Things those of us with anxiety wish you knew…

Mental illnesses like general anxiety disorder (GAD) don’t discriminate, no matter what your race, background, or socioeconomic status is. That said, women are 60 percent more likely than men to have an anxiety disorder, so chances are, you or someone close to you is dealing with it. It could be anyone — even that gorgeous, friendly woman you sometimes commute to work with. When it comes the “type” of person wrestling with this illness, don’t get sucked into what the media portrays — there isn’t one type.
People with anxiety disorders are struggling behind closed doors more than they are in public, and just because they seem put together when you meet them for weeknight cocktails doesn’t mean they’ve got it all figured out. Having suffered from acute anxiety — it was tied up with my binge eating disorder (BED) — since I was a teenager, I have learned a few things about getting people to understand the struggles I go through. The best gifts I ever received from friends were space and understanding. The more you hover over somebody with anxiety, the quicker you will push them away, the faster you will make them feel like they’re abnormal.
The assistance we do need isn’t always what you think it is though, like taking us to the doctor. We might just need a pair of ears to hear us out — or some alone time. The most important thing is to love us unconditionally and never make assumptions about our condition.
Here are 11 things people with anxiety want you to know.
1. Social Gatherings Are Hard
Parties are no fun. Neither are baby showers. We would rather watch paint dry than go to a big wedding where everyone is dolled up — and chatty. With anxiety disorders comes stress in large social situations, particularly when it’s an event where everybody is smiling and celebrating a happy life event. If we turn down an invite, it’s not because we don’t love you — the party might just be genuinely overwhelming to us.

2. Sometimes We Just Don’t Feel Like Laughing

People who see us on edge automatically assume that the best thing to do is tell a joke, or do something silly to make us smile.
There’s a difference between forcing us into laughter and lightening the mood; the former always comes off as inauthentic — because it usually is — while the latter can be done naturally, without making us feel like we’re being treated in a loony bin. Don’t force us to laugh, please.

3. This Doesn’t Define Us

Please don’t whisper about us behind our backs and label us according to what kind of anxiety disorder we harbor (I swear, I was once dubbed Nervous Nancy). This disease doesn’t make up our entire identity; that’s a fact we lose sight of at times, which just makes us feel worse about ourselves, so try to steer clear of insensitive comments and nicknames. Instead, remind us of all the reasons we are wonderful — no harm can come out of that.

4. Things That Don’t Affect You Bother Us

I’m talking about those little, tiny, minute occurrences that you probably don’t even give a second thought to, like having you come over to our apartment for the very first time. Our brains are wired differently, and we might even be dealing with some chemical imbalances, so those small things make our minds run wild while you can merely shrug them off and continue on with your life. If we seem a little nervous, please don’t make fun of us, or make us feel guilty.

5. We’re Physically Exhausted

In case you haven’t heard, the mind and body are intricately connected, so if one is facing difficulties, the other will visibly suffer. People with anxiety disorders tend to live in a hyper-tense state, especially when they’re not getting the treatment they need. This causes the heart rate and blood pressure to rise, and our digestive system might not be working properly. Be gentle with us if you see that we’re tired and cranky, because we probably didn’t sleep at all last night.

6. We’d Appreciate The Space To Vent

It’s hard to find a good enough friend or family member out there who can listen to our troubles without passing any judgment whatsoever. If you could be that person for us, we’d love you forever. The more we bottle stuff up, the more likely we are to have a panic attack or end up locked up in our bedroom, surrounded by Ben & Jerry’s. Plus, nothing is worse than being honest, only to see the person across from us with a disgusted look on their face. Try not to be supportive and non-judgmental — and remember, you don’t have to fix it.

7. We’re Trying Our Hardest

Just because you don’t see us running to a therapy session every Wednesday doesn’t mean we’re not doing our absolute best to work on this mental illness. It’s really, really hard being trapped in this head constantly and not fully understanding all the emotional phases that pass by. Please don’t assume that we aren’t aware of our troubles. We. So. Are. And we’re doing our best to heal ourselves, in our own ways.

