Anxiety. It’s a funny word. Attached to it comes a lot of stigma, just like any mental illness.
My bumbling, messy journey with anxiety probably started way before I was even aware of it.
It wasn’t until I ended up being carted off to North Mids hospital in an ambulance for the second time in 2 months, in 2015, that I started to realise that the stabbing pains and dizziness I was experiencing, was actually down to stress and anxiety, not to gallstone as we thought on my first visit to A&E.
I hate hospitals, most people do. My fear of them comes from seeing my grandma there it what I referred to as the ‘ nutty ward’ where I was convinced she did not need to be.
Flash forward to July 2015, alone in a strange hospital with no one I knew and a dying battery, I was terrified and didn’t love the thought of doctors prodding and poking. I remember them having to calm me down as they tried to fit and iv drip into my arm. It was freezing thanks to the air con and all I wanted was my mum. They took me to the ward at about 1am and I tried to sleep. The next morning the priding and poking my poor tummy started again and was sent off for an ultrasound. I was starving at this point as I was nil by mouth until I’d had the scan. Gallstones was still the potential cause at the time.
Secretly I was quite glad to be there and not on placement. My mentor wasn’t the nicest person in the world and made me feel like I was incompetent of doing anything. Hence the stomach pains and feeling sick. I was convinced I was going to fail my placement and lose out on my dream job of being a teacher. Thankfully my tutor from uni was on my side. Doses up to my eye balls on as sack full of painkillers I went off home, after spending all day on the ward on the hottest day of the year with no air con. (Freezing in A&E. Boiling on the ward).
Being around family seemed to help. But panic attacks were still common. I went off home to mums for the summer and thought things would be better. But a month into my NQT year I had the stabbing tummy pains again and collapsed at school. Back I went to the fun factory. Only the doctors weren’t as nice that time. The drip wasn’t in my arm properly so the machine connecting it was peeping all night, there was a lady shouting for help and someone else arguing with the doctor. Recuse the near day came in the form of auntie Sue. I was told I wasn’t staying at home on my own so we went to get some over night things and off to Barnet we went.
My cousin’s wife and daughter came round the next morning to be with my and uncle Dave. Auntie sue rang throughout the day to check I had eaten and taken my tablets. Annie cuddles was the best therapy for me 😊
After getting the all clear and was diagnosed with anxiety. I was offered tablets which I declined and decided to try counselling (for the 3rd time) it didn’t work. So I gave up and asked for medication. I just wanted to be able to sleep properly, as night terrors were a regular things.
They tablets seemed to work for a bit, but then last year so much change happened at my old school that my head didn’t seem to handle it. I applied for a new job and left the ‘fun factory’ in July 2018. It was the right choice… oh so I thought.
I was hoping new school. New people, no dreaded thought of ofsted.
It wasn’t so bad to start off with. Though panic attacks were still happening when observations loomed. I was struggling with the behaviour of one child in particular. The doctor upped my medication to help with the undue stress and the pressure that came with being in a sats year group. This last year has many ups and downs. I think it was the right choice to move schools and am looking forward to this next year.
But anxiety is still there in the back of my mind. Whether it’s worry about money, or family, or the most annoying housemate in the world. I am having good days and bad days. Saturday (3/8/19) was a bad day. I had gone into central London with my boyfriend as we were going to the cat cafe. But on the way back the tube was really busy and there was an awful lot of people in the stations. My boyfriend is great at calming me down, but at that moment I just wanted to get out of there. The bus to Enfield was just as busy, it was hot and smelly. Once back in my safe space I was able to calm down and relax.
I have been the happiest I have been in a long time, but I am no where near being anxiety free, as much as I wish I was. Sometimes I feel that people think I’m just putting it on do attention. But as most people who know me know, attention is the last thing I want when having an anxiety attack. I just want to get a stage where I am confident enough to be in crowded places, not get worked up over observations and be able to go out and socialise.
When it comes to dealing with it, reading, drawing and being creative helps. However, the biggest comfort comes in the form of my family – mum, auntie sue, uncle Dave, Tom, Kat, the kids and Basim. The adults let me vent, cry, shout, ask for advice and my two squishes just want to play and draw which is sometimes all the therapy I need.
Stress and anxiety affects us all in different ways. Mine comes in the form of stabbing pains in the tummy. For others it might be head aches, chest pain or tingling fingers. We’re not crazy or attention seeking, it is our bodies acting completely naturally to situations we feel uncomfortable in. – fight or flight mode. It’s how we chose to handle the situation the determines how we then react to the feeling. Do we run from it and panic or do we stay and fight and say ‘I will not let you scare me’. For me I feel it’s time to stop running and time to fight anxiety and take back my life properly, so I can enjoy teaching my wonderful class, have fun adventures with Basim and stop letting things scare me, instead embrace them and say ‘screw you, I’m Emily Clark! I’m amazing! I’m ready to take on the world!’
Are you ready to fight back?
I’m sure going to have fun on my adventure.