Monday, 20 September 2010


Well I suppose I should begin to explain myself.

Since I was tiny I have struggled with anxiety. As a small child, I remember clinging to either parent in the schoolroom begging not to be left there. I just couldn't handle the fear factor and would do anything to avoid school, even from the very start, aged 4.

One of my earliest memories however is the stem of a lot of my anxieties. My father, forcing adult medication down my throat, teaching me the meaning of fear. One of the worst I can recall was having dissolvable aspirin in my mouth and it foaming out whilst I screamed in panic and disgust. I got used to being forcibly restrained and would do my very best to run through his legs and lock myself in the bathroom. In there I would climb up to the airing cupboard and take out a sleeping bag, crawl into the bath and cover myself over until the storm had passed and I could deem it safe to come out.

This act, which happened on a regular basis, instilled fear into me from a young age. I remember this taking place when I was about six years old, right through my childhood and into my teenage years. I consequently had a terrible fear of taking tablets, which made the situation all the worse as I would be forced to swallow paracetamol crushed up in milk, which made me gag and cry.

From this stemmed massive anxiety in all areas of my life. I was afraid to go to school, preferring to plead sick and remain in the safety of my bed. Aged seven or eight I developed a terrible phobia of swallowing, and couldn’t eat. Through that school year I lost a significant amount of weight. From a young age I was forced to sit at the table and eat cold, soggy vegetables until I gagged. Being constantly forced to eat such awful tasting foods gave me a fear of swallowing any food that I could possibly choke on. I could not even eat the shells of peas or the lumps in mashed potato. I would still, however be forced to sit at the table, alone, for hours on end while I ‘finished’ my food, which usually meant wrapping the remains in tissue and stuffing them into the bin, or putting them down the outside drain. Obviously my parents were unaware as to how to manage this behaviour and used force and control to try and make me eat. This only made my fears grow stronger and I believe now that I could not swallow due to the pure level of anxiety that made my muscles rigid on a daily basis.

From this stemmed an irrational fear that my ‘bad’ thoughts would make terrible things happen to my family at night. I would have a rolling dialogue in my head of thoughts, such as ‘I wish there was a fire’, of which I felt I had no control and of which I was terrified, as I believed I would bring tragedy on the family. I was therefore often too afraid to go to sleep in case my fears came true.

This story will be long and painful. The beginning is, at least, a start, a way into my past and into my world.

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