ANXIETY

Ways to stop the transfer of anxiety to your child

On my last post i explained that i was waiting for my dissertation results – well i can now tell you i am very pleased to have received a first!!

According to Kirmayer (2019) a clinical psychologist, the main part of treating anxiety in children is teaching their parents stress tolerance. This helps to direct the parent’s anxiety, while also helping them support and scaffold their child’s development of stress tolerance.

So if your a parent and suffer from anxiety, then you should ensure that you stay calm, with a neutral demeanour when feeling anxious in front of your child. This will teach your child that being calm is the way to deal with stress. However, if you cannot control your anxiety infront of your child (there are times when i have not managed to stay calm and my girls have witnessed me have a full blown panic attack) then after the event the parent should explain to their child how they were feeling and explain why they acted the way they did.  You should then explain that there are better ways to deal with it and talk about strategies that might help. By talking about anxiety in this way with your child, you are letting them know that it is ok to feel stressed and anxious but you are teaching them that it is manageable.

It has been proven that parents’ behaviour and genetics can affect their child’s anxiety. Although a parent cannot change their genetics, there are ways parents can help their child not to get anxiety. It involves the parent modelling the behaviour they would like to see from their child, and not letting them witness any anxious behaviour.

A parent needs to look at their own worries and how they deal with it. Making changes to the way you act, can change how the child acts. You should give your child lots of encouragement and show you are interested in your child and the difficulties they are facing. For younger children reward charts can help, these reward the child for the behaviour you would like to see, for example sleeping in their own bed at night.

If you try to help your child avoid their triggers for anxiety, then although this might help in the short term, in the long term it is actually reinforcing the anxiety. It is more important to help them find techniques to manage their anxiety and to face up to it.

There is debate as to whether children should be given warnings prior to a routine change, as some need time to get used to the idea before it happens but others find this more stressful. Normally, you will know which your child would be better with.

The NHS suggests that a parent should talk to their child about how they are feeling, reassure them that they are not alone and that they understand how they are feeling. They should then support them with finding solutions to their anxieties rather than looking at how to avoid them. With a younger child, it is recommended to try and distract them from their anxiety, and with an older child relaxation techniques may be useful.

If the child’s anxiety gets no better after you have tried supporting them yourself, then seeking external support is the next step. Making an appointment with the child’s GP, who can then refer on to the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The Young Minds helpline is another point of contact, which can give you and your child advice on how to get support with their mental health. The support that is offered by CAMHS would depend on the child’s age and what is causing the anxiety. The most common support that is given for anxiety in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT involves talking to a therapist who helps the child identify patterns between what they think, feel and do in situations where they are feeling anxious. Occasionally, the counsellor may ask to do sessions with the whole family, especially if it is a family problem that has caused the anxiety. The NICE guidance states that CBT can be given one to one, or in a group, and that the child or young person should be seen between eight and twelve times.

Medication is used regularly with adults, but rarely with children. If CBT does not work with an adolescent or a young adult then a doctor may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Research shows that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the first line medication for children, and have been proven to work. There has been debate over the risks of children taking medication, but the research shows that the benefits outweigh the risks. Although, the long term effects have not been researched.

The American Psychiatric Association (2013) describes resilience as adapting well when faced with threat or tragedy. It first became a concept after the trauma of war. Practitioners in health, social care and education work together to try and promote resilience in children and young people. Parents can also help promote resilience in their children by providing their child with a balanced and positive view of the world and explaining to the children that although bad things can happen, that society and individuals can overcome them. Resilience can be built by talking, problem solving and support.

The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds (2019) explained that compulsory health education, including mental health support will be taught in schools. These lessons will include mindfulness lessons and breathing techniques which will improve a child’s resilience. He also added that the Government is launching mental health trials in 370 schools, with them contributing evidence of the best mental health supports. This will include having a designated mental health first aider.

 

Just remember that talking to your child about anxiety and showing them ways to deal with it helps. Children copy their parents behaviours so try and explain to them why you have acted in a certain way.

