So I know it’s been a while since we had a little mental health post, but I got really weary of not wanting to ‘overdo’ it after all that went on earlier this year.
I was floored by the success of the work of the Heads Together campaign and it felt so overwhelming to have strangers and friends come up & thank my Mum & I for speaking out. I’ll write a post about it one day. I keep writing it and binning it and writing it and then wanting to keep what happened in those Buckingham Palace corridors just for my Mum & me. We’ll see. It will come one day.
Anyway, as much as I want that to shine in its own right, it feels the right time to pick up where we left off with Little Miss Worry Guts – the ‘blog book’ about normal people living with what feels like a far from normal mind.
This week – it’s times for chapter 2.
The 12 years I convinced myself it was asthma…
…or any other type of other random medical ailment for that matter.
Anything rather than actually blame the horrendous side effects that come with anxiety on actually having anxiety. Cos, that shit would be simple.
There was the time at primary school when Mum took me to the docs because I’d spent a large amount of time complaining about being short of breath and having a really tight chest.
I blew into tubes and had my back checked to ensure I didn’t have some sort of infant lung disorder (which in my overactive 8 year old brain was 100% the reason) only to be told that my lung function was fine, that I probably should stop making a fuss and just go home and have some squash and watch Neighbours.
This was the 90’s. There was no checking an infant for the then non-existent anxiety. I was just playing up.
There was a time a few years back that I spent so with an insatiable thirst and running in and out of the loo all day that I genuinely took a pregnancy test despite being a week out of a period and being in the middle of a very sitcom length bout of celibacy.
And when it wasn’t the second coming of Christ, I spent another week googling the symptoms of diabetes because, erm why else am I living in a constant state of broken seal?
I didn’t think about the fact that I’d been having the dreaded knot of anxiety in my tummy for a month. And I was stressed. With work, with home, with pissing on sticks. In reality, I probably had one really thirsty, pee-y day, but because my brain’s a minefield – I subconsciously kept thinking about it. Kept stressing about it.
And kept producing a mouth like a Jacob’s cream cracker. A need for all of the water. And wizzing like a race horse.
Simple when you break it down.
If, at 8, they’d have asked me when I got most out of breath, it would have been a bit obvious that things weren’t as they seemed.
See I didn’t get out of breath playing tag or running for the ice cream van. I got a tight chest when it was English class and I had to read aloud, and I got out of breath 5 minutes before the bell would ring for break because I was so full of fear that I would suddenly loose all my mates and would have to play pat ball on my own (defo a two man sport) like that weird girl Christine in Year 4. The fears were real.
Sometimes I still get asthma or a touch of the ol’ pregnancies now.
I sometimes get asthma real fucking bad when I’m walking to the gym and the overwhelming fear, that I’ll do something wrong on the machine and look like a prat or everyone in the women’s changing rooms will see that I 100% have wonky tits, really kicks in and I just wanna reach for my emergency pump.
I yawn like an insomniac trying to get air in my lungs and my mind starts darting around NHS Direct and before you know it I’m having a panic attack on the cross trainer.
I get the real bad fake pregnancy diabetes wee’s on when I suddenly fear that everything I’ve done that morning at work was completely random, wrong and everyone around me is looking at me thinking. ‘why you a crackpot for?’.
I get really bad signs of angina when I go down the tube because I’ll take all leave of my senses and jump on the track. And I get really bad-is-that-a-stroke headaches when I think about the prospect of having to talk out loud in meetings or in the pub incase I flunk my words or sound like a man.
But above all of that I get asthma the worst when trying to go to sleep, particularly when without the use of one of the following aids;
- Prescribed medication
- Lavender pillow spray (to this day I owe Karan Lachhar my life)
- Red wine *
Because trust, trying to get a good 8 hours when all of this ^^ medical mindmuckery is going through your head is nigh on fucking impossible.
*I never do all three. Nobody likes to be near a drowsy, lavendery smelling pisshead.