Although discussions about mental health are slowly breaking the stigma associated with the issue, it can still be difficult to articulate exactly how anxiety makes a person feel. That’s probably because – alongside common symptoms – panic, depression and anxiety can feel different for everybody.
This is why Nadiya Hussain and Bella Mackie’s latest words on mental health are so relatable and comforting.
Hussain is always honest, open and relatable when sharing her mental health experiences. Just recently, she opened up about listening to the “inner voice” during a conversation with Fearne Cotton. The food writer also previously talked about why she’s stopped striving for happiness all of the time.
Now, she’s explored the “disassociation” that she feels with her anxiety, explaining that it’s “like being on the outside looking in”.
Sharing a post on Instagram, Hussain wrote: “I often get asked … what does it feel like to suffer with anxiety?
“Mental health illnesses are broad and affect us all in different ways. Our experience and recovery unique to our illness.
“But in answer to that question… For me, it is the image. It’s like being on the outside looking in. The place you call home, filled with comfy chairs that you fight over, walls pinned with memories, children laughing crying, fighting, the smell of food you love to eat and the constant sound of the washing machine whirring and a cat willing you back into the warmth of your home, or maybe she’s just looking for a bird?”
She continued: “That is what it feels like. I have this house, filled with rooms and warmth and why do I still feel like I live under the stairs? I have these people that love me, need me and yet I feel alone. I have a body, healthy beating, living and still, don’t want it.
“It’s like being on the outside of the life you have, the doors wide open and your feet don’t know how to put one in front of the other.
“Today, do just one thing. Ask someone ‘are you okay’? Because it could mean they are just one step closer to the life they know they have, that they just can’t reach .
“#mentalhealth #areyouokay #helpeachother.”
Jog On writer Bella Mackie, who is also open about mental health, showed her understanding of Hussain’s words by replying to the post. She wrote: “This is a really excellent description. Disassociation feels a lot like that to me. Feeling on the outside of my own life x.”
One Instagram follower added: Can 100% relate to this Nadiya, even more so today. Thank you so much for sharing. We are only humans trying to do our best every single day. You are enough.”
Another shared her own experience, writing: “My entire life has just felt hazy, like I’m this person with a husband and children. It is from the outside looking in and not believing it’s all happening. I overthink everything and analyse everything and it’s really hard to feel just content with my lot. I’m not ungrateful and do appreciate that I have a lot. I just find it hard to process it and enjoy it.”
And a third replied: “Wonderful to hear you are not alone. Rarely spoken about but so good you are putting it out there in a world where we are so obsessed with persuading others we are having a great time. Good for you.”
Hussain and Mackie clearly touched on a feeling that many people experience daily, and managed to hit the nail on the head when describing exactly what it feels like.