Anxiety – What Has Love Got to do with it?

Anxiety…what’s love got to do with it?

Well I tell you what, Love has a lot to do with everything under the Mental Health banner.

I have experienced the tough attitude towards some of my peers and I which is a very old fashioned approach. In fact, downright rude, thoughtless, a total lack of regard and empathy toward another!

“Snap out of it,” “Get on with it” , I cringe and want to hide with embarrassment, to the point of being sucked into my own shell.

Snap out of it

I really want people to ‘get it’, whatever the “it” is.

I’m talking about Me in these blogs, as I believe in owning the issue and taking responsibility for myself.

So… here it goes. I am 52 in two weeks time. Up to the age of 39, I experienced depression, but I was able to self manage, no medication. I was in the gym two hours daily. I was fit.

My life was full: company director, a fellow of an institute, recruitment and directorship exams passed with flying colours. Mother of one beautiful and clever young lady. Wife to a long term boyfriend. Surrounded by love but like polyfilla, it cracked in some places.


At work, “zapp” a tia/stroke hits and in seconds I am a crumbled mess, long story short, I made it to A&E with two neurologists arguing what was wrong with me, hence the tia or stroke, the neurologists still continue to argue now.

I just felt rubbish and thought “what the hell? Grow up and swallow your egos, put them aside”.

Needless to say I didn’t get the right care, two days later I came home with loss of speech and a weak left hand side. My doctor was a tower of strength and he still is. I,would have lost my way if I didn’t have his respect and helpfulness.

Love lost, I didn’t return to work and I am bound by court, not to kiss and tell. So after a well deserved rest, I successfully managed another organisation in the city for over a year when a family tragedy struck. I decided to be Mum and stayed home. I never returned to serious work.


This was a huge thing as I had never been a full time Mum, managing all of the components, hair, uniform, books, bag, lunch, after school clubs; quite honestly I found it easier to manage a business, but I did enjoy the challenge of parenthood and my daughters company.

Following on, I had to deal with a couple of really tough physical and mental challenges; the depressive shadow that always trailed behind or beside me was creeping up my body and steadily taking its grasp on me.


Before you know it, it’s 2017, two weeks away from my 52nd birthday and diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue extreme, clinical depression, anxiety, S.A.D. and breast cancer.

I take 20 tablets a day for both physical and mental health issues. I also take an injection which stimulates my white cells to produce more.

I don’t feel depressed strangely enough. I’ve accepted the most recent challenge of breast cancer gracefully, but I must say, I don’t know how I feel at this present moment in time and I have been this way since my November 2016 diagnosis.

I do however feel as though everything is somewhat surreal and I am watching someone else dealing with this rubbish. It can’t be me, can it? Breast cancer on top of fibromyalgia, on top of chronic fatigue extreme, on top of … I think you get my meaning.

Safety Couch

Right now I am sitting on the ‘safety couch’ rambling away to you, and I will share with you my latest challenge. It’s anxiety. In particular, it’s how do I get outside the front door?

Yesterday I posted on fb, anyone want to escort me for a woodlands walk? And today a very dear friend called me and offered to come out with me this afternoon.

“Crap” ! I couldn’t think quickly enough, out came the reasons…oh did I say reasons? I meant excuses and they rolled off my tongue one by one.

“ I’m conserving my energy for the next round of chemo.” “Storm Doris is whipping around, I won’t be able to stand against her.” “Sid will be on his own” … you get the picture.

So I spoke to a friend and we investigated why I have the anxiety and the honest answer is, I don’t know, I simply do not know!


Anxiety isn’t something to be snapped out of , how can I snap out of something that I can’t identify? It’s intangible. You see my issue.

Anxiety is a real drain on my body’s resources, it saps my energy and each day ends in the same way, exhausted from the anxiety and falling in to bed way too early getting a 12 hour sleep or more.

Physically my anxiety takes form: stomach pains, headaches, pacing, painful joints, upset bowel and bladder, dry mouth, clammy hands, sweating… the list goes on. I don’t experience all at one time but I have most definitely experienced all at different times. It’s quite a ride, like taking all the pink smarties in one hit! Psychologically I feel worthless, I feel doomed, like the world will end, I feel desperation…

So my anxiety is small when I wake in the morning, but soon enough, boom there it is, and I run into the toilet.

I walk slowly back to bed wanting so much to feel better, wanting to go out, but my bed calls and with no one else to catch me, I sneak back to bed and sleep through the pain.

My dog gives me unconditional love, sometimes a bit too much, he is a nine month old five stone puppy and he’s a full on Love machine.

My husband loves me in any way he can, he listens, he talks, he is patient and kind, tolerant of my moods and considerate to my needs.

Love from my daughter is amazing, it’s always wrapped in the prettiest of paper, ready with steady hugging arms, a kiss and reassurance.

My immediate circle of support shower me with Love, I feel wanted and of use.

I could go on but you get the message, Love is provided to me in abundance, I am rich in friendships both within and outside the family. This gives me hope.

I accept being like this for the rest of my days, but I am hoping to manage it better, I think the last bc cherry on my cake was a little too much and it spilled over.

Love can change a lot, it can affect my attitude, my perception, my resolve, my ability to fight.

Love is the very thing that keeps me alive. So love Me unconditionally, no opinion, no judgement… just love.

Bernie Bentley

Love You, Love Me


Just Listening to You is a voluntary Community group; here to listen and support anyone who has mental health difficulties by providing self-help based on personal experience. The group is about inclusivity, being non-judgmental, safety, confidentiality, honesty and fun. Founder, Bernie Bentley, has run the Just Listening to You group for a little over three years, and she now runs weekly sessions, in Westcliff -on -Sea, where like-minded people help each other overcome hurdles and manage mental well-being. The Group organise many local events to raise funds, combat stigma and create awareness of mental ill health.Bernie BentleyAt the age of 39, Bernie experienced a stroke and a mental health breakdown and had to engage the current NHS model, which is in place to support anyone with mental health difficulties. After discussions with her Psychiatrist, Doctor and Support Worker and finally getting to grips about just how bad treatment can get; Bernie decided to launch her FB Page and her group for anyone who needed her assistance. She took the opportunity to study and become a counsellor; this has certainly made a difference to JLTY Friends when running the group. It enables Bernie to not simply listen, but to hear what is unsaid.Membership has rapidly increased, which is indicative of the shortage of services on offer to individuals with mental health needs; this is why Bernie believes that such a group is made available to everyone that needs it.To find out more, and to talk to Bernie, please find contact details below:07968 037507Just listening to you logo

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