Denman Masthead

Just Between Us…I’m anxious

Amanda Whitley

I had my first anxiety attack when I was 10.

Feeling overwhelmed by the expectations of my teachers, and struggling with Advanced Maths (numbers have never been my thing), I started to panic – and even make myself sick – when it was time to go to school. A clever mum and a Vicks Inhaler (!!) helped focus my mind on other things … that’s a whole other story … and I learnt to manage my anxiety, but I still struggle with it sometimes.

I’m a ‘catastrophiser’. Husband 30 minutes late getting back from something and I can’t contact him? I’m checking social media for car accidents. Kid going off to camp for a few nights? You can’t imagine how many potential perils I can dream up.

Last week, I was setting off for a lovely, relaxing facial at Sibu Beauty. ‘I best go to the loo before I head off,’ I thought. I went to pull down my jeans and my iPhone fell out of my back pocket and into the toilet. ‘OH NO!’, I cried. Well, actually, I said something a whole lot less polite.

Arriving at Nicholls shops, on the advice of friends I ran into the supermarket and purchased a packet of rice to sit my (now comatose but very hot) phone in to ‘draw the moisture out’ and left it sitting in my car. The situation was as sorted as it could be, so I headed inside in pursuit of bliss.

Trouble was, I’d just managed to lie down and relax into the soothing music, when my head shouted at me ‘YOU JUST PUT A REALLY HOT PHONE INTO A BAG OF RICE AND LEFT IT IN YOUR CAR! WHAT IF IT STARTS TO BURN THE RICE? WHAT IF YOUR CAR CATCHES ON FIRE?!?!?!’

I tried to quiet the voice for a few minutes and then thought, ‘I’m going to have to go and get the phone out of the car. I won’t be able to relax until I know it’s ok.’ So, I said to Karlia, my lovely therapist, “You’re going to think I’m a crazy woman, but…” (cue explanation of the whole debacle). And she said calmly, ‘it’s not going to catch on fire…it will be fine,’ and she stroked my face with potions and rubbed my tense shoulders, and I thought logically through everything, and everything WAS fine.

Sometimes, our minds play tricks on us, and things seem much worse than they are. My phone was cactus, but compared with a potential incinerated auto, things suddenly didn’t seem so bad after all.

Have a wonderful week…

Image of ‘young…‘ via Shutterstock


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

  • Melinda Gill

    Thank you Amanda, from a fellow catastrophiser, I’ve been having a particularly bad week and yesterday had to arrange a neighbour to check my gate while I was at work as I couldn’t remember closing it and was afraid the wind would blow it open and my dog would escape… Turns out it was perfectly shut the whole time. I appreciate knowing I’m not alone.

    • Amanda Whitley

      Thanks so much Melinda xx

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