Right from the off, I am going to be honest, I am the absolute worst at looking after myself. I always prioritise everyone else before myself. My children, my husband, my family, my friends, people I read about in the paper or online…..I just don’t like focusing on myself. I think a lot of people are the same. I have seen articles about the importance of looking after yourself and I always tut at them and skip them. Yet here I am writing about it. I am hoping that someone will at least have a read! I have been suffering from medical problems since my very first child was born and it is a condition that has been getting worse ever since. It has meant there are times when I have been physically unable to leave my home and I have missed out on trips and events with my children. It breaks my heart when that happens. It has left me with several other, more minor medical complaints too. However, more than that, it has left me with a problem that I would never have imagined I would suffer with. This condition is anxiety. Having studied anxiety during my psychology degree, I thought it was something that would never happen to me. I was always confident, talkative and outgoing. I never shied away from social situations and would talk to anyone. There were times when other people would say to me, “oh, I can’t go there, I am too shy” and I just wouldn’t understand. Now I do. There was a time, about a year ago, where I didn’t leave the house for 3 because of my medical condition – and after that, I didn’t want to leave the house. I was sure people would be looking at me, judging me and I just felt so uncomfortable. I didn’t want to face the school yard or go shopping. I just wanted to hide. I must stress here, this wasn’t because anyone had done any of these things. It was just inside my head. I was anxious about everything, all the time. I didn’t tell people about it. I did my best to visit family and go to places with my boys that didn’t involve social interaction – the woods, parks, empty beaches. But I really struggled with other places, especially jungle gyms and parks where we know lots of people. I thought it was a one off time – it took a few weeks of accompanying my husband to the school yard before I felt confident enough to go alone and for a few weeks, it was all ok. Yet, a year on, I still have times when I get too anxious to collect my boys. I don’t want to leave the safety of my home. There are no specific triggers and I can’t explain why. It is what it is. I have learnt that, at times, I have to look after me. I know my children want me to be at every pick up and drop off, but sometimes, I just can’t. The guilt overwhelms me at times. Other days, I can process it and accept that there is nothing wrong with my husband being there for them. I am learning that sometimes, I have to take care of myself. I would urge everyone to remember that unless you are well, it is hard to look after others. We really do have to look after ourselves too. I would love to hear from others who have had similar experiences or have something they would like to share.