Stacey Solomon details the journey of her home birth
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On the outside it looks like Stacey has it all. Perfect house, perfect family and thriving career. Yet in a raw interview the ITV star opened up about her struggle with an intense fear of dying. Having had no traumatic experiences in her life the star’s crippling anxiety leads to “out of control” intrusive thoughts.
Speaking on fellow TV presenter Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast Stacey said: “My ‘out of control’ manifests in fear. I have this really weird fear of death. So the minute I feel out of control I just think I’m going to die. I know that sounds ridiculous, it’s so weird.
“When things are going wrong I just immediately, my brain goes to the most intrusive thoughts that it possibly could. I just think, ‘Oh my gosh, this could happen to me tomorrow and then I could not wake up.’”
This is not the first time the star has addressed her fears. In her column for The Sun Stacey recalled that she has had this fear of dying since she was a child.
She added: “I remember being scared of dying at a very young age, maybe even five or six. I had no traumatic childhood experiences. There’s not a point in my childhood where my mortality was questioned, but the fear was always there.”
Now with four children Stacey’s anxiety has seemed to have got worse as she fears that if she is not around she will not be able to see them all grow up.
“Bedtime is when I get most anxious because I have time to contemplate,” Stacey said. “I’m also more likely to question my mortality and catastrophise if I’ve seen or heard something upsetting about somebody.
“And, let’s be honest, fear is everywhere. Every day a horrendous thing happens: stabbings, abductions, rape, cancer, failings in the NHS, paedophiles… the list is endless.”
In order to manage her health anxiety, Stacey has learned how to occupy herself. In fact she has made a living out of providing top home organisation tips and family life.
After the release of her organisation book titled Tap to Tidy: Organising, Crafting & Creating Happiness in a Messy World, Stacey said: “I think that exercise, cooking, crafting, all of these things are just different forms of meditation.
“Now I recognise a pattern, and have been able to see my triggers. Before bed I try and read the most brain-hurty, intelligent book I can. One that’s so hard to read no other thoughts can creep into my mind. After 10 pages I’m usually exhausted and fall asleep.
“I try my hardest to not watch too much scary news. If I cannot avoid those stories then I let myself know I may struggle to keep my anxiety at bay for a bit.”
Anxiety can become a serious disorder and take over your life. Sometimes known as hypochondria, people with the condition may continuously worry that doctors have missed something important and will constantly seek reassurance.
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Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life but those who are consistently anxious will often experience repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).
The Mayo Clinic explains that the symptoms of anxiety to look out for include the following:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety.
Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood. Those clinically diagnosed with anxiety may also be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Examples of anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. Individuals can have more than one anxiety disorder and sometimes they can start from the results of a medical condition that needs treatment.
Although one of the most common mental health disorders, there are numerous treatments for anxiety.
The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or counselling involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms.
In addition, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is another effective form of psychotherapy and is more of a short-term treatment. CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you’ve avoided because of anxiety.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are also used depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have. It is advised to talk to your GP about the possible side effects or risks of medications before taking them.
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