The most important lesson I’ve learned about anxiety

Carolyn's Gold Coast Marathon Wrap Up

I’ve lived with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Sometimes depression too. At times, I’ve been prescribed medication. At others, I’ve avoided medication. I’ve tried a whole lot of different treatments over the years, but nothing has magically cured me.

When I was younger I was even filled with anxiety about my anxiety. I was consumed with the need to be cured, so I could move on with my life and be the fabulous person I knew I could be, if I just wasn’t so worried about every little thing all the time.

Anxiety stopped me from doing well at high school, from leaving bad relationships in a timely fashion and (for many years) from pursuing the career that I wanted. It held me back when I went travelling overseas. It made me doubt my value as a human being, as a partner and as a mother.

Some years ago, I named my anxiety Clive. It felt less threatening that way, giving Clive a name and a face. He’s a bit comical, and personifying him in that way makes him easier for me to deal with.

Clive has red nipples. Clive is ridiculous.

“Clive’s here again,” is a much easier thought to deal with than thinking, “I suck and everything I do is going wrong.”

And the big lesson I’ve learned about anxiety is that I don’t need to cure it. I need to manage it. And I need to push through and learn how to live that awesome life while Clive is still living in my attic.

If I play my cards right, Clive lives quietly and doesn’t make too much trouble. I do that by:


The other thing I’ve learned about anxiety, is that it’s incredibly common. The more I talk about it, the more people I discover who are living with it. People who, like me, have learned to manage their anxiety and live their best life anyway.

Those people are my inspiration when times get tough and Clive starts to bang on his pots and pans. And when Clive gets loud, I now know I am not alone and can live my life even louder, and drown that sucker out.

Anxiety quote

To align with World Mental Health day, Bupa has put together resources to help raise awareness, and give you some tips on how you can manage your own ‘Clive’. Find out more by visiting the Bupa Blue Room here.

This post is sponsored by Bupa.

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • I’m starting to think we all have anxiety, some just have a more persistent, stickier version than others. Maybe. I call mine Freddy the Fucker. He hangs around until I tell him to Fuck Off out of my head and then I might click send on that email I’ve been too scared to send and give myself a little gratitude/goal setting pep talk while I go for a walk in the sunshine. Glad to see you’re managing Clive in such an effective fashion. Great suggestions

  • Just realising that it IS manageable and that I don’t have to ignore it or solve it but rather be aware of triggers and be gentle with myself have been my big learning points. I used to get mad at myself when the anxiety loomed, which was clearly counter productive.

  • I hear you about managing it, not curing it! Until you mentioned Clive, I forgot that you’d inspired me to call mine Patrice (i.e. the quote from HIMYM where Robyn keeps yelling NOBODY ASKED YOU PATRICE)! I had some bad anxiety today (hormones do it) and I just tried to recognise it, talk it out with my mum and while I did have a mini meltdown (oops), I feel better for acknowledging it. I think that I need to remember Patrice’s name more often. Makes it something outside of yourself so you don’t internalise everything in a negative way.

    • Oh yes, I remember your Patrice! (And that is such a perfect name.) Talking it out helps so much – I’m really grateful society has reached a place now where it’s okay to do that.

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