My name is Andy Horner. Also known online as Anxious Andy.
Having battled with Anxiety and Depression since childhood and being in and out of psychiatric hospitals and under mental health services most of my life, I have realised that hospital and mental health services can only help so much. The lack of funding, understanding from professionals and long waiting lists can have a detrimental affect on our mental health.
I believe that people who have a mental illness or have been mentally ill, benefit from talking to others who are going through the same without being judged.
I have created this website with no funding from anyone else whatsoever, nor am I a charity, I just have a passion for helping others who are in my position or have been and campaigning to improve mental health services through my YouTube channel. Please support me by subscribing to my channel. You can find the icon at the bottom of this page, simply click on the YT logo and it will take you straight to my channel.
Having a mental illness is exhausting, therefore I plan to make this website as stress free as possible, with easy access to services and an understanding with simple icons that you can click on to get the help and support that you may need.
I have also had built a community where people can interact and make friends in a safe environment as well as relaxing content. Create your own profile and interact with others either in the news feed, groups or chat rooms. Simply click on community to join, it is free and less intrusive than other social media platforms.
I have also created a page called Distraction games, a bit of lighthearted fun that will hopefully distract you from intrusive thoughts. The games are free to play. Simply click on the 3 lines, top left corner of the page and go to distraction games.
Thank you for reading. (My story) is below should you wish to know about my journey so far, it may be triggering for some.
When Andy was a boy, his neighbours “jokingly” asked his parents if they should set their Alsatians on him to force him to attend school. The reason for his truancy? Severe anxiety. Yet fast forward to today, Andy Horner is known online as “Anxious Andy”
his posts about managing mental health attract thousands of views, while his Facebook page has more than a million followers.
Considering anxiety levels among the population are at a high, 49.6% of people in the UK reported high anxiety during the first lockdown, the message people like Andy are spreading is more poignant than ever.
A difficult childhood
Andy was adopted at six weeks old and showed signs of anxiety from a very young age (although nobody around him knew enough about mental health to realise that at the time). Back in the 80s, Andy struggled to participate in social activities and was being viewed as naughty and disobedient.
As a result, he encountered a lot of rejection and resentment, starting with a failure to integrate into his primary school. With the exception of another “outsider” called Julie and the dinner ladies, Andy failed to make friends and spent his playtimes alone, when his birthday came around, his mother would set the table for multiple guests, only for nobody but Julie to turn up.
Mostly, Andy stuck to his imaginary friend, the one person who could never hurt or reject him and where he could be himself.
Struggles with the school system
After a while, Andy’s parents decided it would be better for him and his brother to attend a private school instead. There was just one problem, the entrance exams made him anxious, and he failed them twice. Not about to be deterred easily, his parents arranged for him to attend a different private school, where an exam wasn’t necessary (but fees were significantly higher). The outcome was similar to last time. Although Andy excelled at sports, allowing him to make a few friends, he continued to struggle with the academic side, Andy remembers on one occasion the teacher asking him to stand up and complete the “2 x 2,” table in front of the whole class, his anxiety made it impossible for him to answer. Worse, his classmates would laugh at him and call him thick and dumb.
In fact, Andy’s anxiety was so extreme that he sometimes wet himself because he was too scared to put his hand up and ask to go to the toilet. He’d hope that nobody noticed, then rush off to the bathroom to clean himself up as soon as class finished.
While Andy’s brother was achieving impressive results in class, Andy was falling further and further behind his classmates. He dreaded parents evening every year, where teachers would tell him that his learning was poor because he couldn’t pay attention. This would have a lasting negative effect on his self-esteem and confidence.
Eventually, it got to the point where Andy’s parents were called into school. Andy was so behind that the school felt bad for taking money from his parents and said that they didn’t have the resources to help him. This meant saying goodbye to the few friends he’d made and starting from scratch again.
New beginning, same problems
This time, Andy went back to a public school. Again, his parents did their best to make provisions for him by discussing his difficulties making friends with the teachers, and he was assigned two “buddies” to look after him. But it didn’t have the desired effect, Andy didn’t get on with his buddies or feel particularly supported. Instead, he felt like a burden and totally isolated.
Over time, Andy became more and more disillusioned. He made no friends, was unable to learn, and lived in constant fear of being picked on by teachers to answer questions.
Andy dreaded school so much that he’d barricade his room at night and insist to his parents that he wasn’t going, when that stopped working, he’d lock himself in the bathroom and escape through the window to the wooded area nearby. Even when he did get to school, he’d sometimes escape through the fire exit and run home.
It was at this point that the neighbours with Alsatians made the cruel offer to his parents to let them use their dogs to coax him out of the woods at the back of his house where he would often hide until school time was over.
On one occasion, when Andy came out of the woods he was chased by two grown men. These men were waiting for him and were shouting ‘we’re taking you away!’
Little did he know that those grown men were social services and they were looking to put Andy into care and take him away from his parents.
With this, Andy reluctantly went high school, Andy still had trouble making friends and because he didn’t want to be seen as a loner in the playground, Andy would hide in the toilets and wait for the bell to ring for the next lesson. Andy was in all the bottom classes and left school with no GCSEs, an uncertain future, and significant yet undiagnosed mental health problems.
Facing similar problems in adult life
As Andy went from being a child to entering his twenties, he gradually began to integrate into society and develop relationships with others, but his mental health problems continued to plague him.
He got his first girlfriend in his 20s, but sadly, he was an easy target for abuse. The relationship lasted a few years, and he was controlled the entire time, if Andy ever wanted to go out with friends, he was kicked, punched, or bitten.
Finally, he found the courage to leave, but ended up jumping into another relationship with a similar dynamic. Due to his low self-esteem, he simply couldn’t face being alone. The relationship led to a marriage, which led to having two children.
After years of being mentally and physically abused again, the couple split, but Andy ended up losing all contact with his children after his partner turned them against him. Then, shortly after, his mother died. This was an all-time low for Andy, and tragically, he tried to take his own life.
Yet it was also a turning point. Fortunately, Andy managed find purpose and meaning from his experiences by turning to mental health activism.
Social media success
Although Andy’s story is an extreme example of how mental health problems can wreak havoc in our lives, many people are facing similar problems today. Society is more aware of these issues now than it was when Andy was growing up, but there’s still a long way to go.
That’s why influencers like Andy are so passionate about helping people to understand their anxiety-related struggles and stop feeling ashamed. Judging by his social media following of one million and counting, the message is clearly resonating.