It's All In Your Head

You call in sick for work. 'I've got the flu, I won't be in today', they sigh at the inconvenience but understand because they've had the flu and know how you feel. You have to take a week off work. 'I've done my back in and I can hardly move', they moan about you being off for a lengthy time but tell you to rest up because they know how awful it is when you're in too much pain to move. You've broken a bone? Take time and rest. You have a virus or a stomach bug? Make sure you're feeling 100% before you come back. You feel under the weather? Get well soon.

You call in sick for work. But you don't know what to say. You don't know how to say. How to tell them you just can't today. You can't face the world. You can't get out of bed. You can't shower, get dressed, open the curtains or eat breakfast. You can't stop the whirling thoughts of 'what if' in your head. You can't halt the fluttery tingles you feel inside your chest cavity. You can't breathe regularly. You can't neaten your hair, put on your makeup and smile. You simply can't. But how do you say it?

I've recently came across a fabulous post written by Just Cut The Bullshit called 'Anxiety Is An Invalid Excuse' and It really peaked my interests. It really spoke to me, like it literally took the words out my mouth, but worded them better than I ever could. Anxiety is an invalid excuse. It so is! You can't phone work and say 'I'm too anxious today' without them thinking your ridiculous, and to just snap out of it. To just get on with it. No one really understands the feeling of dread you experience just picturing leaving the house, unless you've felt it yourself. And unfortunately (well not unfortunately but you know what I mean) not many people have experienced it, or will admit to experiencing it.

At some point, I will have to return to working life and get a new job. The thought alone terrifies me. Interviews, forms, applications, discussing 'health history'. The thought of telling them that I'm on medication and go to therapy makes me feel sick to my stomach. It will give me a stigma before they even get to know me. The mad girl on medication. The crazy one who needs tablets to function normally. The psycho who needs to have a therapist to stay sane. They're already picturing some Hannibal Lecter type creature who makes me lie down on a couch and tell them 'how does that make me feel'. They're thinking of me consuming endless amounts of unpronounceable drugs before my morning coffee. It doesn't matter what qualifications, skills and experiences I have, I'm already labelled.

Someone said to me 'it's all in your head though', well duh? So is a migraine but that develops physical symptoms such as sickness, blurred vision and lightheadedness. So why is it so hard to believe that something 'in my head' can cause me to be physically ill? Physically unable to complete a normal daily task? Causes me to have sweaty palms, heart palpitations, a tight heavy chest filled with butterflies and blurry eyes? Because people can't feel what I'm feeling, can't see anything wrong, they automatically assume I'm lying. I'm making it up. Even when I explain I have an actual diagnosis, an actual medical condition they then assume I'm a psychopath and might flick a switch at any point and stab anyone in my path.

And the worst part of it all is, even with my little piece of paper that officially states I have that diagnosis, there's always people who think I'm just joining the trend. Hopping on the mental bandwagon because 'I have more issues than vogue'. Be right back guys, just buying myself a fabulous 'stressed, depressed but well dressed' top. So above all else, I'm battling feeling this way along with trying to convince everyone else that what I'm feeling I cannot control and didn't choose. That the way I act is not due to me being a bitch, or being in a bad mood it's down to worrying to the point where I need to escape but fighting the urge to run. Explaining to people that I'm exhausted but never really resting because I'm always worrying about something. 'What's worrying you?' I hear you ask. Nothing. And everything. I don't have a specific thing that I focus on. It's the world. Anything just sets me into the state of panic where I cannot come down. It can be not finding a parking space to Aria being unsettled.

It's so difficult to forever be at war with yourself that even when you do finally relax you feel guilty. That you should be doing something. Then the worry hits and you panic because in 5 months you might have a bill to pay that you might not afford because something might happen to change the way things are. And it's those almighty might's that get you. The what if's that squeeze the air from your chest and sew up your throat so you can't get enough air in or out. The hardest thing to cope with is convincing yourself to believe that this is normal. That this is common. That there are millions of people out there feeling and suffering the same way as you. Convincing yourself every day, you're not insane. You're not lying. You're not imagining. You're completely right. You know you. You know when you're not ok. And it's ok to be not ok. It's not all in your head.



  1. Anxiety is the thief of joy, I have horrendous anxiety and it utterly consumes me some days. There's no explanation why I wake up with a horrible feeling in my stomach or why I constantly worry that my children will stop breathing during the night or why I just can't go to a social situation without analysing every little detail. Unless you've been through it you don't understand.


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