I'm not saying everyone who suffers from Generalised Anxiety Disorder thinks like this, I'm sure there are many GAD folk who would love a luxury cruise. This is just the way my irrepressible, inscrutable, outrageous head operates.
I've decided to start mind fasting where I cut off all outside stimuli and see what's left in my brain. I'm starting with newspapers, to cut off my addiction to world atrocities then I'm going to wean myself off my iPhone and then the computer...
My anxiety crippled me and stole a large chunk of my life. I was scared to go out and be with people but simultaneously afraid to be on my own. I never knew what would trigger a panic attack that could leave me in bed for days at a time.
The agitation and restlessness that can follow switching a smartphone off, which is punishing to witness, does look very similar to withdrawal symptoms as the individual struggles with the disconnection from 'the stream'.
As a parent of a young child myself, I have to remind myself not to panic. If my conversations over the past 18 years with Place2Be's team of counsellors and therapists have taught me one thing, it's that it's never too early or too late to start thinking about your child's mental health.
Horticultural therapy is a proven way of helping people with a range of mental health problems and it uses gardening to meet specific therapeutic or rehabilitative goals. In Gardening Leave's case, we help the men and women who serve our country, specifically the 20% of Armed Forces veterans who face a mental health issue.
Depression and other mental health issues are often talked about in terms of spotting it and treating it, and we relate experiences and how we got help etc. but seldom have I seen anything written about how depression feels to a sufferer, so that is what I hope to show you.
Many of us with eating disorders, like to personify the illness as a separate person or voice. 'Ana' for Anorexia and 'Mia' for Bulimia. Don't get me wrong; Ana is definitely not a 'friend' even though the internal voice I hear says otherwise. Personifying my eating disorder is definitely something that I found rather useful in my road to recovery.
My journey has not ended. I would like it to, desperately, but for now it continues. I will fight till the end and as strong-willed as I am to allow this illness to fester, I am strong-willed enough to rid of it. I know recovery is worth it.
I went through a phase in my journey where I was sharing my anxieties with women and men. Generally it was well received, sometimes not. It didn't bother me. But by me becoming aware of my anxieties and not taking them personally or seriously I was able to let them be as there were, and they had less power over me
When it comes to work, the term 'mental ill health' still holds certain stigmas - it is something that we just don't talk openly about and often the illness will remain completely hidden.
I have accepted the fact that I may never recover enough to feel comfortable again. Instead, I live for the times when my pain level is only a three or four out of 10. Still, I'm one of the lucky ones. Twenty-four of my anorexic friends have lost their fight. They're already dead.
I started to wonder why this didn't happen to me at other times in my life, which were also pretty high on the trauma richter scale. Like when I worked in retail, or I had a gigantic needle stuck in my hip bone, or when my boyfriend dumped me on our anniversary, or when I was forced to read out a poem about my invisible pet gerbil in the year two leavers assembly.
Back in 2013, a high-profile financier, with more accolades to his name than zeroes in his salary, "came out". Two years prior, another followed suit. What they both shared in their high-profile roles was matched by one other significant factor: they both "came out", of course, in admitting to mental health problems.
I did not believe I had PND. My perception of the illness was based largely on the front page news stories about mothers harming themselves or their children and TV dramas that showed women with PND pushing their pram into the road.
Mindfulness isn't about smelling a butterfly wing, though if you're into it be my guest, what it does deliver is a practice that may potentially give you a longer life and while you're living longer, living better.