i hate myself and dont see the point in tomorrow. But remember this, that hatred and that pain, is all for you. It seems like its aimed at me, but that’s only because you’re woven in so closely; it’s you that I hate not myself.

And what you didn’t count on are the people I have in my life. My family my friends and my boyfriend are constantly undoing all the damage you do to me, even though most of them don’t realise they’re doing it. You’re just one voice and as loud as you shout, they will always be louder.

That Fuzzy Feeling

It seems, no matter how my life is going, even if I’m buzzing because of all the great opportunities I have coming my way and celebrating the changes I’m making, that fuzzy feeling never really leaves.

You know the one. Like someone’s messing with your settings. There’s static under you skin and sludge in your veins. Sometimes it’s dialed down enough that I can function without it being the biggest thought in my head, and other times (like now) I can feel the dial slowly being turned up.

I always imagine it’s caused by this dark creature that follows me, giving off that awful aura. When he’s at a distance I can almost ignore him. But he creeps up on me, and now I can feel him behind me, just out of sight. But the aura he gives off is unmistakable. I know his next move, he’ll wait til I’m distracted then he’ll rush me all of a sudden and I’ll be in his grip. His elongated arms holding me in a mocking embrace, suffocating me. There’s no denying or hiding from that aura, not when he’s that close.

I’m yet to find a hiding place he can’t find or a weapon fearsome enough to make him back off. I’ll never stop searching though.

Brain Review

A review of my brain.

So my lovely friend MindFump came up with this idea, and you can find this post and other brain reviews on his blog.

It is the future and we now buy brains, just like you would by a car, make up or a TV. What do we do when we want to buy one of these things? We google them and read every review ever written for about 5 hours.

You have been to the shop and you have bought your brain, or maybe you have even been gifted your brain. How marvellous – but now I want to know how you have been getting along with your brain. Write a review of your brain!

Awesome right? Check out his blog here

So without futher ado, here is my review.

I received this brain almost 21 years ago now. 

For the first 15 years or so it worked perfectly, better than I could’ve hoped for. Was constantly working overtime to give me everything I needed. Brilliant memory capacity, above and beyond with its imagination capabilities and generous happy setting.

Around the 16 / 17 year mark it started to develop a concerning tendency for switching on its self conscious mode without warning and getting stuck on that mode. I didn’t worry too much as I’m aware brains are a little unpredictable at this age and often fluctuate but then settle back to a comfortable setting.

Unfortunately this brain didn’t, and has only gotten worse. It now refuses to function normally in a morning and is prone to emitting extreme anxiety at this time rendering me completely useless and to be honest abit of a wreck.

As well as this morning glitch it also has unpredictable periods of massive depression, this peaked in its 18th year almost causing me to cancel my contract completely. It also seems to have developed a virus that is almost sentient and separate from itself that manifests in a near constant background monologue of criticism and negativity. This has caused paranoia, debilitating loss of self worth, eradication of any form of confidence, very short lived but very intense bouts of irritability and a constant desire to hide away from people and life.

That said, in between these effects, it is still a very creative and imaginative brain and still has the capacity for intelligence, wit and an extraordinary love of life. It’s very empathetic and caring and often emits an almost childlike joy for life’s simple pleasures. It’s love, loyalty and caring settings also work without a glitch.
I think with the right virus software to reduce its out of character tendencies this brain would be, not perfect, but imperfect in the most beautiful way. 

I would recommend this brain for a person with strong character and a strong sense of self to allow you to work around it’s more negative aspects.

Overall I would give it a 3 out of 5 star rating.

Follow me on twitter at @water_thought

You can also follow Mindfump on twitter @mindfumpblog

‘Sorry I’m late’ -morning routine featuring Anxiety

‘Sorry I’m late’ – things I’d like to honest about with work colleagues

Most people dislike mornings, or so I assume. Who wouldn’t rather have a lie in than get up and go to work? Most people will have bad mornings occasionally. Things will go wrong or they’ll have the Monday morning blues. A lot of people are occasionally late. That’s normal. 