8. We Appreciate You

Yeah, it’s hard to say out loud, but we love all the support and encouragement you give us. We might not show it, and that’s only because we get so caught up in trying to make sense of the chaotic, demanding world around us. So, thanks for late-night chats and the text messages that are meant to bring us out of hiding on a weekend night. We’re trying to get better at saying thank you more often.

9. We’ll Never Be Just Like You

There might be a “normal” mold out there that you and many other people fit into — and we may never be granted citizenship on that land. There’s nothing wrong with that, so don’t make us feel like there is. We might never be interested in Halloween parties or Saturday morning yoga classes, no matter how rad you think they are. Let us be our own people, and, I promise, we’ll have a much better shot at getting along.

10. We Don’t All Need Medication

It far too common: people struggling with a mental illness are told that we should think about a certain kind of medication. But what works for your younger, manic depressive cousin may not necessarily work for us. Some respond well to anti-anxiety prescriptions, while it exacerbates the symptoms of others. Instead of telling us we need to take pills, ask us openly if we’ve ever considered it. We’ll tell you where we stand.

11. You May Never Know The Whole Story

Countless parts of illnesses like GAD are suffered behind closed doors. We don’t like being the center of attention, so we do everything we can to hide all the awful things we’re going through; this could mean that we aren’t going to tell you everything when you ask us to share our personal stories. Don’t take it personally — we’re either not ready yet to reveal corners of ourselves, or we’ve decided that there are some things we’d prefer to keep private.

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An Open Letter To My Sons About Donald Trump…

A letter to my sons.
Hey boys. Your aged mother (well, I’m 44) needs to get this off her chest.
I’ve been a little bit upset since Wednesday. I’ve cried a lot and I’ve been very grumpy. Yes, I know. Grumpier than normal. That’s baaaaad right? There is a very serious reason for all of this. That cheese Dorito coloured asshat Donald Trump has been elected as President of the United States of America. That’s filled me with a sense of fear and disbelief.
Now, I’ll get a fair amount (if that many people read this) of abuse for telling you that I’m scared. Well tough. You are 18 and 16 so you are old enough to hear this and to cope with the occasional profanity that may come out of my mouth. You are my kids and I decide what I say to you, not some keyboard warrior with nothing better to do.
On the 9th November, we woke up to the unthinkable news that Donald J Trump had become the 45th president of the United States of America. I remember that I just went icy cold, started shaking and burst into tears. How could this happen? Everyone was so sure (myself included) that we would be waking up to the words “Madam President”. Yet against all the odds, the ever orange one with shares in L’Oreal hairspray had won.
Why did this happen? How could so many women, Hispanics, people of colour, Muslims, environmentalists and LGBTQ all vote for Trump? By their vote alone, Hillary should have romped home. She should have been tap dancing up the White House lawn. But this didn’t happen. Why didn’t it?
Here is one thing we know: Donald Trump, against all odds, will be the next President of the United States.

That’s a fact. How exactly it came to be is an open question. There will be dozens of books written about the real estate magnate’s path to the White House. From his trampling of the Republican primary field to a convincing electoral victory over Hillary Clinton after a shockingly nasty general election campaign, some could arrive in volumes.

1. He won because of Facebook and its inability or unwillingness to crack down on fake news

Via New York Magazine: The social network and others like it became a clearinghouse for fake news. Not simple partisan spin, but outright lies peddled as objective truth by shady actors both inside the US and abroad. 

2. Because of social media, generally

Via right-wing commentator Stefan Molyneux: The medium made the man — much as radio won the presidency for Franklin Roosevelt and television boosted John Kennedy, social media allowed Trump and his allies to drive the narrative.

3. Because of low voter turnout

Via multiple sources on social media: For a variety of reasons, from an enthusiasm gap to voter suppression, turnout in 2016 was lower across the board, but especially among Democrats. And it cost Clinton the election.

4. Because celebrity outlasts substance

Via Quartz: Trump’s name ID, celebrity and media-savvy overmatched Clinton’s policy acumen and data-driven turnout operation. 

5. Because of white women 

Via Slate: They were just as “racist” as their white male counterparts, with whom they identify more than women from minority groups. 

6. Because of white male resentment

Via The Nation: Forget economic anxiety — exit polls show people making the least money voted for Clinton — and focus on identity. The best evidence lies in Trump and his supporters’ calls to “take our country back.” 