Talking is the best therapy.

ANXIETY

Does parental anxiety naturally transfer to children?

The next few blogs I write are going to be based around my dissertation. I have only recently completed my dissertation and I am waiting on my results. I decided to do my dissertation on the transfer of parental anxiety to a child and whether there was anything to stop this transfer. This blog will look at the transfer and I will write another about whether you can stop it.

Between 8 and 11% of children suffer from anxiety that affects their daily life and it has been found that anxiety in children has doubled in the last two years due to the pressures of modern life.

It has been proven by many researchers that anxiety runs in families. One study showed that children who had a parent with anxiety were seven times more likely to experience anxiety than other children.

It has also been proven that anxiety can originate in early life due to the rapid growth and development of the brain. Neurodevelopment psychopathology begins prior to conception. So a mother who is anxious during her pregnancy can pass this on to her baby during pregnancy and soon after birth.

The main way that anxiety transfers from a parent to a child is through a parents behaviours and coping mechanisms. This is a transfer through learned behaviour.

Children look to their parents for information on how to interpret a situation. If a parent feels anxious then the child will determine that these situations are unsafe.

An anxious mother often over involves herself in her child’s life, and this can also increase their child’s perception of threat.  If a parent then becomes over protective, the child learns that they cannot deal with the threat themselves and that they need their parents help. This can then lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of inadequacy which can lead to anxious behaviours.

A parent with anxiety is more likely to use catastrophising language which makes their child more anxious.

There have been many studies carried out looking at the genetic link and learned behaviour and it has been found that learnt behaviour is more likely to transfer anxiety from a parent to a child.

 

I can definitely see how my behaviours may have passed on anxiety to my daughter. My next blog will be about what we can do to stop this transfer.

Have you had any experience with this. Please share your stories.

ANXIETY, babies and miscarriage

Miscarriage and anxiety

So when I wrote my post about the exhausted smile I was a mess. It turns out what had got me into that mess was another miscarriage. Over Christmas I had started to feel really poorly with flu like symptoms but the last time I had felt like that I was pregnant. My husband was the one to realise my period was late (I hadn’t even noticed).

I had had my tubes tied during my c section with my son in 2017. So I shouldn’t have been able to get pregnant. After a few days of worrying I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.

I was devastated. I already had three children and did not want anymore. Plus we have australia booked in the summer and I knew it would affect me being able to go there. But on the other hand I don’t think I would have been able to have an abortion  – it’s just not in me. So I had no idea what  I was going to do.

During this worrying I got a stomach ache. I went to the toilet and I jwas bleeding. As I wiped I saw my foetus on the tissue. I didn’t know how to feel. I was relieved but devastated at the same time. Even when you do not want the baby,  you also do not want to miscarry.

The next few days were strange as I didn’t know how to feel. I spoke to my friends and family about what had happened and that helped me try to process my feelings.

A couple of months went by and I thought I was dealing with it quite well.  But then something changed, and I felt like my world had crashed down. I was struggling to do anything, struggling to think of anything happy.

I just wanted to be alone, didn’t want to do anything with my family or friends.

Being around people at work and at home was draining and i stopped going to work. I just wanted to shut myself away.

As I have felt like this before i was able to recognise that I needed help.  I went to the doctor’s and told her everything that had happened recently.

Straight away she said the miscarriage was affecting my hormones and had also affected the sertraline I was taking. It was back to how it had been when I had been pregnant with my son. The sertraline was being covered by my hormones and so wasn’t strong enough to do its job. She doubled my setraline and also referred me for a blood test and to the gynae clinic to see if my tubes were definitely tied.

The sertraline worked, within a few days I was feeling back to my normal self. My boss told me I should have come to her and told her about my miscarriage and about how I was feeling. I realised I should have done.

I am normally very good at talking about my feelings and experiences but in this instance I hadn’t been and I regretted it.

