Our Stories: Life with Anxiety | MindTheApp

In my 2nd year at uni, my grandad got cancer and we lost him 3 months later. It was a short period of time, not long enough to register, but long enough to understand the true heartache of losing someone you love so much.

Then came the feelings of dizziness, the ‘what ifs’; what if I die, my thumb hurts, I must have a brain tumour, I feel dizzy, I can’t breathe, what if my parents die, what can I do to save my grandad, why is this happening, I feel funny, like I’m not really here, there’s lots of people in this call centre, the lights are really bright, what if people notice I’m panicking, am I red? I feel warm, will people see I’m red? I can’t talk, I feel like I’m choking, I have a 30,000 word essay to write on the history of ballet, I need to go get petrol, what if I don’t hit my sales target, what if I crash my car, how can I look after my grandmother when she’s 70 miles away, what if, what if?

“Donna, I think you need to speak to someone, get some help.”

Help? Me?

“You’re really quiet, you don’t seem yourself lately, are you ok?”

Oh god, people are noticing, what if they think I can’t do my job? What if I crash my car because I’m having a panic attack? What if, what if?

“Donna, you’ve got anxiety? You? But, you’re really social? What do you mean you’re afraid of speaking in public?”

Oh god, they really don’t believe me!!!

Just a glimpse of the toughest period of my life that I feel comfortable sharing. Since I’ve gotten support and I continue to get support, I have learnt how to speak to myself when I feel fragile, when I feel I can’t control situations, when I might let others down.

And it’s okay; it’s okay to have anxiety, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to feel sad. Life happens, it takes us by surprise, knocks us off our feet.

What helps me? Talking to people, explaining that I have anxiety and that I do get nervous. it calms me down, I go for walks and I speak kindly to myself. I am only human and can’t control everything.

Do I still have anxiety? 100%. I take tablets to help me and I don’t avoid situations that make me anxious. I attend that busy meeting, I speak in public and make sure I give myself a huge ‘well done’ whenever I face these fears because it’s a huge achievement. Most of all, I take one day at a time and I make sure to tell my story and use my experience to help others understand what mental health is and that we all need support with our own mental health.