7. Because of Russia after all?

Via The Washington Post: The Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in an interview with state media that, contrary to Trump’s denials, “quite a few” people from his “entourage” have “been staying in touch with Russian representatives.”

8. Because the left and coastal elites shamed Trump supporters

Via The New York Times: The left has pressed on with an “ideology of shame” directed at the right, most notably now Trump supporters. 

In short: “The racism, sexism and xenophobia used by Mr. Trump to advance his candidacy does not reveal an inherent malice in the majority of Americans.”

9. Because rural Midwesterners don’t get out of the house enough

Via Patrick Thornton of Roll Call: It’s not just that elites are abandoning or ignoring Middle America — the “rural midwest” is doing the same, becoming more isolated and resistant to the diversity (of identity and thought) on the coasts.

10. Because the Democratic Party establishment didn’t push Bernie Sanders

Via The Huffington Post: By raising up Clinton over Sanders, the Democratic Party establishment (and its voters?) showed they favored the company and support of comfortable professionals over those beset by economic injustice. 

11. Because Reagan Democrats surged in Michigan and Midwest

Via former U.N. ambassador John Bolton: The so-called “Reagan Democrats” — white, working class voters who tend to lean Democrat but bend right for special candidates like Ronald Reagan and, now, Trump — are the story of this election. 

12. Not because of millennials

Via the Boston Globe: But do blame the media for focusing too much on them and not enough on the older white males who were the great, underreported story of 2016.

13. Because of Gary Johnson and Jill Stein

Via Vanity Fair: Clinton lost for lots of reasons, most notably the millions of voters who turned out for Johnson and Stein, thus denying the Democratic support she might have received in narrowly lost states like Pennsylvania. 

14. Because political correctness set off a nasty backlash

Via Reason: Trump’s promise to “destroy” political correctness, which has run rampant on college campuses and other more liberal enclaves, won him the culture war and, thus, the presidency.

15. Because he simply listened to the American people

Via right radio host John Cardillo: The political class (on the coasts) did not listen to or care enough for Middle America. Trump did. So he won.

16. Because college educated Americans are out of touch

Via the Alaska Dispatch News: Trump spoke to working-class voters, here mostly defined as those without college degrees, about the things they cared about: religion, liberty, marriage, sexuality, abortion and gun rights. And because “professorial sorts” who have spent time at universities drift into an “insular political culture,” their candidate was doomed to lose.

17. Because Americans are biased — but not against any race, ethnicity or gender

Via The Resurgent: The election was, simply, a referendum on the ruling class in Washington, D.C. None of the other issues, be they cultural or racial, came close to mattering as much.

18. Because voters believed the system was corrupt

Via The (UK) Daily Telegraph: Voters believed their political apparatus was corrupt and Trump was the only one who reliably affirmed that belief and promised to fix it.

19. Because he remembered ‘forgotten men, women’ of America

Via FirstPost: While Hillary Clinton held campaign rallies with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Trump was out talking about the “forgotten” working class, which in turn exacted a “revenge” on the political elite by voting for him. 

20. Because Democrats focused more on turning out supporters than growing the base

Via In These Times: The party and the left “have given up/abandoned/lost touch with the working class” — as evidenced by their lame effort to persuade people outside their base. By focusing on them, Democrats ceded all else. 

21. Because the Democratic National Committee selected the less competitive candidate 

Via WikiLeaks on Twitter: The party tipped the scales for Clinton, thus “defeating the purpose of running a primary” and in turn denying Sanders, a better candidate, the chance to win.

22. Not because of racism

Via Bloomberg View: Never mind the backlash to the country’s first African-American president, this wasn’t about race in the slightest. If race were an issue, then Obama wouldn’t have won two terms and many of the states Trump himself prevailed in on Tuesday.

23. Because of Comey

Via USA Today: The FBI director’s decision to revive the Clinton email circus with a letter to Congress two weeks before Election Day killed the Democrat’s momentum and derailed her plans to finish the campaign with a more uplifting message. It also distracted from things like Trump’s comments in the “Access Hollywood” tape.

