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  • Writer's picturePatrick Mills


One in four people suffer from anxiety or worry.

My mother worried a lot, about everything as far as I remember. She also had Parkinson’s. I have inherited both.

The first time I can really remember feeling worry and anxiety is when I was sent to boarding school aged eight. My parents lived in Naples at the time, so it was a long and lonely journey back to the UK at the beginning of terms. It was quite a brutal experience, the headmaster ruled through fear, a couple of the teachers were violent and bullying prevalent. I was very shy.

But it taught me resilience.

It also taught me to hide and to worry - where would I go to the loo (they were always blocked and revolting, with Newcol paper - now wash your hands please), when would I see my parents next?

Cold dormitories with old horsehair mattresses and endless pranks to ensure one couldn't sleep. Hell hole changing rooms where all one's sports clothes would end up on the floor.

On the drive back to school I was physically sick.

It was not the cosy loving place of my early childhood.

I became an anxious, worried child, then as a teen and well into adulthood.

51 years on I still worry a lot about everything and have been treated endlessly for anxiety (incidentally the pills make me emotionless and neutral).

Looking through Roget’s Thesaurus there are many more synonyms for worry than antonyms. This strikes me as worrying.

A quick search online makes for pretty depressing reading - with far more pages on symptoms and effects, both short and long term. The more I scrolled the worse it got, the grand finale being heart attack.

I have had some very good advice over the years, which is all pretty obvious. I have now learnt what is worth worrying about. Most of it is ridiculous stuff, like will I remember to cancel the milk before we go on holiday. Don’t worry about things you cannot affect.

But this still leaves plenty to worry about. My diagnosis of Parkinson's in 2020 being the top of the list.

Inevitably one worries about the course of this disease, the manifestation of which seems to be different amongst sufferers. Anxiety and worry are so much of the disease in both cause and effect.

The main physical manifestation of worrying and anxiety is in my guts (yes, I am fixated on my guts - see earlier post on Bowels), this is particularly irritating when one considers the impact of Parkinson’s on one’s bodily functions.

Work and my career over the last 35 years played havoc on my digestive system, as did supporting Chelsea. Now I have stopped working, things are getting better. Chelsea, however, seem to be getting worse.

Nowadays I’m afraid I rather accept my inheritance as 'one of those things'. However the point of my blog is to share stuff like this and perhaps provoke comment or conversation, which may well help lots of others whether they have Parkinson’s or not.

Sign up here and you’ll get notified about posts, which I hope will be thought provoking and useful - don’t worry I won’t pester you with junk mail.

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Mar 15, 2023

I feel my burdens lightening when I hear other fellow human beings share their difficulties that resonate with mine. It makes me realise time and time again how much we share with others and gets me out of my head into a sense of communal growth that comes with our efforts to heal and try to feel better. Thank you for sharing. Beautifully written, as always.

Mar 15, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for your great comments. It makes it very worthwhile


Unknown member
Mar 09, 2023

Dear Patrick, I was so touched by your description of being sent off to that awful boarding school at such a young age. It's amazing the things that parents do to their children and that yours thought it was a good way to treat their young son. I love your writing; it's beautifully sparse but descriptive. I want to model my writing on yours - less is more! 😊


Mar 07, 2023

Don’t worry, Be happy!

Sorry to say we all worry. It’s as bad as feeling guilty. Completely unproductive and pointless, but almost impossible not to feel it, especially if you are a Mills! Mind you, I don’t know many people who don’t worry at some time or other, likewise feel guilty.

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