It took me a good few weeks to stop weeping for my Mum aged 5 starting school. I would go beetroot-faced when asked a question in front of the class aged 10, and I’d laugh nervously like a borderline lunatic when a boy so much as looked at me, aged 15.
Most of that has dissipated these days, thankfully. Although I do still cling onto my Mum’s foot every time she attempts to leave my house, but like the majority of us, I’m a work in progress.
Those childhood nerves and inhibitions may have subsided gradually as I’ve aged and been opened up to more experiences and seen a little more of the world, but they seem to have been replaced with something almost even more intrusive;
This wasn’t something I was bothered by to a massive degree ‘pre-Crohn’s’. But it’s something I now often struggle to get a handle on. Unlike my Mothers’ ankle. It certainly wasn’t something I’d have considered to be an ‘issue’ either until I realised it was impacting my own life.
There is a big difference from saying you are an ‘anxious person’ to actually trying to make a dent in coping with it.
My anxiety manifests itself in many ways:
- I’ll overthink anything and everything.
- I’ll work myself up into a frenzy about the ‘what if’s’ of any given situation.
- I’ll put off doing things through nerves.
- I’ll stare at the phone until it stops ringing.
- I’ll talk and babble too much to fill what I’ve decided is an ‘awkward’ silence.
Anxiety is a common issue with those of us with chronic illness because we spend a lot of our time thinking about ‘it’. We have a lot of factors to… factor in to our life alongside the normal day to day activities that we all undertake. Whether the issue is with mobility, pain, bathroom worries or mental health issues; we all have our own fears and apprehensions surrounding our illness.
Of course getting stuck in our own heads is often dangerous and isolating, so step one in overcoming the worst of this is really in talking about our worries. When we do this we often find they are sorely unfounded and based on nothing more than our overactive imaginations. Not always, but often. When we decide how someone is feeling/thinking about us, we also insult them, and eliminate the chance of them proving us wrong. We push people away through using our own fears as a barrier. Look, I don’t have the answers on how to cope with this, I just want to share with you that you’re not alone in feeling like an insane person from time to time!
What works for me may not work for you, but talking is really important. Don’t be afraid to admit you are scared and nervous and that its overwhelming you. It so much more common than you think. People who love you and/or doctors can help to give you clarity on your feelings. Stop beating yourself up for something that is simply a factor of an ongoing illness. It’s not shameful to admit you are mentally struggling; quite the opposite in fact.
So the next time someone from Accounts doesn’t say ‘hi’ back to you in the morning at work, maybe don’t spend all day wondering what horrific atrocity you’ve committed against them and accept that maybe they just didn’t hear you.
That is the case isn’t it Linda? You just didn’t hear me? LINDA…?!?