Oh boy… what a fun thing to live with! I feel like I’ve had anxiety on and off for a long time. For the most part it has been manageable and I’ve been ok. Usually for me, talking about what is making me anxious is really helpful and things settle down. Every now and again tho, it becomes a much bigger thing, and much harder to work around.

I have never been great with change – and while I know a lot of people aren’t, I really struggle with it. The first big change in my life that I can remember was moving from Germany to Australia. It was the first – and probably only time I have seen my dad cry. I was 10 (nearly 11) years old and saying good bye to my grandparents at the train station, en route to the airport, was super hard. That was 37 years ago.

We lived with my other grandparents for the first few months here in Australia, and settled into the small town they lived in. We stayed for a year and then came to Brisbane. Another big change… new house, new school, new friends. Another 12 months later we did it again, and then another new school the year after that going into high school. Its really hard being the new kid all the time. I always felt like an outsider and never settled with one group of friends, or had a best friend.

Getting married and having my kids helped a whole lot, you kind of have to deal with stuff when you’re responsible for other people, and I also had Claytie there to keep me steady whenever I needed. Every new job I have ever had, has involved a whole lot of gut churning and tears for weeks, before I have felt comfortable enough to relax into being myself. I’ve stayed in situations much longer than I should have, because leaving caused such huge anxiety for me.

It’s a funny feeling. Rationally you know that it will be ok – mostly even really good for you. But the irrational side catastrophises everything and makes you feel sick. Every situation I go into has been analysed from front to back and inside out, with contingencies planned for just about everything. As I’m going through all of this stuff in my head I know it’s silly, but I can’t help it. Since Claytie died, my anxiety has been next level. My brain no longer has an off switch and I worry about absolutely every single thing. The boys have been really good and understanding, but I can see that they get frustrated with me… just like Claytie often did. It’s hard understanding something if you have never experienced it, and it’s hard to explain how it feels.

This weeks anxiety is raging about work. I have been super happy in my role for the last 12 months. The people I am working with have been amazing. It’s a small team in a small office away from the crowd. I have felt safe, included and accepted. It’s been a god send, and without it I’m not sure how I would have coped being back at work without Claytie to support me. But it seems this security is coming to an end. My boss – who I have a tenuous relationship with, has decided that it’s someone else turn in this role. I have not been told what I will be doing instead, or when the change will happen… both issues that are not very helpful with this level of anxiety. I’m incredibly nervous that I will be put into the one role in the department that I absolutely don’t want to do…Guess the contingency planning needs to start again. Some new nexts are really really hard!

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