 

Update on my tubes – I had a scan where they put dye in to see if they were closed properly (it was the most uncomfortable thing ever,  I felt like I was having contractions ). They have found that my right tube is tied but my left tube has come un done.  I have no idea how this has happened and I now have to wait for my appointment in June to find out what they can do about it.

 

Final message – please talk to someone about how you are feeling as you are important!

ANXIETY

A child’s anxiety

Since I can remember my eldest daughter has suffered from anxiety. She has always worried about her families, friends and her own health, she has worried about the house burning down, everything she can worry about – she does. We use to think it was something she would grow out of. She would check we had locked the doors, check we had turned off the hob and the oven and would ask us to check too.

But then came the 22nd May 2017 – the day that changed her life and most peoples in England. She and her sister had received tickets for Ariana Grande’s concert for Christmas. As I was due to give birth on the 20th May (he came on the 15th) we had asked my sister to take the girls to the concert. They were very excited as they had watched Ariana on TV for a few years on Victorious and Sam and Cat and loved her.

After school they got ready and went to the train station with my sister. The train was cancelled and the next one they could get was going to mean they missed the support acts. But this is what happened as they couldn’t get an earlier train. I had a text off them to say they had arrived and then a photo of them enjoying the concert.

I then went to sleep as my baby was only a few days old and I was trying to sleep when he was. My husband was going to drive to Manchester to pick them up so I knew they were in safe hands.

But I was awoken by my phone ringing, my sister spoke and said “I am just letting you know we are all ok”. I said “ok” i thought it was wierd her ringing to say they were ok as i hadn’t thought they wouldn’t be. But then she said “have you not seen the news?” I hadn’t. She told me what had happened.

They had been enjoying the show and then Ariana had gone off stage and had been called back on for a final song. She came on and sang “One last time”. Hollie had needed the toilet at this point but my sister had said for her  to wait. As you all know what happened next, i won’t explain it. I know a lot of people’s lives changed for ever that day – 22 lives lost, many injured. My daughter Ella’s story is that of post traumatic stress disorder.

Ella was trampled on in the fight to escape the building – her shoe had come off and she was trying to get it back. She was very slightly injured but nothing that needed medical attention – she was very lucky in this respect. My sister did an excellent job of keeping my daughters both safe and i will be eternally grateful to her for this. When my husband arrived he saw what had happened and was focused on finding the girls and my sister and getting them to safety – which he did. When the girls arrived home they were in shock – all they could think of was praying that Ariana was ok. I don’t think at their age they had understood the scale as to what had happened and all the people involved. At that point we wanted to shelter them from it.

But the next day at school (they went in late, but it was their sports day so we knew it would distract them) everyone was talking about what had happened. The news was all about it (as obviously it would be) and so our plan to shelter them from it, came to an end and we had to answer their many many questions. This continued for the following weeks as everytime the radio was on there would be a report on it and the girls would have more questions.

At first we thought they were both dealing with it well, considering. But as time went on we realised Ella was struggling.

Over the summer she stopped eating, her anxiety over everything had got worse. She found chewing hard, as she thought she was going to choke on her food, so instead she stopped eating. This was horrendous to watch your 9 year old daughter being too scared to eat. We took her to the doctors, who confirmed to her there was nothing wrong with her physically to stop her eating but obviously her anxiety needed treatment. She had also started having panic attacks.

CAMHs thankfully got her in very quickly – this was mainly due to the Manchester Resilience Hub ensuring that anyone who had been present at Manchester on that night, that needed counselling, was seen within 2 weeks of seeing a doctor. The Manchester Resilience Hub also sent out questionnaires around this time for anyone who attended the concert to fill in, online. From the results of Ella’s questionnaire – they had phoned me to speak about her results and see in what way they could help.

CAMHs deemed her not to need the post traumatic stress counselling, but that she did need regularly counselling for her anxiety and panic attacks. She started having counselling once a week – i wasn’t allowed in with her. After a few weeks she came out and said i have told them i do not need the counselling anymore. I couldn’t do anything about this, even though i think she should have carried on.

