Living with Somebody with Anxiety

Friday, 21 August 2015


I see a lot of these posts, a lot of stories, a lot of people explaining their experiences, what they go through, what they went through.
My story's different because I'm not the one that lives with it in my head, I live with it in my Mum's head. 
People generally say that if you don't personally have a mental disorder then you have no idea what it is like or what they are going through. I think that sometimes it's worthwhile to think of others that it affects too.

Throughout my childhood, I was bitter and angry towards my Mum because we never did anything out of town - never did anything my other friends did with their Mums. I used to get so jealous of my friends going to music concerts, going to a city to shop, going to the cinema or on girly days. It hit the point where I made things up. I made up that I was going to see S Club 7 with my auntie, I had to say my auntie because all of my friends knew that it wouldn't be my Mum - after all, we didn't do anything. I got found out and busted for lying. I just took the hit, because how could I explain that I lied because I wanted to fit in, wanted to do fun stuff too? If I didn't understand all of that, how could other people?

Years passed by and my bitterness subsided and I just accepted that I'd never be able to do mother and daughter things outside the strict town walls in which we lived. I kind of just assumed she didn't want to do anything with me. I watched my friends jet off on holidays, listened to stories of Disneyland and missed out on going on day trips. There were many, many times where I'd be invited places that I never even brought up to my Mum, because there was no chance of being transported there or being able to be part of it.

I never understood.

I never understood why one day my Mum decided we'd go on a shopping trip to the nearest city, but as soon as we entered via car, she cried, turned round and we went back home. 

I hated it. To be honest, I still do. I'd be lying if I told you all that I feel totally fine now, because I understand, but I don't. I still get twangs of upset and jealousy when I hear about peoples childhood adventures, and I still get sad that I had to wait till I was at university to begin to discover the world and brand new things, brand new foods, a brand new way of life. Yes, I understand, yes, I know how hard it is - but in my head, I'm still that child that didn't get to do anything with her Mum.

A few years ago, something bad happened to my brother which ended up in hospital stays and a lot of crossed fingers. It was something that my Mum blamed herself for. Something that triggered her. 
Receiving a phone call telling me that she wouldn't leave the house, cried if she walked to the end of the street, couldn't be left at home while my stepdad was at work and couldn't be alone at all, was something that no daughter wants to hear. I took time off university, came home, and stayed by her side until one day I suggested going to the sales. I spoke nothing of what she was doing on the way, spoke nothing of the fact she left the street, spoke nothing of the fact that she reached town, spoke nothing until we reached the cash point and she turned and went 'this is the furthest that I've been in months'. That's when I knew she'd be okay.

Since then, and since allowing herself to be open to medication, my Mum has visited me in Manchester, took a trip with me to Sheffield and goes shopping with me in Lincoln. I'm still working on London.

Nobody speaks out about this side of anxiety - nobody fully reveals how hard hitting it is to be in a position where nobody understands that you have to live with it too, even when it's not personally in your head. The world is becoming more open about the subject, allowing more people to be open about their issues and coming together as a community, understanding and helping each other out, which is amazing and allows people to get the help and commitment that they need, but I, and other people in my position, sometimes need help too. We need you guys with anxiety to help us understand, and we need you to realise that we need your support network too. I need your support in order to grow out of that little girl that wished and wished and wished she could do more things. I need your help in order to go 'hey, it's okay now, we know what mummy went through'.

I want to start a community where we can discuss that it's okay to speak out about the other side, it's okay to talk about it, that we shouldn't be scared of the assumption that people with anxiety will form a bad opinion against us because it's not us. I want to be the open ear that allows you to tell me your stories and get negative emotions off your chest.

So, if you have a similar story, have a childhood grudge you need to shake off, or just need somebody to ramble onto that has been in a similar position, my email is elelibeee@gmail.com. Because as soon as we know we can get support from each other too, we'll be even better support systems to them.

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