After I go to these great measures to make sure no germs or bacteria invade my spawns’ systems I sit back and question; “was that a bit overboard”?; “what if I’m making their immune system weak by not allowing their bodies to fight off germs while their young and healthy”? And then I think of children dying from diseases easily prevented with a protocol of hand washing; and reach for the hand soap yet again…
When my son was invited toa birthday party at a water park the following month all my Fowleri fears came flooding back (excuse the pun). I had images of my son playing in the water then picking his nose (as 4 year olds do); getting a stream of water shot in his face a nd right up his sinus passage. I refused to let him go to the party.
Then, I had a realisation. That I was letting my unfounded fears effect my child, and the quality of his childhood. Never did I imagine that my anxiety would impede on my child’s innocence. Why should he suffer and miss out because Im a little effed up in the head? He shouldn’t. I had to forget about my fears and let my 4 year old be a 4 year old (a dirty, disgusting, germy little 4 year old).
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I felt tense every minute of the day, my shoulders and chest ached, and my heart raced most of the time. My chest burnt from severe acid reflux and I would break out in welts/hives along my arms. At night I would lie awake convinced I would not wake to see the morning, unable to sleep as negative thoughts filled my head and my muscles remained stiff and sore. I had progressed to not only being scared of dying from a heart attack, but also fatal illness, particularly meningococcal/meningitis; as cases of people dying from the virus flooded the news on a regular basis. Eventually, my negative thoughts coupled with the constant chest pain and palpitations resulted in me being of the belief that I too was going to die from a massive cardiac arrest, or had the early symptoms of meningococcal; (somatoform disorder) and send me into full blown panic attacks. My heart rate would increase even more and I would hyperventatate, overcompensating as I thought I was not breathing. Throughout these attacks all I could do was proclaim “Im having a heart attack, Oh my god! Call an ambulance”, to which my partner would respond; if you were having a heart attack you would be dead by now” and “No your not your just being silly”. While these responses from my loved one were accurate, it only served to make me become defensive and even more agitated at his perceived insensitivity to my ‘plight’.
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As stated managing anxiety can be difficult but the anxiety sufferer, with support and knowledge can eliminate or reduce symptoms and fears. Seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist or mental health worker is a good starting point and will determine what specific anxiety you may suffer from and how you may deal with it. Support groups are also available in most areas and can introduce you to others that know what you are experiencing and therefore empathise with your condition. Here you may also learn of how anxiety can vary greatly in its manifestations in each individual. While one person may suffer from general anxiety, another may suffer from phobias, and another post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); each with its own particular symptoms, and as with most things, as everyone is different, no one PTSD sufferer, for example, will experience the same symptoms either.
As well as talking to a professional and other sufferers of anxiety, it is also useful to talk openly and honestly to someone close to you such as your partner, parent or friend.
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