Like most anxiety sufferers, I didn’t just wake up one day with an anxiety disorder.

From my first anxiety attack, it was over two years later that the pieces were all put together. I endured two years of fear, confusion, loneliness and exhaustion before I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and could finally start to rebuild my life.

During those two years, leaving the house became less spontaneous, and more of a process. Slowly but surely, as the anxiety took more of a hold on my life, going outside had become a mission in itself.

Shopping centres triggered me, social events made me uncomfortable, and the mere thought of having to ‘perform’ at work all day exhausted me.

I had no knowledge on how to deal with any of this, so I’d resorted to my own strategies.

Subconsciously, I developed a bit of a survival toolkit. As my list of essentials that I couldn’t leave home without grew so did the size of my handbags! I often found myself carrying around grocery bags full of things I believed that I couldn’t do without.

You know what it’s like when you grab your wallet and keys and head out for a walk or to the shop? There was no such thing for me. I had to prepare for every eventuality. Here are five things I couldn’t leave the house without.

1 – Rescue Remedy.
Or ‘freakout spray’ as one of my friends named it!

After I first started having panic attacks, someone suggested that Rescue Remedy might help. I bought the spray, the drops, and was always sucking on a chewy pastille. The thought of not having Rescue Remedy to hand bought me out in more of a cold sweat than the anxiety itself, and I went through phases where I’d practically drink the stuff.

Did it do any good? I’m not sure, especially after all that time, but it was a comfort to know it was there.

2 – Nurofen.
I had a huge fear of headaches and could never be more than a couple of minutes away from a pack of Nurofen. Even if I went for a beach walk or just popped to the shops, I’d always sneak some Nurofen in my wallet with my keys and money.

3 – A bottle of water.
If I became too thirsty and dehydrated, I needed to know that I’d be able to save myself with a bottle of water on hand. I live in 21st century Australia, can you ever be more than a foot away from a lifesaving drink of H20?? Try telling that to an anxious brain…

4 – A muesli bar.
There was always a muesli bar in my bag. Always.

If I got too hungry, I’d like to know I had an option for something to eat before I passed out. Again, we’re in 21st Century Australia with a shop on every corner, plus, you know, fat reserves, but that muesli bar had to be with me at all times.

I’m not sure if I ever ate one, I just needed to know it was there

5 – My iPad.
If anything came up that I didn’t understand, I needed to know I had an instant link to knowledge. I had a Smartphone at the time, but that wasn’t quite enough to meet my Googling needs. My iPad was my security blanket in case something happened to me that I hadn’t experienced before. In case I needed to Google a new symptom.

No matter what happened to my body (trust me, strange things were happening every day!), as long as I had my iPad with me, I’d always have a connection to someone who could tell me what it meant.

That’s why Anxiety Buddy exists.

To provide a human connection between you and other sufferers who know what you’re going through. If I had someone to talk to when I needed them, instead of tapping into the chaotic world of Google searches, I know I would have gotten the help I needed sooner.

Anxiety Buddy would have made such a positive difference to me when my anxiety was at its peak and when I didn’t understand what was happening to me.

Having the human connection that Anxiety Buddy provides would also have meant that I didn’t feel so alone, which made the anxiety worse.

These days, all that you’ll find in my handbag are the usuals; money, keys, and phone, and half the time I don’t even remember the basics!

You can take all the precautions you need, but when anxiety hits, there’s nothing you can carry with you which will make it pass any quicker (apart from medication, obviously).

Essentials for my anxiety survival toolkit now are understanding, acceptance, and management strategies which I put into place as soon as I recognise I need to.

If you want to know more about how I live with an anxiety disorder to live a life that’s happy, healthy, and fulfilled, buy the Freedom Reigns eBook and join the Anxiety Buddy community today!

Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson

Founder - Anxiety Buddy

Jo was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder in 2014 and knows what it’s like to live with the crippling disorder and suffer in silence, She also knows how much easier anxiety is to manage when you connect with others and have a strong support network around you. Jo is committed to normalising anxiety and helping others understand their anxiety to reduce the impact it has on everyday life.