IN 2009 I was diagnosed with anxiety, after I returned from living in the UK.
Looking back, I think I’d been suffering it for many years before but I never really understood what was wrong and lived with horrible effects of it.
My choice of lifestyle and my job at the time were definitely contributing factors to the mini-breakdown that I had before returning home, just before I was diagnosed.
For the last six weeks I’ve suffered severely from this illness and it has affected every aspect of my life including my job and relationship.
I was asked by a friend the other day to describe to her what happens when I’m suffering, as she didn’t really understand.
I explained to her that every sufferer is different and we will all experience a range of different symptoms and effects.
Many people don’t get anxiety and to be honest, they don’t quiet comprehend how people can’t just get over it!
Did you know one in six people have anxiety in Australia and it’s the most common mental condition?
Crazy. I believe there are a fair few who suffer in silence too.
Since I’ve been speaking out about it, so many friends have come forward.
I had coffee with some girlfriends at the weekend and had no idea they were both medicated for it. I was blown away.
The last six weeks have been really tough for me and I’ve struggled to get to work with it.
Looking back, the past few weeks are very blurry and I spent most of it in my head.
A lot of changes have happened around me this year and that really sent me into a downward spiral.
I have been dragging my butt out of bed to get to work and then as soon as the show and work commitments were over I was going straight home where I felt protected and not judged.
My partner, Griffo, has been an amazing support, considering he wouldn’t know who he was getting each day.
We were both on a rollercoaster depending on my level of anxiety for the day.
Some days (truthfully, not many) I would come home with a smile on my face and every other day I would be sad, angry or just withdrawn.
I drank alcohol almost every night. Numbing the anxiety is what made me feel alive, but then I would wake the next morning and feel 10 times worse.
It’s a vicious cycle and I’ve struggled to break free. I stopped working out and I ate almost everything in sight. I lost control.
My brain has been congested with self-doubt and extremely irrational with erratic negative thoughts. I could only see the worst in situations.
I find it hard to talk when I’m in the middle of an episode, which can be extremely difficult when that is my paid job.
I’ve had panic attacks in the middle of the show and had to run off to the toilets.
I overthink almost everything. I wake in the middle of the night replaying conversations over and over in my head.
“Did I offend so and so when I said this?” “What if she hates me?”
I’ll sometimes lay awake for hours at a time, analysing and deconstructing situations or conversations.
My tummy is full of knots and I get the runs. (Sorry, not sorry … it’s the truth.)
My mouth will become rigid and my cheek will tremble.
My levels of paranoia skyrocket through the roof and I completely withdraw.
Yet my body somehow goes into autopilot and I’m able to perform, drive, walk, work and have sex.
I can’t tell you what happened over the last few weeks as I have no recollection and that’s scary. My mind will race to the point of exhaustion.
I come to the wrong conclusions about things and I suffer in silence as my paranoia is at extreme heights.
I’m petrified of dying and this plays a huge part in my every day — I will sometimes think about being killed or dying in a horrific car accident more than 20 times a day.
Anxiety affects my life, along with so many Australians so if you need to talk to someone about it hit me up on Twitter or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.