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Living with Anxiety: Part One

Tutu Ames

I have anxiety that severely impacted on my life to the point where I stopped leaving my house. I’ve always been an anxious person but after having my son it got worse. I would stay up at night having panic attacks about dying and wouldn’t go anywhere in case I got sick or someone judged me about my parenting (when I had pink hair this was rational as I was judged often).

I suffered from stomach migraines. I do get the racing heartbeat, sweating and the feeling of being faint though. The main thing is the instant stomach dropping. I then became anxious of being sick and constantly had to know where public toilets were if I needed one urgently.

Nothing helped; no matter what I told myself, no matter where we went, no matter how irrational I knew my anxiety was, I still felt anxious.

I stopped seeing friends, stopped going shopping, stopped going with my bf and son to the doctors or daycare – I stopped doing everything.

It finally got to the point where I decided I had lived with this long enough. I went to one doctor who told me I wasn’t anxious and just needed to change my diet; pretty much didn’t listen to me. I was hysterical and made my boyfriend take me to another doctor straight away. As soon as I told him my symptoms and worries he asked about medication.

I’m now on Aropax and it has changed my life dramatically. I take my son out for random trips (we sit on a bus till the last stop or go into the city to run around), take him to daycare twice a week and am socialising more than I have since I fell pregnant.

I’ve been told by many people that it is all in my mind and medication isn’t the way to go. Yes, it is all in the mind – it’s a chemical imbalance. Yes, medication isn’t always the right thing to do but as I have an obvious chemical imbalance it is right for me.

I feel the need to be more detailed here on my blog. I’ll begin at what I’ve lived with the longest – Trichotillomania.

Since I’ve had hair (so from when I was a baby) I’ve suffered from trichotillomania (simply put; pulling hair out) or as I call it ‘twirling’. Basically, if you’ve ever seen me playing with my hair then chances are I’ve been twirling – twisting my hair into little knots then pulling them out.

I don’t do it for pain, I don’t feel anything when I pull and often don’t realise I am pulling. To me, it’s all about the knot of hair; the smaller, tighter, harder knots are way better than the big, loose, soft knots. I like the feeling of the knot between my fingers and can fiddle with them for hours.

I pull when I’m not using my hands, so that can be at any time of the day or night. Sometimes I’m aware I’m twirling and other times I’m not.

I haven’t pulled since I last got my hair cut and coloured. I find if I’m totally satisfied with my hair I won’t ruin it by pulling. It isn’t easy. Since I recently began on medication for anxiety it has become harder to resist pulling. I’ve found myself twirling string, doll’s hair, ribbon and even paper. If this medication wasn’t so helpful in other aspects of my life, I would stop taking it as the urge to pull is so great.

To be honest (why stop now?), I think it’s more a habit then anything. I’ve been told it’s like being born with extra sensory needs. It makes sense. I can’t watch a movie or TV without reading, eating or being on the internet, I can’t read with my hands free (I read while holding a bookmark at the moment) and I can’t eat while reading, watching TV or surfing the net. Is it any wonder why the mister thinks I have ADD?!

So this is one part of the insight to my mental health. It’s not completely healthy but it’s not completely ill. It’s… interesting.

If you need to talk to anyone (they are there for a reason) please contact one or all of the following numbers and talk to your doctor (if you aren’t satisfied, use your intuition and go elsewhere):

Remember, your mental health affects your physical health.

Read Living with Anxiety: Part Two 

You can find more from this brave and honest blogger at Tutu Ames

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