Things got a bit better, she started eating again but she still won’t eat any meat that is chewy as it gets her into a panic. Over the last year or so the panic attacks have become more regular again. Anytime she hears a loud noise from an unknown source or their is an alarm of any kind she goes into a panic. She says she can hear screaming and thinks that their is another terrorist attack. It is horrendous as a parent to see her like this and not be able to do anything to help. A few days ago we were in Morrisons cafe and the fire alarm started going off. Ella started having a panic attack. People were running around, others were hardly moving as no one knew what to do. It turned out to be a false alarm but this did not help as Ella was in a full panic attack by this point. We have realised that we need to find her some more help and support as she seems to be getting worse rather than better.

The Manchester Resilience Hub has been brilliant, they send regular questionnaires which she answers and due to her answers they also ring us quite regularly to see what help they can offer.  The problem is that they signpost us to CAMHs who are so overrun that nothing seems to come of it.

I know many people were affected by the attack and alot are far worse off than my daughter but i wanted to share her story to show that it is not just us adults that suffer from anxiety and that although the affects on her are not physical they are still deep and affect her everyday life.

 

ANXIETY

Ups, downs and dreaming of travelling

Recently I have been very up and down. One day I am full of life and thinking about not wasting a moment of life, the next I cant be bothered doing anything and the next I want to uproot my family and go travelling.

I have never wanted to go travelling before, my sister has travelled the world for 8 years and still hasn’t seen everywhere, and I was never interested before. But over the last few months the urge has suddenly come over me. I am wondering whether this is because my anxiety is under control with my sertraline and I can imagine actually being able to enjoy travelling. I have read other peoples blogs about travelling and taking a family travelling. It looks ace. I think another reason that is making me want to go, is the monotony of everyday life:

work

cleaning

tidying

its so boring. I want to show my children the world, I want to experience different places and how people live and let my children see that too. As I work in education I think I could give my children a travelling education but I think the experiences of seeing the world would benefit them more than anything else.

But this is all a dream as there is no way we could afford it, and I think I am struggling to get my head around that.

But we are going on a travelling sort of holiday in the summer. It is my husbands cousins wedding in Byron Bay in August and to afford to go we are having long layovers. One layover in New York for 18 hours, one in Houston for 12 hours and then we fly to Sydney. We are then going to hire a car and drive up the coast to the Gold Coast. We are all very excited as it is a dream holiday. I have donated my eggs again to help pay the costs and also we are working hard and had some inheritance.

Anyway enough of that, I started with how iv been feeling. I don’t know what is causing me to have up and down days but I do feel like my anxiety is mainly under control. However last Saturday night I went out for a meal with friends to Salvatore’s (my favourite restaurant – if you haven’t been, you definatly should give it a try – the tomato garlic bread is to die for). I had eaten a lot and I was drinking barcadi and coke and the coke was sitting heavily on my stomach. I was due to meet my husband in town for drinks where he was with his work friends, who I had never met before. My mum was amazing and offered to take me into town as I do not like being in taxi’s on my own. But after she picked me up I started panicking as I was desperate for the toilet. the amount of food I had eaten and the fact I had had pasta and then drank coke was making my tummy go funny. I was sat in the car with my mum and my heart was racing, I wanted to jump out of the car into the cold air but at the same time knew I was best staying in the car so I could get to the toilet faster.  When I saw my husband I jumped out of the car and told him how I was feeling. He reassured me, and got me straight to the pub and to the toilet. I am so grateful to him as he always keeps me calm.

Thanks for reading, and if anyone has any feedback let me know. Also if you experience ups and downs or you can relate about wanting to travel as a family and maybe have any ideas on how we could finance that please comment.

ANXIETY

Sertraline

So the doctor prescribed me 50mg of Sertraline to be taken every day at the same time, I decided to take it in a morning when I have my breakfast. The first few days were hard as I was imagining all sorts of side effects, and as when I had taken tablets before for anxiety (propranolol) I was thinking it was going to make me worse. My brain was playing tricks on me again and actually I was ok. Within a couple of weeks I was feeling much better. Over the next few months I saw a massive difference in myself, I was finally able to go to social events that I had been avoiding.

