Kimberley, June 26, 2019

Anxiety is not just being 'a little bit nervous'

Anxiety is a thing that everybody experiences to different extents, but people need to realise that when anxiety dictates your every move and action, that it’s not just being a “little bit nervous”. It’s an exhausting battle fighting with your mind every day and it doesn’t always feel like you’re winning.

I have always been a “worrier” as people call it, ever since I was a child. It wasn’t until I went to university that my anxiety started to dictate my whole life and strip away my independence. I struggled for so long, staying silent because I thought people would think less of me, especially because I was studying Mental Health Nursing at the time. I no longer felt able to cope with the overwhelming feelings I experienced every single minute of my life. I stepped off my course in third year, and yes, I was so close to finishing, but my anxiety was also so close to beating me.

The stigma associated with mental illness needs to stop. When my doctor told me that I had anxiety and obsessive-compulsive thoughts, I thought people would think less of me. Why is this? I’m still the same person I’ve always been, even if I don’t feel like it. It’s hard to face something that you struggle so much with and have someone say “oh, OCD, doesn’t that just mean you like to clean?” 

How I wish it was that simple. I have constant intrusive thoughts that feel impossible to ignore, I need constant reassurance to complete my day; my anxiety convinces me that those around me don’t love me, my anxiety convinces me that there’s nothing I can love about my body, it convinces me that anything that I do will never be good enough, constant doubts in my mind that never seem to fade. I have missed out on so much because of this but I am determined to beat it, I will no longer stay silent.

This is a running battle that I am working on fixing. I am having some good days. I am doing some things that I used to love doing. I am slowly getting my independence back. It will be a long journey but one that I want to take, I know it’s worth it.  This is a reminder to always be kind to those around you, you never know what someone is going through. I know there are others out there like me, I want to inspire those people to speak out about the struggles that they face. Our voices are louder together.

Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.