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the day anxiety changed my life

hi all, another deep and meaningful blog entry i'm afraid. this blog is becoming a real sounding bored for specific topics, rather than a rundown of my daily life. i'm beginning to find it cathartic. today's subject, anxiety. anxiety will probably plague everyone at some point in one form or another, it may not last long, a few weeks, a few months, maybe a few years, or in my case most of my life. i've been battling anxiety for the past 16 years, since i was 9 years old. 9 year olds should never feel particularly worried about anything, they shouldn't have panic attacks that render them a shaking crying mess, but that was me the night it all started. now for those of you who are reading this who don't know me, and i don't know if anyone will actually read this, but a little background for you. my mother is an alcoholic, she has been since i was 5. my step-dad used to hurt her and they'd have blazing rows on a regular basis. as a child i used to worry a lot, sometimes i'd dread going home from school because i didn't know what to expect, whether i'd get happy families or shouting and screaming. i used to isolate myself a lot and spend most of my time in my room with my story tapes, they were my escape. anyway back to that day. it had started normally enough, just a regular saturday. i remember mum's friend nikki coming over and taking us down to tescos to buy some sweets, i had a harribo obsession back then. i can't remember how it all started, but for some reason my step-dad had to go to hospital, i don't know if he'd drunk too much at the pub but anyway my mum had to go with him. we were all begging her not to but she said that nikki would stay with us and she'd be back later. i don't know why but i was convinced that she wouldn't come back. i tried acting normally, watching tv with the rest of the kids before they went to bed. i remember we had fish and chips for dinner but i couldn't eat a thing, i suddenly felt like i was going to throw up, but i didn't. i was so scared that mum wouldn't come back that i spent the next few hours crying for mum, "i want mummy, i want mummy!" was all i could say, i was shaking violently. nikki was so worried about me she tried to get hold of mum but she couldn't, that made things worse. eventually mum came back but still i was worried, she put me to bed and said everything would be ok and that she was back now. from that day on i had a few more panic attacks, not as bad as that, but feeling like i was going to be sick and shaking. no child should ever have to cope with anxiety at that age. i remember when i was 12 i was constantly worrying for a week, i can't even remember why now, maybe they'd had a big rowe or something. whatever the reason i could hardly eat anything, i had to go home from school once because i thought i was going to be sick in a lesson, mum thought i was skiving, i couldn't tell her what was wrong. when i went back into care when i was 13, everything calmed down because i was away from home, i'd have the odd panicky moment but i wouldn't show it. for years i had no anxiety problems after going to live with my dad, and even when him and kim split, nothing. it all started again 6 years ago after i'd auditioned for the x factor, god why did i do that? anyway i'd just got back and nothing in particular started it, but i thought i'd started feeling sick, i have a phobia of that too, that in itself can cause anxiety, i think it did that night. anyway my stomach churned and i went to the bathroom but nothing happen. that one feeling started what i call a silent attack. my stomach was doing summersalts, my heart was racing and i was shaking, it was bloody horrible, and it lasted for hours. i tried listening to the stuff i had on my phone to calm me down but nothing worked. i felt so small and stupid but in the end i woke nan and granddad to tell them i was feeling sick and could they tell me where the glasses were for some water, i didn't live there so i didn't really know. it was the only thing i could think of, i couldn't tell them the real truth. i used to have regular silent attacks from that night onwards at their house, it took me a year to realize why. when i was at there house, i had no freedom, i was told when to go to bed, when to get up, that i couldn't be on the internet past midnight. when i was at college or uni i had all the freedom i wanted. it was the fact i wasn't in control at their house. so a few more years slipt by and i moved here to edinburgh, had a nice flat and everything was fine, until one night. they say that one insodent can change your life, that's so true. it was a normal saturday, i was reading a book when i heard raised voices coming from next door, whoever it was sounded scared, there was a little girl crying as well. i suppose it brought back memories of my childhood. i heard someone scream "shut the fuck up!" and i was terrefied, i thought maybe they'd invited someone into their house and they'd turned nasty. something in me knew i had to call the police, i was thinking all sorts, like what if they tried to brake into my house. i was a wreck down the phone, it was like i was a child again, crying and shaking asking someone to please, please come and help me, i'm so scared. the woman was brilliant, she stayed with me for a while, it took me five minutes to have the courage to lock the door like she asked me to. she said that the police were on their way, all the time reassuring me that nobody could get in if i'd locked the door, that i'd done the right thing by calling them. she went then, and i just sat on my bed shaking until the police came. the policeman was very nice, he said i had nothing to worry about, that it was just a domestic, that it had blown over and the person in question had left the house. he also told me i'd done the right thing in calling them. in that one night everything changed. i spent most of my time listening out for any noise, and if i heard a bang, or people outside my heart started racing. weekends were the hardest, if there were people outside i'd stand at my bedroom window waiting for them to go away. i used to be able to handle drunk people, even laugh at them from behind the curtains, but not anymore, every single drunk person was a threat, in my head they would come and brake my door down and attack me, that was not the case of course. another thing that was a constant worry was that the front door of our building didn't have a lock on it, so anybody could come in, that scared me even more. it went on for months. there was another domestic from next door, i knew this couldn't go on. my support worker suggested i talked to my neighbour about things. it turned out wanda was really lovely, and the shouting i'd heard was jack her son, a 16 year old boy. so the insodent i'd heard those months before was a 16 year old boy shouting at his girlfriend, that was all