We All Have Battles – Anxiety

Pete Simpson

I guess we all think we live pretty normal lives, going day to day with the usual stresses of life rattling around in our heads. But some of us just can’t deal with the everyday agonies of work, relationship, family and friends, yet so often we find ourselves ashamed of being able to admit our inability to cope. It can be hard to come to terms with, but many of us suffer from mental health issues and we don’t even realise.

It wasn’t until I lived six months of the most turbulent moods and irrational decisions I made, that I realised I too may need to seek help for my behaviour. During those six months back in 2011 I made a decision with my boyfriend of, at the time five years to move out of our rented house to buy a property. The sale fell through and meant an extended few months stay at the in laws while the house we did buy was transformed from pile of bricks to fully finished house. I also went through a restructure at work, the job I’d loved and put so much into for two years was about to be taken away from me. Oh and I nearly lost the love of my life because we’d both been, well mostly me, let’s say, more than a little silly.

Your own space, a job, a partner are all things I took for granted, I disposed of all within the space of a summer, the reason? I felt like none of the above was good enough, as arrogant and self-absorbed of a confession that is to make. Throughout those months I focused on only the negative of everything, feeling increasingly anxious about life, even moments that should have been amazing.

During this time I found a new friend, who made me feel I wanted to be more, in fact, he fed my ego, made me feel better about myself and help fuel my week night benders in London, leading to midweek work hangovers and feeling even sorrier for myself. I can’t rule out that he was some of the reason behind my self-questioning state, an ego boost at a needed time.

As the summer went on it was great to see my friends, although not having a place of our own meant not having a home to entertain which lead to getting me more down. My mood was noticed by most friends and colleagues and no matter what I did I could not snap out of it, nothing I did was good enough for me. My standards and expectations about myself increased, to what was an unrealistic level.

As the summer became autumn and what was now, by occupational health and a good counsellor friend of mine, defined as depression, my mood hadn’t changed. It wasn’t until Daniel, the boy I’d loved for over five years, decided, this is not how he wanted to live, on a knife’s edge, not knowing whether he’d come home from work to me crying, not speaking, or actually smiling. He decided what was best, was to threaten to leave me.

Despite what stress and upset I may have caused that summer, the reality that I was about to lose everything left my heart broken. There was nothing to do but try and pull myself together, we both reflected on the six months that had past, talked about where it went wrong and I knew from his support, I wasn’t ready to lose someone who’d made me so happy for so long. He asked me to see a counsellor to deal with the way these thoughts were dealt with.

Over the coming months, we moved into our new house together, something at one point we didn’t think was ever going to happen. I focused on my career and threw myself into work, freelance projects and charity involvement. I couldn’t have done any of this without his support, in reality, my love for him saved me, and his love for me got us through those months. He helped me understand how easily it can be going from having everything, to travelling down a road to self-destruction.

Those six months and the ones that followed scared the hell out of me, and if I’m honest, I didn’t know if I’d come out the other side. I’d like to think I’ve learnt how to deal with my irrational thoughts and my anxiety since, but who knows what, if anything could trigger me again in the future, but really, I just hope I never visit that place again.

About Pete Simpson

Pete is a 20 year old (and some) guy who describes himself as a social entrepreneur. He is an LGBT charity trustee and was voted best dressed male 2004 at sixth form college. Often found with a beer, in Birmingham, London or Milton Keynes. Twitter @cardboardcakes