The thing that I have disliked most about my anxiety disorder over the years, is the amount that it makes me want to lie.
I often used to lie about how I was feeling, what I was thinking, what I was doing and what I was capable of doing.
I would lie to my family, my friends, my loved ones; anybody that I spoke to really; it always seemed far easier than telling the truth.
The person that I lied to the most was myself, and that dictated just how poor my relationships with others was going to be.
And if I couldn’t admit to myself that I didn’t want to leave the house, that I didn’t feel like attending a family party or that I was making my anxiety worse by burying my head in the sand, then I was never going to be honest and tell another person that.
I am not being hard on myself when I say that I have been a difficult family member, a flaky friend and a downright difficult person to love at points in my life.
When you feel like you are a constant disappointment to those that you love, it becomes very difficult to love and respect yourself. Unfortunately, my anxiety and the funny habits it caused me to have, made me adopt some peculiar behaviour.
From time to time I was still good company; but my inability to commit to anyone or anything meant that all of my relationships were strained.
I would not listen when people called me out on my lies; instead I would just make excuses for my behaviour and ignore them.
It took almost losing a friend that I love dearly, who inspired me and made me want better for myself, for me to address the lying.
The more honest I was, the better my relationships became, because for the first time in my life I had started being honest with myself.
I now know what to expect from a relationship and what isn’t acceptable. My family, friends and loved ones are the core surrounding my backbone; they allow me to stand tall and proud.
Most importantly I learnt that if a person is treating you badly, then they are probably treating themselves far worse. They will be good to you in time, after they have become good to themselves.
And that's one of the things I hope to make people more aware of, as I carry on writing these columns.