Side effects

One of the side effects of Sertraline is that it numbs your feelings. I have experienced this side effect, in particular when I had my dose increased to 100mg when I was pregnant. This means that when a happy moment occurs I am still happy but can’t feel it the same as I use too. The hardest thing for me is how it stops me from crying. I have been through a lot of stressful and devastating situations in my person life over the last 18 months and although the sertraline helped me get through them it also meant I could not let out all my emotions by crying. I have always been someone who enjoys a good cry to let the emotions that are building up out but now they are just building and building. I can feel in my head that it is full and if I could just cry I could let it all out and feel so much better. That is actually the main reason I came back down to 50mg a few months ago in the hope I would be able to cry – but no such luck.

Another side effect I have found is if I’m a few hours late or I miss my sertraline (this doesn’t happen very often) but I can really tell I have missed it and so can my family. It sends me down a dark whole where I feel like I’m being swallowed by darkness, I really struggle thinking of anything good in my life (even though I know I have many good things).

 

I know a lot of people who think medication is just a placebo affect and to be honest I was probably one of those people but after being on Sertraline for 3 years now I know it definitely works for me. And although I have had these side effects I am so glad I listened to my counsellor and went back to the doctors and asked for Sertraline. My life has changed dramatically and I have been able to go on holiday with my family a few times, I have been numerous days out where I would not have been able too. This has impacted my children lives so much that they can finally be part of a family that goes out on days out rather than their mum not being able to manage it or ruining it while out with panic attacks.

So if you are reading this and considering going to the doctors – I say do it. Counselling and medication have really helped me.

This is not to say anxiety is no longer a problem as it is – it is just managed better!

Thank you for reading.

ANXIETY

“I’m dying”

So I had missed out on my friends hen do and also on over £200 on which I had already paid out and didn’t get to enjoy. I felt awful, £200 is a lot of money to waste when we do not have much money and I have a family to provide for. We had already booked our hotels for the wedding, and I was determined to be able to make her wedding. It was in Essex and the church was quite along way from the venue so we had two different hotels booked, both premier inns but one near the church for the night before and one for near the venue for after the wedding.

The day we had to travel to Essex I was working during the day and the girls were at school and we were to set off once we had finished. I tried not to think about the journey during work, but I didn’t dare eat as I was scared of needing the toilet while in the car. I had taken diarrhoea tablets (as I now took with me everywhere and took before I went anywhere). My husband was meant to drive but he had not managed to sleep the night before and was shattered. So I had to drive, I took toilet roll and bin bags in the car with me so if I needed the toilet I could go in the car if the worst came to it. I managed really well driving, listened to music to keep me calm and played I spy and Who am I? with the girls. As we were driving down, our friends who had set off earlier in the day had rang to say that the M25 was closed due to an accident and that the traffic was not moving. This got me panicked. So we decided to stop at a services for me to go to the toilet and I got a subway as I had not eaten all day. We got back in the car but I had asked my husband to drive as I had been working all day and then driving for five hours by this point so I was tired, hungry and anxious. I only managed to eat a couple of bites of my sandwich as I felt sick with my anxiousness. The next three hours were so long, we kept getting stuck in traffic that was not moving, I was desperately trying to keep myself calm by playing games with the girls, singing to the music, opening the window to cool myself down. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was nearly midnight and so we unpacked the car and all climbed into bed. We were all sharing a room, and the girls and my husband fell asleep pretty quickly. I tried to eat a couple of biscuits as I knew I hadn’t eaten all day but I really had to force them down.

That night was probably the worst of my life – I did not sleep at all but instead spent all night panicking. I don’t even know what I was panicking over as I was now safe in a hotel room with our own toilet but I just could not calm myself down. I didn’t want to wake my husband as I knew he had not slept the night before. I just lay there shaking, my heart beating so fast and worries going over and over in my head. I remember my husband hugging me at one point in his sleep and he suddenly woke up and said why are you shaking so much and told me to slow my breathing down. But I could not.

