To say I’ve never been an anxious person would be a lie. I’ve always been scared of my own shadow, scared of the big kids at the park, scared of teachers in high school, but the truth is, it never stopped me from living my life.
Sweaty palms and heart palpitations have been second nature to me from a young age, however, it was bearable to a certain degree.
Last year I was put on medication for anxiety and depression. How did I get to that point is the question.
At the beginning of my first sixth form year, I lost a very special person I held close to my heart. It was a shock and very unexpected. He provided a safe place for me to go to, after a stressful day at school or to simply make me laugh until my stomach ached.
I’m sure you can imagine, this had a big impact on my life and EVERYTHING changed.
The bereavement hit me hard, I just couldn’t envision life without him in it. It didn’t seem real for a good year if not more.
I got angry at friends for not understanding, which of course wasn’t their fault, and eventually began to hate every being, mostly from fear.
I then met a boyfriend in the Summer of the following year. We got together and it was all okay up until I’d convince myself of the worst case scenario’s every time he’d left hours to reply to a text or wouldn’t pick up the phone. I convinced myself once that he was in hospital and that something bad had happened. I literally started planning how I’d make my way to said hospital, that’s how real it was to me.
Things weren’t brilliant for a while, because I was so anxious all the time about something bad happening to him. It’s clear now when I look back, that it was purely because my head was a complete mess.
In April 2017, I returned to a retail store that I’d previously worked in. Please note that I really enjoyed my time at this retail store the previous time, so my “meltdown” wasn’t because of that.
One morning, my mum dropped me into work (I usually got the bus in), I was already very panicky about getting through the day, yet thought I could handle it.
However, once I got through the doors, the panic struck and I found myself having a panic attack on the floor of the toilets, on the phone to my mum, whilst also trying to keep quiet so nobody would hear my sobs.
Cut long story short, I ended up having to leave, to take care of my mental health. I felt ashamed of myself, why couldn’t I just get a grip? Every other teenager manages a part-time job, why couldn’t I? What was wrong with me?
Social events really made me anxious and drinking myself silly was the only way to get through it and feel comfortable, which is actually mad when I say it out loud.
Slowly I was able to do some of the things that freaked me out so much, months it took, but I got there. I managed to show up to interviews and even start my first full-time job!
Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments, and my mental health isn’t perfect, nor is anyone else’s and that is OKAY. Only a few months ago I had another blip and was off work for four weeks and yes you guessed it, I yet again felt like the biggest failure in the world.
I experienced suicidal thoughts and it was hellishly scary. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a family who’s been through it and has supported me every step of the way, including my amazing Mum.
I work on facing my anxiety every single day. Phone calls are difficult, conversing with colleagues can be difficult but I push myself and I manage, some days better than others. I have also started hypnotherapy so finger’s crossed!
Some days, I still wake up dreading the day, wondering if I’m capable of getting through it, but the truth is I am still on my journey to being me and that’s okay. Baby steps are key.
Mental illness can be frightening. It can make you feel abnormal and like there’s no way out of it but I promise you there is.
There IS light at the end of the tunnel and you WILL push through to see the light again.
It isn’t an overnight process as I’m sure you know, it does take time but that’s how it works. To push yourself too hard would be to land yourself back at square one. Take your time. One step at a time.
Mental illness is something that affects a hell of a lot of us, yet many of us suffer in silence.
This blog has enabled people, who I never in a million years would’ve imagined would suffer from mental health, to send me a message and that makes me so sad.
I hope that me sharing my experience can help someone else.
Nobody should ever have to suffer in silence. Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Let’s talk more. Let’s support each other. Let’s tear down the stigma.
Ciao for now x