Outer confidence; inner anxiety
Natasha Desborough is funny. VERY funny. And strong and confident, when you meet her.
A former presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music and XFM, she is the author of the teen fiction books Weirdos vs. Quimboids and its follow-up, Weirdos vs. Bumskulls.
Here, she tells Headcase about her struggles with her inner anxiety:
I had a 12 year career as a radio presenter doing a job that I loved.
But during every show, anxietywas never far away.
I don’t mean the usual butterflies-in-the-stomach sensation that a performer gets before meeting her audience.
I’m talking about an all-encompassing panic that could render me powerless.
It was never far away, bubbling under my skin, threatening to erupt at any moment. I’d been experiencing panic attacks since my parents divorced when I was sixteen and I would pray that I wouldn’t have one live on-air.
After the traumatic birth of my first son I also began to suffer from ‘health anxiety’.
Like the panic attacks, it’s still on-going.
If I’m over stressed or tired (which being a parent and an author is my constant state of mind!), I start scanning my body for signs of a terminal illness.
Then I convince myself that I’ve got whichever condition I’ve diagnosed myself with and I obsess about it. It hijacks my thoughts and leaves me feeling utterly exhausted.
When one of my dearest friends fell ill, my anxiety almost prevented me from visiting her at The Royal Marsden Hospital.
But I’m glad I faced up to my fear as it was the last time I saw her before she died.
Her illness was real and unkind. I saw it with my own eyes.
But I realise now that just because my ‘illness’ is in my mind, it doesn’t make it any less ‘real’.
I have never taken anti-depressants for my anxiety disorders (although I was offered diazepam over the phone by my GP without being properly assessed, which wasn’t great . . . ) because I’m too much of a control freak to take them.
I want to know why I feel like I do and I want to learn how to stop feeling that way. I’ve had counselling over the years and might still be a work in progress but I’m getting there.
Talking about it, and writing about it, definitely helps a lot.