it was. i actually thought now i had the answers i could get over all this, move on, but it's not that easy i'm afraid. i went to the doctors in the end because things weren't getting any better, actually they got worse one night. they prescribed me diasipam for a month, obviously these things can't be prescribed longterm. i began to understand how people become addicted to these medications, the normal feelings they give you are amazing. but i knew i wouldn't be on them forever, how could i be. i started to become scared then, what would i do when i came off them, how would i cope? I'd just had enough of feeling anxious all the time, i was willing to do anything to make it stop, even take an overdose, i had enough tablets to kill me. i didn't want to die, i need to make that clear, but the time had come where i'd hit rock bottom and i couldn't see how any of this was going to end. i just wanted all the madness in my head to stop, just for a little while. i'd never felt so alone in all my life, i couldn't even phone my best mate, how could i tell her at 3 in the morning that i felt so low i wanted to take an overdose, how is she meant to deal with that? what can she do from all those miles away? so in the end i phoned 111 and told them that if nobody helped me i'd do something stupid, i was desperate. the guy on the end of the phone told me to take 2 diasipam out of the pack and take them, then put them safely in a drawer in the kitchen. i did both those things and i was calmer, he told me to make an appointment at the doctors the next day, they would let them know i'd phoned in this state. i didn't feel brilliant when i hung up but i felt a little better that i'd spoken to someone. i went back to the doctors and they said they'd refer me for CBT, i got a letter and sent it back but i heard nothing else after that. i don't know what happened but after that i was able to manage things a bit better, i tried to tame the compulsion to go to the window everytime i heard a noise. in july last year i bought my house, a new chapter i thought, it's a lot quieter round here, and no night busses so not many drunk people on the weekends. unfortunately i still struggle a little bit, it's nowhere near as bad but i still feel very voulnarable at the weekends. i'm in a detatched house so i'm scared if anything was to happen to me i wouldn't be heard by my neighbours. my saving grace is my monitored alarm, i wouldn't be able to cope without that, stupid as it sounds. just knowing the police will come if that goes off makes me feel a bit better, not completely though. i sit here now writing this and i still can't believe that one insodent completely changed my life. i don't knnow, maybe it resurrected feelings from my childhood that i'd buried, those raised voices brought so much back. i was terrified when i called the police that night, and just the thought of ever having to do that again scares me so much that i'm on edge. i can't deal with drunk people in the same way anymore, i can't deal with raised voices at all. i won't go out on my own in the dark, i won't answer the door after a certain time unless i'm expecting somebody. i don't really have anything to do with my neighbours, i don't want to draw attention to myself or the fact that i live on my own, i'm an easy target that way. this is coming from a girl who used to live next door to a bar in wolverhampton, who used to leave the front and back doors unlocked when living in folkestone without even thinking about it. i used to feel safe back then, i don't feel safe now, not even in my own home, somewhere your meant to feel safe. it's got better in the sense that i'm not constantly thinking about it, but when i do hear raised voices or something going on outside that i'm not expecting my stomach begins to churn and my heart begins to race, and the irrational thoughts start. i'm hopefully going to start counciling soon for another matter, i'm going to try and deal with the anxiety issues too, so it's not all doom and gloom. i'm determined to get through this eventually, i want to be that girl again, the one who doesn't bat an eyelid at drunk people staggering home at 3 in the morning after a pub crawl. i want to stop beeing paranoid about every stranger i meet, the truth is i can't trust anyone. i got really paranoid about a taxi driver the other day, all because i heard rustling in my bushes, it was just a breeze blowing through them. from that moment on i thought this guy was going to hurt me in some way. we got to macdonalds and he went to the toilet and i thought is this bloke actually going to the toilet? is he going to make a secret phonecall telling someone that he'd got a young blind girl in his car? i know, completely irrational but this is what my mind does sometimes. if you've got to this point then well done, i'm sorry i seem to be writing these deep and depressing entries of late, i know what your all thinking, calm down and take a chill pill woman! not that easy i'm afraid. but as i said earlier i'm going to get through all this, i don't care how long it takes. anxiety is like any other mental problem, you can't just brush it under the carpet and hope it'll go away. for anxiety sufferers our minds are our worst enemy. it's extremely hard to talk to friends and family about because really it's something i don't understand myself. i red an article earlier that one of my friends shared on facebook, 36 things people with anxiety want their friends to know, i can relate to some of them. anxiety isn't just about having outward pannic attacks, as i said earlier they can happen inwardly too. i can go very quiet when i'm anxious, and most of the time nobody would know, but sometimes i'll show it. for example me and my mate stephen went to a gig in glasgow the other week, it was half 10 by the time we got out, it was freezing and i wasn't waring a coat. we'd decided before hand we'd get a cab back because i wasn't going on the metro at that time of night. there were people milling about outside, happy after the gig but there were also some drunk people hanging around too, there must have been bars or pubs near by. we didn't reckon on the taxi cue being massive, it was either wait in the cold for ages or get the metro. we decided the latter. we struggled to find the metro station which made me pannic a bit more, i kept saying i can't deal with this, i just can't deal with this. anyway eventually we found it and got on the train and i calmed right down. i feel bad when i get like that, but that irrational part of my mind takes over and i can't deal with it. anyway that's enough from me, i hope at least someone finds this entry useful or eye opening in some way. i will try and keep the next one lighter, i'm so sorry this has been so intense, i will be relaying all this to a councilor i promise, but sometimes writing all this down makes me feel a bit better. anyway until the next one, i will try and keep it light. xx