24. Not because of Comey

Via The Washington Post: Clinton lost because exit polls showed more than half of voters believed she was “corrupt.” And that was her own fault, not Comey’s.

Any one of these suggestions could be the reason that he won. It could be a combination of some or all of them. Whatever the reasons, I am sickened by the fact he won. Each and every person who voted for him ought to hang their heads in shame and disgust.

What we are saying by a Trump vote is that it is OK to verbally or physically attack someone because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Bullshit! Fuck that!!! It is so NOT ok! It is not OK to yell racist taunts or touch a woman without her consent. It is not OK to put your hands on another person without their consent. Ever.

People tell me I have no right to be scared of Trump because I’m Scottish. Well excuse me for being afraid of a psychopath with the nuclear codes in his pocket. World peace is EVERYBODY’S business, it really is!

Why have I written this letter? I want you to know that it is OK to say HELL NO!!! It is OK to rage against the dying of the light. It is OK to fight back!!!

As I write this, people across the USA are protesting against Trump and his presidency. They are fighting back. What we have to do is stand with them. We have to speak out against Trump and do it globally!

If he builds that wall, then we have to be ready to tear it down.

I want you to read this and know that we will never stop fighting. All it takes for evil to prosper is that good men do nothing.

Love you boys.

Mum.x

Tiptoeing around chronic physical/mental health issues and pain…

Seriously. Enough already! People need to stop tiptoeing around these issues. I am quite open about the fact that I have severe physical health issues and also mental health issues. I’m very lucky to have a small, close knit group of friends who understand what I am going through because they, like me, have seen the film and got the t-shirt. They really help to keep me from losing it.

I can talk to them. Every single day we can talk about what ails us. We can talk about our pain safe in the knowledge that someone is going to be there to hold us up and give us the love and support that we need at any given time. With our mental health issues too. We can talk about our bogeymen and our demons without anyone judging or laughing at us.

Yet if we talk about any of those things outside of our group, then eyes get rolled and people tut. We are accused of moaning and complaining. We are told that we should suck it up and suffer in silence. People who do not understand will tiptoe around these issues and expect us to bury our complaints and tiptoe around the illness and it’s symptoms. Well hell no!!!

Enough already. People can bitch to the world that they have a cold and how ill they feel. Yet we must suffer in silence and on top of that, also sugar coat what we say so that it’s palatable for other people to swallow.

Enough. We should not have to hide how we suffer just to make other people feel better. Like now. I’ll tell you that it feels like all my muscles are wrapped in barbed wire and each and every one of my nerves feels like they have been dipped in acid. To cap it off it feels like little men with crowbars are trying to prise open my joints and I have a pride of lions chewing in my lumbar spine. That’s pretty much every day for me.

Oh, lets talk about the elephant in the room – mental health. I have just about clawed my way back from being on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I’m thinking about things and I feel so physically sick that my mind is fractured and shattered into thousands of tiny pieces. Paranoia haunts me. I feel like I’m a useless fat lump. I hate myself. PTSD from a lifetime of abuse from the two men who should have loved and protected me more than any others. That rages in my mind. Bipolar type 1 also rules me. But I have to fight as hard as I can. They will not beat me. Those men took my innocence but they will not take my life.

So anyone with chronic health issues, hear me. Be loud and proud. You don’t have to sugar coat how you feel to make other people feel better!

I see through you, you son of a bitch…

So tonight my man shape gets a call. A telephone call from out of the blue. His darling mother (who sees me as the nasty little pagan with tattoos and piercings.) played a nasty trick tonight.

She called MY number (not his) which indicates that she wants me to know and wants to cause me maximum distress.

She makes some small talk about his brother who has had a biopsy taken of a nasal growth. Then moved to “Guess what? Your estranged son who hasn’t even sent you a fucking birthday card in ten years. No birthday, no Father’s Day, no Christmas. No fuck all!!!

They are estranged through thr fault of his ex-wife. She has kept them poisoned for all this time. So granny dearest has to stick her snout in and cause all this stress.

My kid aren’t his blood, but they give him gifts and cards every Yule, birthday, Father’s Day any other day!!!

Now it looks like they are going to be swept aside. Well fuck that.