In the morning we went into the pub next door for our breakfast (which was included with the room). I knew I needed a lot of food to get my strength up after not eating the day before and being awake all night panicking. I put lots of food on my plate and went and sat down to eat, but the first mouthful had me running to the toilet to be sick. I then told my husband I did not feel well and I left them to go back to the hotel room. Walking to the room, I had to hold on to the wall as I was shaking and struggling to stay upright. When I got back to the room I sat on the toilet for a while, shaking so much. My breathing was erratic and my heart was beating so fast. I thought I was dying. By the time the girls and my husband came back to the room I was a complete mess. I was screaming at them to get me help, I told them I was dying. My husband had to try and calm me but also calm the girls down (they were only 7 and 5 and their mum was telling them she was dying).

It got so bad that in the end my husband phoned 111. But they were taking so long to get back to him and I was just getting worse that he ended up phoning 999. An ambulance turned up not long after and they did my obs. They asked me to control my breathing but I couldn’t. They said they thought it was a panic attack but something in my obs was worrying them and so they wanted to take me in to the hospital. They had to call for an ambulance as the one that had attended had been a car and they couldn’t take me in that.

My husband said he would get the girls ready and pack up the hotel room and then come to the hospital. The paramedics had to decide which hospital to take me too as there was a few all within the same distance of the hotel. They decided on Harlow.

ANXIETY

Continuing Anxiety

For the next year things were still the same. I would worry about going to the toilet and I would get myself worked up before going anywhere, but I was trying to use the tools I learnt from CBT and make sure I still went to different events. I managed to go to the Grand National – although I did have a bit of a panic when getting on the train. I had to sit near the toilet, I made sure I had taken diarrhoea tablets before and I took a bottle of water with me. My husband kept talking to me to keep me calm. The first train was only a short journey and then we had to get off and wait at the next station. There was so many people waiting for the train, I felt a bit panicked at how many people were getting on. When we got on there was no seats left, and we were stood in the doorway with lots of other people. I felt all hot and flustered. I started shaking and I knew I could not stay on. I quickly pulled my husband off the train. He asked if I was ok and I said I could not manage the journey with all those people and not being able to get to the toilet. Anyway, we managed to get on the next train (which was 45mins later) and I managed the day as I knew where all the toilets were and I used them regularly.

We also went on family days out, and I managed to go on them but didn’t always manage all of the activities. On a trip to the farm there was a train ride (and when I say train ride, it was like a tiny train that was just 5 mins to a little playground and then 5 mins there and 5 mins back) I said yes il come on it. But as I sat on the train waiting for it to start I was panicking about the fact I wouldn’t be able to get to the toilet, and I got off the train. My children still got to go on with my husband but I missed out on their enjoyment. Now writing this, I can’t believe I could not manage that very short train trip but my anxiety was so much worse then than it is now. Another time we took the girls on a steam train ride, again it was only short, probably about 10/15 mins each way. I did get on this, but as we set off I started panicking. My husband went to look for a toilet and he did find one but it was an old one that was not in use or hooked up to anything. But I was so panicky by this point, so I went and sat on the toilet to make myself feel better. I didn’t actually use the toilet but it made me feel more at ease knowing I could use it if I needed. But again even though I was technically with my family on the train, I had actually missed being with them.

These were just some of the events I can remember where my anxiety was a major problem but there was a lot more of them.

By the following year one of my friends announced her engagement and the wedding was booked for a couple of months later. Her hen party was organised for a weekend down in London. I so wanted to go, she had been one of my best friends since high school. So I paid for the hen do as I really wanted to be there to celebrate but I knew my anxiety would be an issue. I did my research before and found all the toilets on the train, I found all the toilets for everywhere we would be going. I did feel ok for the few nights and days before. But the night before the hen do I was led in bed panicking. This was my second proper panic attack. My husband managed to calm me after a long time of panicking and he said I wasn’t going on the hen do.

