A letter from Mr Anxiety

By Caitriona McMahon

I write to you today ahead of my intended stay with you. Prior to my arrival I wanted to share a couple of things that have been troubling me in the hope that it will make my stay with you more beneficial.

You may have heard others say previously that I only visit them specifically at times of great anticipation about events that lay ahead. Perhaps moments before a stage performance or a match.

This however is untrue, misleading and contributing to millions of people unknowingly suffering in silence.

The World Health Organisation have calculated that I have visited 264 million people which is a 14.9% increase from 2005.

I visit for numerous reasons, including at times of excessive prolonged stress, low mood, poor self esteem, as a result of bullying or even if a person is experiencing depression or many other illnesses.

This list is not final and I can come to visit or stay for many, many reasons and for any duration of time.

The reason I schedule my visits is to alert the person I’m staying with to something that is wrong and to something within themselves needing specific attention immediately.

Sometimes I try to tell people to slow down or ask for help but due to their unawareness of what I look like or feel like, they ignore me and speed up!

They don’t seem to notice the subtle signs I give, leaving me with no other choice but to give larger signs that will demand attention.

I am known by many as a black cloud that restricts people and ruins their lives. I never want to ruin lives or for my stay to be dreaded.

I feel misunderstood which pains me greatly. I understand that at the beginning it can be hard to get to know me I wish people understood that I am here to protect them.

A couple of things you need to know:

1. I can visit anyone of any age at any time.
2. My arrival will never look the same. Every person I stay with is different and will
experience different things.
3. If I remain unnoticed I will demand your attention in another more drastic way.

As I realise I am not the easiest person to live with I have some tips on how to prepare for my arrival and how to cope with my stay so we get to know each other a little better from the start.

Prior to arrival one idea is to gather items that soothe you into one container. It can be books, numbers for friends or people you can talk to, music, lists of songs, old pictures it can be anything that helps put you at ease.

By having these items ready they can be your go to when you need a welcome time out from me.

Once I’ve arrived I ask you to firstly and most importantly, notice my existence, how I make you feel and think.

It’s never easy sharing your living space with someone else and so it’s important to have someone you can vent to.

Having a professional that can interpret the signals I’m giving you can be life changing.

During my visit I promise you that you will discover aspects of yourself that you never knew existed, you will discover a strength you never knew you had and finally you will discover the real resilient you.

Kindest regards,

Mr Anxiety

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