This is me:
I’m 45 years old, I've been happily married for 12 years and I have a 10 year old son.
On the outside, I have the picture-perfect life.
My husband and I don’t want for much; we’re by no means wealthy but we both earn well, we go abroad about twice a year and we socialise and go out often.
I work as an EA to the CEO of a FTSE top 250 company. I’m super organised, I get things done, I don’t suffer fools gladly and I say it as it is. I‘m South African after all!!
But, yes, I think it’s true that I’m really good at what I do and I love my job. I don’t mind saying that.
My friends describe me as a real go-getter – a doer – somebody you can rely on and who gets up and gets things done.
Confident. Happy. Good marriage.
This is the me you don't see:
I am always anxious.
Did I do that the right way? Why are they talking about me? Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Now what do I do – what if they don’t like me?
And my husband; why is he irritating me so much?
I really don’t think I love him – I don’t know if I have ever loved anybody.
Marriage is extremely hard when you don’t love yourself or understand what is going on.
I am a hard and horrible Mum, always shouting at my son.
And I hate, hate the house being disorganised and a mess. I have to clean, clean all the time. I think during the day, and worry at night.
I worry about everything and anything.
I am scared. Scared of getting up. Scared of showering.
And the depression. Feeling like tomorrow I might be lucky and die. I sometimes envy people who have cancer; I think they are lucky, because they might die.
Life – living - is hard.
Nobody sees this side of me – I have taught myself so many coping techniques that I’ve learnt to live like this.
Isn’t this normal?
So every day, in everything I do, I pretend.
I pretend to cope. I pretend I know what I’m doing and I love what I am doing. It has become second nature – I just get on with things.
Medication helps. Exercise is a life-saver and research and talking about anxiety over the last 16 years has helped a lot too.
Sharing my story on Headcase has helped me – and I hope will help a lot of other people too.