I don’t think I’ve ever had a good morning, and I’m always at a risk of being late, even if I’m up 3 hours before I need to leave.

My morning routine usually starts the night before. I know what’s coming so I know I need to prepare. 

Pull out my clothes for the next day, or at least mentally decide what I want to wear. That’s one less decision that will torment me in the morning.

Make sure I’m in bed an hour before I need to sleep, the war of wanting to sleep (so I don’t have to think about tomorrow) and not wanting to sleep (so I don’t bring morning to me any quicker) will take at least this long. I’ll fall asleep eventually but the constant worrying will have ruined any chance of a peaceful night. 

I’ll wake up at least three times and use every method I have at my disposal to make sure I drop off again before the worrying starts. This usually involves lying completely still with my eyes closed and refusing to move so much as a finger. If this fails I’ll spend hours tossing and turning, sitting up hugging my knees or going to sit outside until the cold drives me to crawl back into my quilts.

(I’ve never actually told my other half how grateful I am that he’s with me when I go to bed, I get to sleep so much quicker now.)

My alarm goes off at least an hour before I need to get up, because I will snooze it, no doubt. I’ll hit snooze because that alarm is calling me to start my day and that is a call I’m never ready to answer. I’ll eventually wake up properly, or enough that sleep is not going to come easily again. 

This is when the anxiety and the panic really set in. Every morning without fail. A huge pressure builds on my chest, I’m going to burst into tears or implode, something in my body is just going to crack if I move. If you’ve never experienced it you can’t possibly imagine the real honest to god dread that fills every part of you, (regardless of the fact you know it’s irrational).

Whilst most people are busy getting dressed, eating breakfast or doing their hair. I’m sat in my bed shaking with the effort of staying above the tidal wave of panic. 

Don’t think, don’t think, don’t think, just move get out of bed, do it fast, do it without knowing why you must, only that you must.

My best coping method so far is to completely ignore the reason I’m getting up and ready. If I start to think about work then I’m guaranteed to be at least half an hour late and exhausted from the inevitable panic attack. 

I pull on the clothes I chose the night before and ignore the full length mirror because if I look, that’ll be another half an hour of hating how I look and desperately trying to pick another outfit that will somehow magically make me look beautiful and put together. I’ve been known to burst into tears trying to find socks, so if I’ve not prepared the day before I’m going to be late and puffy eyed.

Feed my kittens, I could leave it for my other half to but it’s the only thing I have to do that doesn’t stress me out. Theres zero chance of breakfast for myself, even if I had time I’m too wound up to have any appetite.

Put on makeup, well at least foundation to cover the bags under my eyes, the rest will likely have to wait until I get to work because by this point I’m already running late. Hair isn’t even a concern, it goes however it is when I wake up.

Make sure I have everything at least three times, even though I inevitably forget something. Count my change for the bus over and over and make sure it’s in a pocket I can get it out of quickly.

Then from being ‘ready’ to leave and actually leaving I need at least 5 mins (on a good day) to work up the courage to step outside. Walk to the bus stop, I’ll usually have a cigarette, despite the fact it makes me feel sick, because I need something to distract me. If I start thinking about work or the fact that I might miss a bus or it might be late or delayed I’m likely to start panicking and this would means tears and / or stopping and sitting in the street to avoid a panic attack. 

If the bus is late then this is another bout of panicking, I’m going to be late again, I’m a terrible employee, I’m going to get sacked, everyone think I’m some lazy I don’t give a crap idiot. This is usually the point that decides my day, if the bus takes too long to come, my panic will reach a point where I can’t go to work. 

Once (if) I’m on the bus, I do anything to distract myself, music, a podcast, reading or mindlessly flicking through my phone. Once off the bus it’s swallow the nausea and barrel headfirst into work and just don’t think. 

Now my day has only just begun and I’m already exhausted and on edge. It’s hard to make eye contact or talk to anyone until I can calm down. How long that takes depends on how bad my morning was. I’ll usually make some seemingly casual comment on how ‘Oh I really need to get a car, buses are so unreliable‘, because how do you say my anxiety is so high and I’ve already had three panic attacks this morning, sorry I’m late?