A year ago I was featured on Marks Daily Apple as a Primal Blueprint Success Story and I listed my no.1 benefit as, “I no longer suffer with anxiety, or it’s tricky cousin, social anxiety.” At the time I wholeheartedly believed that. But I have come to know myself better in the last year, and thus have come to understand better what anxiety actually means for me.

At the time of writing I was struck by how I was finally able to live without constant in-your-face anxiety. I once read a fantastic description of living with anxiety as dealing with the fear you experience in the seconds between tripping over a loose paving stone and actually crashing to the ground but All The Time. And that’s how it felt. 

Here’s a by no means exhaustive list of what could instantly trigger a pounding heartbeat, buckled knees, nausea, sudden tears, finding myself unable to speak or move, or the desire to run away or drop to my knees with my eyes and ears covered:
A passing motorbike, a child crying, someone shouting, crossing the road, answering the phone, leaving the house, the possibility of an argument, being told off, the noise of a vacuum cleaner, speaking when there were more than about four people in the room, saying/messaging/posting the wrong thing or being misunderstood, getting lost, being late, changed plans, someone else being late, house alarms, other people being drunk and unpredictable, cars going too fast, sirens…

And the worst thing is, while any one of these incidents could trigger flight or fight instincts which might last upwards of a minute, a combination or succession would leave me wired for much longer, meaning I might not recover from something as simple as a minor argument for days. That means living in constant fear even while you go about your daily life desperately pretending everything is fine, because to admit the level of stress you are under would frighten your family, confuse your friends and be just plain irrelevant to co-workers and passers by. 
When I say that I no longer suffer from anxiety I mean that I am no longer troubled by an inappropriate adrenaline response that constantly exhausts and overwhelms. I put this down to a diet devoid of sugar and gluten and rich in good clean fats alongside organic meat and vegetables; and a few carefully chosen supplements. It’s not cheap, but it’s essential for my mental health. 

But anxiety is sneaky. It has a character all of its own. Whispering, confiding, hiding and then waving at you across a crowded room, poking you as you settle down to sleep. It pretends to give you sage advice , “here, wear this dress, it suits you really well!” and then, as you leave the house, “oh gosh, I didn’t realise you were actually wearing it out tonight! How brave!” It cajoles, “yes, you are a good and worthy person, isn’t it strange how nobody likes you!” And it play acts, like a cat, “Yikes! What the hell is that! Oh no, probably nothing, I’m sure it’ll be ok. Don’t close both eyes though, just in case.”

Anxiety tells you that the friends who tell you they love you are probably lying. Anxiety reminds you daily that if you are in a car accident today your children might not have their door key to get in or that they won’t know to let the dog out or what to feed themselves. Anxiety questions if today is the day you think it is, and might you have accidentally left an hour late this morning because there’s different people on the streets than normal and less traffic at the lights. Anxiety wonders if the child crying next door just didn’t get what they want or is being horribly mistreated. Anxiety whispers in your ear that it’s all very well and good that you are feeling more confident these days but that maybe there was a good reason for feeling so unworthy before and that everyone still secretly wishes you’d just piss off. 

I’d really like to tell anxiety to do one. But maybe anxiety is necessary. Maybe it’s the backbone that holds me up, keeps me from over confidence, stops me behaving like an exuberant puppy, licking strangers and leaving puddles on expensive rugs. I really don’t know. I do know that chronic anxiety is common for those of us on the spectrum and I also know that it’s not an exclusive club. So… Talk to me people. What are your thoughts?


6 thoughts on “Anxiety. 

  1. Ok. I never put anxiety issues with my paranoia about people not really liking me. Thanks for that. My experience with anxiety has me break out in a rash. A very painful rash in a very awkward and private area. Sometimes just thinking about a situation that makes me anxious will make the rash come.
    I can’t express so how much I appreciate your frankness about your struggles. I feel much less alone. Almost…normal.
    Blessings, Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen, I am so glad this was helpful. Paranoia really is horrendous, and you obviously get a double whammy too if neither issue is something you can talk about. I’m finding that the online autistic community is, paradoxically, making me feel closer to normal than I ever did. Are you on Twitter?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think everyone experiences anxiety differently. It’s something that we struggle with, learn about, and work towards overcoming. But for each of us it’s different… What works for one may not work for the next person.
    Despite being a blogger, I’m often left wanting for words and not able to fully say what I want. how you described things is so accurate… Such as thinking it is a different time of day due to outside circumstances being a bit off from regular. I’ve often done this.
    For me, I think… Anxiety came when I was overwhelmed with things around me, it then became my escape from those same things… When sensory overload would come, my anxiety got me so focused on my own body that I couldn’t even take in the world around me. Anxiety and depression kept me locked away in my own home for years. Until I decided to finally fight it back.
    Anxiety started as a demon, became my comforting friend, but now I’m ready to be rid of it. I want my life back.
    I don’t think it’s your backbone at all. I think maybe the thought of finally letting go of anxiety for good also brings a new fear… What will life be like without it? The unknown. We’ve become so familiar with our anxiety that letting it loose, deep down, terrifies us. That’s when you question if it is there for a reason… It isn’t. Look at all the people in the world that function fine without it.
    We can too. Never give up. Learn to live without it. You sound so close. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • You obviously found your words when you wrote this 🙂 I often lose mine too, very frustrating!
      Hopefully we can both find a way to let anxiety loose soon. Like an unwanted “friend!” Wave goodbye and wish it well… xx

      Liked by 2 people

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