I missed out on an amazing weekend that all my friends had celebrating the last few weeks of my friend being unmarried.

ANXIETY

R and R

A few weeks later my husband was returning from Afghan for R and R. He would arrive at Brize Norton early in the morning and so I had to set off in the middle of the night to drive down to pick him up. During the journey (I was following a Satnav as I did not know the way) my stomach flipped (IBS again) and I needed to find a toilet quickly. The Satnav had taken me off the motorway and I was on A roads so I went off track to try to find a toilet. With it being 5am ish I knew there would be no pubs open, eventually I found a service station – finally a toilet. But the toilet was out of order. The panic set in. I started shaking and getting a hot sweat. I tried to calm myself and tried to find another toilet. I did find one in the end and I took Imodium again.

You might be thinking how has this got anything to do with anxiety but this is how it all started. This was now two events where I had needed the toilet deperately and could not find a toilet.

My husband had planned surprises for me and the girls while he was back for his R and R, which was about 10 days. One night he had told me to get dressed up and he had a surprise for me. I felt nervous not knowing where I was going and whether there was a toilet there. I kept going to the toilet at his mums house while I waited. (This time it was my nerves making me need the toilet, not the IBS).
A limo turned up to pick us up. I wanted to feel happy and excited but instead all I felt was anxiety and dread. But I knew my husband had planned this for ages and he said we were picking a few friends up and my sister and her boyfriend. Every pick up we did I would use the toilet, i started shaking and having hot sweats. The others were trying to enjoy themselves but I could tell they were worried about me. I had the window open and I was drinking water to try to calm me down. But the anxiety was rising, I had to ask the limo driver to stop at Mcdonalds toilet, my husband went and bought me some Imodium, i made them stop at Sainsburys. I did not enjoy it one bit and I ruined it for the others. But at that point all I could think of was my own anxiety and not everyone elses feelings. We eventually arrived at an Indian Restaurant for our meal, but I could not eat anything but atleast I knew there was a toilet to use all the time.
Before the meal we had a photo infront of the limo, that photo shows me looking happy (not how i was feeling at all) this is why we should not take smiles at face value.

ANXIETY

The start of my Anxiety – IBS

In 2011 my husband was in Afghanistan, my girls and me were living with my parents while he was away. The girls were invited to their uncle and aunties for a few days and so me and my friend decided to have a trip to Thorpe Park. We had a brilliant time – going on rides, staying in a hotel, meeting up with another friend (It was the first time I had let myself spend a couple of days being me rather than just being a mum).
On the last day as we were waiting in a carpark to pick up my girls to come home my tummy suddenly flipped and I needed to go to the toilet right then (I could not wait). We had no idea where the nearest toilet was as we did not know the area. I drove quickly (but safely) and found a pub toilet.

I had suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) for years but this was the first proper time it had happened and I did not know where there was a toilet. IBS can present itself in many ways, but mine was always the same. Sudden, sharp stabbing pains in my tummy and the instant need for a poo. I would have to run to the toilet (there was no waiting as it was coming there and then). Often people say to me ‘Oooh iv needed a poo all day’ – I have no idea what that is like, how can they have needed it but not have had to go? Its because they are lucky and do not have IBS.

So anyway back to my story, I had now been to the toilet and was back in the car just arriving back at the carpark when it happened again. At least this time I knew where the pub toilet was so I drove back again. This time we recieved a call from the girls uncle to say they were in the carpark. I started paniking that I needed to hurry and get back to them (this was not a proper panic – just a little one, but why I had panicked i do not know as they would have just waited). So back we went, we picked them up and started the long drive home down the M25 and the M6. As I was driving it would suddenly happen again – I needed the toilet. That journey home is a bit of a blur, I remember not feeling with it, all I could focus on was getting to the next toilet. We stopped at every service station and I bought some Imodium to try to stop me from going.

This was just the start to my problems!!