Chronic illness, panic and exhaustion…

I’m seriously exhausted. My eyes keep on closing of their own volition and my mind aches with tiredness.

I’m also caught in the middle of being the most worried that I have ever been. Someone that I love with all my heart and soul is suddenly ill and I’m terrified. This person is my soulmate and my world. The thought that there may be something wrong with them is filling my soul with dark, sick anxiety that is destroying me from the inside. I wish it was me and not them.

My pain has been really bad today and my kneecap dislocated this morning so I have roboleg (my leg brace) on. I don’t care about my pain today. I only care about the one I love being OK.

Please, let them be OK.

This is a bad day…

I’m standing on the edge of a huge dark pit of depression. I’m about to lose the tenuous grip on sanity that I had left. Why? My family. They have, over the last few days been so mean and nasty that I feel like piece of dried herb being ground up by a mortar and pestle. Every twist grinds a little bit more of me away until there will very soon be nothing left. I’ll just be a few bits of powder that would easily blow away in the wind and there would be nothing left of me at all.


I just don’t get what else I need to do. I try so hard to please everyone and make everyone happy. Yet right now, I get no respect and everything I do is thrown back at me. I’m nothing to them.


I can’t explain just how broken I feel. I see other people looking beautiful and being happy. Is it so very wrong of me to want just a tiny bit of that?

For the first 33 years of my life I was mistreated and abused. That is part of what has made me what I am now. Please stop. Please don’t grind any more of me away. 

I try so hard to fight back and move on. To rise out of this mire. But I can’t. I’m just a shadow and nobody sees me or the pain inside me. I’m honestly beginning to think that the world would be better if I just was not in it. If I just slipped over the edge of the pit. It would be so easy.

Having “that” conversation with your child…

The birds and the bees. There comes a time when you realise that you have to do the “talk”. You notice that you have a child with a serious girlfriend. They are both almost 16 and seem very serious about each other.

So you sit your child down and as you start to try and approach the subject, he announces to you that yes they have and yes they used protection.

I was fighting two emotions. Pride because his was clever enough to use protection and nausea because I really didn’t want to think about him having sex. Not one bit. It was one of those moments where you stick your fingers in your ears and sing Lalalalalala!

However, this brings me on to the important part of the talk. I told him he must never have sex without protection as I am NOT ready to be a granny yet, no siree, I am not! I’ve purchased a box of condoms for him and I’ve told him when he needs more to ask me. I’ve also told him never do it outside. The thought of them up some disgusting urine soaked back alley full of broken glass and used needles makes me recoil in horror it really does.

So I’ve told him that if they’re going to do it, then they either go to her house or they come here.

I’ve also given him the boring part of the speach about the legal age of consent. I realise by purchasing condoms and giving them a place to go is encouraging them to break the law, but if one takes the attitude that they are going to do it anyway, I am just doing my best to help them.

The funniest part of the conversation was the dawning horror in his eyes when he realised that his aged, crippled mother got upto everything that he had just been telling me about! 😂

Having a crisis…

This is the only way that I can describe what is happening to me. My physical health is not great ( big shock, not!) and as a result, my mental health seems to have plummeted down as well.

I was just fine yesterday. I felt really positive. I made a post on FB, saying how I refused to be guilty anymore for people turning against me and that none of it is my fault. I was strong and I was positive.

But oh no… the bitch that lives inside my head couldn’t possibly let me be. She couldn’t even let me have a night’s peace. As I lay in bed, I put on my headphones to listen to some relaxing music. Most nights it drowns out the bitch in my head. Not last night. She was whispering and howling intermittently and I started to feel physically sick. I saw faces from my past. She thinks it’s funny to me me see these faces. She knows that they trigger hellish flashbacks, which is exactly what happened last night.

Eventually the flashbacks seemed to settle and I fell asleep. Thus came the night terrors. I woke up screaming and soaked in sweat, shaking & sobbing.

I’ve been awake since then. I hate myself for being this way. I hate that this monster has control over me. This morning I was very depressed, which turned into a bout of disassociation followed by an existential crisis.

Just great. My head is spinning and I feel so weird. I hate this. I hate me. I really do.