I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a blog about my journey with anxiety before and strangely enough it was the anxiety that stopped me. Everytime I thought about it my brain flooded with unanswerable questions…
Will people think I’m attention seeking? Will people laugh at my efforts? Will people think it’s stupid?
And then I realised I was concentrating far too much on what other people think and not what I want to do. I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a child and I’ve always fancied the idea of my very own blog, so I’ll be buggered if I don’t give it a try.
So, I’m Stacey, a 26 (almost 27) year old support worker for adults with learning disabilities. I have a fantastic fiance, Glenn, who has been a breath of fresh air for me and my mental health. We’re planning our wedding and I literally cannot wait to be Mrs Glenn! We don’t have any children yet but we do have two cats, Crowley and Castiel. They’re totally what you would expect from cats; self-centred but loving.
I have suffered with my mental health for as long as I can remember. I have General Anxiety Disorder, Health Anxiety and mild Social Anxiety.
I must say, I think it’s the General Anxiety Disorder that is the killer. That creeping feeling of dread that is constantly peeking over your shoulder; pointing out all the things you’re trying to ignore and bringing things to the fore that aren’t even happening. It reminds you of every dumb thing you ever said, every time you hurt someone’s feelings, every mistake you made. It reminds you that you’re stupid, you’re nothing special, that people tolerate rather than like you. It can plague you for minutes, hours, days, weeks. You don’t know when it started and you don’t know when it will end. It stirs up your other issues and brings them into the party. Pulls them in to overwhelm you and mentally suffocate you. It waits for the cover of darkness, when everyone else is sleeping and you’re all alone to really bring out the big guns. To make you helpless. To make you feel pathetic and challenge your self esteem even further.
My Health Anxiety is a strange one for me. It’s not what you would automatically assume. I don’t worry about cancer or Ebola or death… I am emetophobic. In basic terms I am afraid of vomit and vomiting. Now I know that no one actually likes being sick, but this goes deeper than that. Any emetophobe will tell the fear is all encompassing. You would do anything (and I mean anything) to prevent vomiting. You become paranoid about how food is cooked and whether the kitchen is clean. I even study the hands of people in restaurants to see if they are clean. If anyone I know gets a bug I will keep away from them until they haven’t vomited for at least 48 hours and even then I will constantly wash my hands and clean my toilet. Your mantras become health facts and Google is your best friend. You learn how to use your logic about feeling ill and over analysing every single thing your body does and every noise it makes. You can’t stand to be away from home, to travel abroad or even to use public transport by yourself in case you’re sick. You attach yourself to “safe people” who you think can keep vomiting away. Not one part of it makes any sense to anyone, even me and it’s coming from inside my head. The happiest day of my life was when I learned that people with emetophobia can never vomit. The vomit trigger is in your brain rather than your stomach, and because of the phobia, your brain sees vomiting as a threat and therefore will not allow it to happen. So it comes from, erm, other exits. It is mental to know that I turned down therapy to rid me of this soul-sucking phobia, because all I could think was that I would have to start vomiting again.
So there you go. A short introduction to me and my inner workings. I’m going to keep the blogs coming on various subjects but always centering around mental health. Drop me a comment and let me know what you want to hear about or ask any questions you may have. Honestly I’m not easily offended haha!
I’ll be back soon. Over and out