The very word sent shivers right down my spine and made all the tiny little hairs on my body stand on edge. It was a word I’d heard often from my mum, my partner, my friends, my work. Outside. “Have you been outside?”, “Why don’t you come outside and I can meet you.” Where the indoors was safe, warm and led to absolutely no confrontation whatsoever, the outdoors was a completely different story.
Even the thought of going outdoors would send me in to full blown panic attacks which always resulted in me being back in my bed. Buy why? Why was the outdoors so scary for me? Why did I tremble at the idea of meeting friends, family or going to work? Honestly. I have no answer. I mean it obviously developed over months, but for me it happens more like this one day I could leave the flat then one day I couldn’t leave at all.
This was anxiety. The sobbing, screaming, shaking, paranoia filled reality of anxiety. It tore me apart on a daily basis while the rest of me was fighting to patch it all back up and making me so exhausted. The outdoors was just far too tiring for me. Seeing other people, feeling like I am being followed, hiding in bus stops to avoid crowds. It was all just too much.
The debilitating and scary illness that for a while can take over your entire life and control your actions. Even now I find myself shaking at the thought of confrontation and crying at silly things like being in a busy supermarket. However, I refuse to let it control my life again. I will stare anxiety in the face and yell “NO! You are not in control of my life.” Because I CAN go outside. People aren’t there to fill me with fear, they are here to live their lives. Anxiety no longer controls me and for that I am proud. I got over the hardest time of my entire life and the very first step…was going outside.
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