Guest Post: Anxiety: Panic Attacks, IBS & PTSD

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


Whenever I would think of ‘broken families’ the first thing that would come to mind was Jacqueline Wilson stories and the poor little girl carrying her suitcase from house to house to see Mum and Dad. I loved reading all of these stories but coming from a happy family with my parents still happily married I could never relate. 

My Dad left my Mum when I was 20 years old. It came as a shock to us all, especially my Mum. Luckily, I was living at home at the time and therefore I took it upon myself to be the strong one and look after my Mum and my older Brother. I knuckled down and carried on with everything as though nothing had happened whereas in reality I wanted to break down every single time I saw my Mum in tears. People would often say to me that it was better that it had happened now, so I could understand being an adult myself and I still had a wonderful childhood. But understanding didn’t make it any easier that my Dad wasn’t around anymore and every childhood memory became tainted with what my Dad had done to our family. I often felt like because I was an adult myself I had no right to get upset over it. 

One thing that always has an effect on my anxiety is drastic change and a huge change to my support system did not do me any favours. My anxiety effects me both physically and mentally and my anxiety related IBS meant I sometimes didn’t want to leave my house in the fear that I might shit myself in public (a lot of people never mention the god awful stomach when it comes to anxiety, but trust me you’re not alone). I was scared of bumping into my Dad on the street. I was scared of everyone I loved leaving me too. This anxiety tied in with PTSD meant that my trust issues took over my life and I struggled with my day to day life. I was so against admitting something was wrong and I just wanted to keep up the act that I was fine that I just ended up hurting myself more. 

Two years later, my mental health is still a huge barrier in my day to day life. There’s been some really dark times where I’ve blamed myself for my Dad leaving, there’s been panic attacks in the middle of busy shopping centres and there’s been crying down the phone to my ex boyfriend at 3am because I’ve slipped and self harmed again. There’s been Doctors persistently telling me it’s “situational” and “it’s just grieving sweetie” and I’ve had to battle through them to get what I need. However, my Mum is now my best friend and we chat every single day and I’m so thankful I have such a close relationship with her now. Despite this, every day is an uphill battle and I struggle with trusting anyone as I fear they’ll leave me in the same way my Dad did. But I’m getting there. I surround myself with wonderful people and I do try to let people in and I try not just shrug off what happened and say “I’m totally fine with it”, because I’m totally not and as hard as it is to admit - I don’t think I ever will be. Oh, and I’ve not shit myself in public (yet).

Written by Julia Esgate Christmas
 @radiogasm

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