1. My relationship with alcohol has changed.
After my dad died my relationship with alcohol completely morphed, granted I was never a one glass kind of gal before but after his death I was using it to try and quieten the anxiety within me but consequently, the alcohol just made the anxiety just scream louder. I can’t enjoy it with no consequences I also cannot ever take drugs, the idea of having my heart speed up for a prolonged period and actually paying for that is seriously laughable to me – now.
2. I can’t go out like I used to.
I know this comes with age as well of course, but this speaks to the deeper knock on effect that comes from staying up to the early hours with no sleep and haze of smoke. My mental state cannot hack it anymore and I’m learning to become okay with that.
3. I have to cancel plans last minute.
This I truly hate. My friends are my life, I am fiercely loyal so letting them down consumes me with sadness but sometimes the monster in my head means I cannot be what they need me to be.
4. My relationship with food has changed.
When my anxiety is bad I struggle to eat and find eating around others almost impossible, something that if you have a mother who was a cook is received, understandably, very poorly.
5. I need to be alone a lot more than I ever realized or really wanted.
The catch 22 with anxiety that confuses most people is that you want to be with your loved ones but you are also trying to keep a tornado inside your head – basically it’s exhausting and sometimes it’s easier if you are alone – no mask, just you, your comfy robe and Peaky Blinder’s – but that’s just me.
6. I have to get over my fear of medication and the stigma attached.
Ever since my anxiety started I have become hypersensitive about what goes into my body. I have also had to hurdle the awkward conversations of “yes I’m still taking my medication” “no I don’t think I’ve been taking it for too long” “yes I think I really need it” said by everyone from random strangers to my immediate family.
7. The hardest so far – relationships are probably not going to be for me for a while.
Corny but you can’t love someone else until you love yourself, blah, blah, blah, but really you can’t be in a relationship when you feel like your drowning on a daily basis.
8. I have to make a conscious effort to ask for help.
And to talk to people about how I’m feeling – something which did not and has not come naturally to me. I don’t know if it’s being Scottish or something inherently in me or if it’s just me but I have always struggled to ask for help – something which I have learned is essentially only hurting myself.
9. I have to work harder than I did before.
Things do not come as easily to me, consistency is hard to maintain when one day you might feel like a fully functioning member of society and the next you feel like nothing is achievable
10. I am much stronger than I ever knew I was.
When your young and you first get your heart broken, or you fall out with your friends or even the dreaded drunkenly losing your phone you are sure this is the end and things can’t get any worse. Then something happens that punches you in the face – knocks you out cold, and you have to begin the slow process of building yourself back up again. There are no awards for actually getting to sleep, or waking up and not walking directly into traffic – you build your mental strength like you build any other muscles.