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FIRST PERSON: How Anxiety Can Take Control

“Insomnia is a horrible thing, it is a fixed feeling that feels like it will last forever. If insomnia has gripped you throughout the night, it affects daytime behaviour, like eating, and can feed itself, feed the anxiety, and therefore leads inevitably to more and more sleepless nights.

“Feelings and thoughts manifest in the hours after midnight in an entirely different way than they do in the daytime. Thoughts and worries seem larger, less manageable, overwhelming.  There are times when sleep feels impossible, a thing of the past, and Netflix on your sofa with a cup of tea at 5 in the morning feels normal.  That is my experience, but luckily I have Netflix and YouTube now, not annoyed parents, but at night I become so aware of outside noises, like cars and planes, that sleep becomes impossible. It’s enough to make anyone an anxious mess.

“Different people can experience anxiety differently, as is the case with so many other mental health conditions. Insomnia makes going out for a refreshing daytime walk feel like your worst hangover (and I never drink). If I can’t sleep, I listen to relaxing music, write, see what’s on TV or have a hot shower but I avoid taking sleep medication because I worry that I’ll miss a phone call about a job or something important. After my 10th cup of tea and god knows how many cigarettes, at about 11 a.m I finally fall asleep, wasting another day due to night time worries.

“My anxiety usually stems from personal ambitions or family relationships. Long gone were the carefree days of being a student; this anxiety feels real, it stops me from forming friendships or finding something fun to do. I stay indoors quite a lot with my job, which I love, but I just wish doctors would realise that medication does not make my anxiety disappear.”

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