Today I want to do something which isn’t about books, but Mental Health. Mental Health is so important to me and its something that seems to be such a Taboo topic and it honestly shouldn’t be. I want to use this post today to talk about my story with my Anxiety and I hope it helps someone in some way. I won’t go into crazy detail so I’ll try to keep this concise and to the point for you all.
Admitting you have Anxiety may be one of the hardest things you ever do. Getting help about Anxiety or any mental health is another hard thing. It can feel like the loneliest time in your life, even if your surrounded by friends and family offering support. Sometimes being surrounded by people can make it harder because they don’t understand.
I’ve had anxiety for a very long time but it wasn’t until I was about 19 that I really understood what it was I had. I suppose my first anxious thoughts started when I was 11, up until this point I was out-going. I would have sleepovers with my friends and family, go out with my friends into town but then my mum went into hospital for an operation. She was only in for a little while perhaps a week? It was so long ago that I can’t remember exactly in my mind the details, which makes it so weird that it still affects me today. Following on from my mum being away in hospital is when it all started. I wouldn’t be able to have sleepovers because I would make myself sick with worry and I would cry a lot. I think it’s because I had this fear of something happening to my family. Home became my safe zone. If I was at home I was fine. Sleepovers became a no go for me, which is hard when you’re a young girl about to go into Secondary school and make new friends because sleepovers were the norm, a right of passage you might say.
Then it became into something else…trips out became scary, I would stay up all night the night before a day out crying and worrying. Sometimes I would wake up the next day and be ok and feel like I could go but they were rare times. For years I just let my anxiety rule what I could and couldn’t do. I made excuses along the way to drop out of things. Fast forward until I’m 18 and my friends are organizing a holiday together. It sounded amazing at first and I even got excited but I was kidding myself because then the plans became real and I couldn’t do it. So I dropped out and they went.
The thing with my anxiety seems to be, it has good months and bad months. One summer when I was 19 going towards 20, I was able to go out on nights out with my friends and have fun. Have sleepovers and I even attended a 3 day music festival which meant camping in a field for three days. BREAKTHROUGH? For three days it was.
The summer broke and now I’m 22 and back to how I was. I can no longer really drink alcohol because I have this intense fear attached to it that I am going to be sick because of it. I have a phobia of being sick as well, match that with how much of a hypochondriac I am and you can just imagine my mind.
Last year is when I finally decided enough was enough. I needed to get myself to the doctor after years of my friends begging me to go. I never went because I was scared they would tell me something was wrong with me? I just want to be normal I would tell myself and I truly had this fear that I wasn’t normal until very recently. I felt like an outsider and part of that is because mental illness is never talked about. Not once during my time at school did I ever get taught about mental illness. I live in a small town and only until recently has there been any sign of a counselling service here.
The final breaking point for me was the fact I could barely go to university anymore, I would have anxiety attacks every morning on the train. I would miss a lot of days. I couldn’t go to the cinema, I couldn’t handle going into the town where I lived because I started thinking I would suddenly get sick.
My anxiety comes with physical symptoms of being sick and I have stomach aches so the fear of suddenly getting sick isn’t some fair fetched phobia because it would happen nearly everytime.
So I finally booked an appointment for when my parents were on holiday. It was the scariest thing I have ever done, I didn’t tell anybody about it. I didn’t want them hovering over me. I went on my own and spoke to a female doctor because I felt more comfortable being so open to her and she placed me on medication and its helped me immensely.
I have to go back in spring for a review and I hope I can stay on them because the days I accidentally miss them I feel awful. I feel the fear and doubt creeping back in more than it usually is. Medication isn’t a magic cure, anxiety sadly never goes away but the transformation it can lead you to is amazing. Whilst I still struggle with meals out or being too far away from home just in-case I get sick, I’ve managed to attend university fine this year. I haven’t spent the mornings making myself sick with worry. I’ve done better in my work and I’ve contributed more.
Some days are better than others but it’s better to have one bad day or a few bad days then 365 bad days.
I also created my blog in my anxiety transition, if you go back you will find some posts I have previously done on it. Without this blog I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. I have been introduced to some wonderful people who are so supportive and who are going through their own struggles and they have helped me on this path to get better. I love coming on here reading your comments and sharing my love for books with you all and I can never thank you enough for following me and giving me this life line.
If you ever need to talk about anxiety or anything then I will listen. I want to create a lifestyle page on this blog where I will post more about anxiety and perhaps booktubers who have helped me with my anxiety. Tips, in-fact anything you would like to hear then I will do, just comment below and tell me.
There are some parts of my story that I have left out of this post, I have battled with symtoms towards depression and OCD tendencies as well. All of which linked to my Anxiety, I may share them with you at some point. It’s hard to write things like this and be so honest, to open myself up to you but it feels so good to tell my story. To get rid of the pressure I have felt and just be honest that I’m not a confident person, I’m not always happy and I struggle.
Please remember, if you have anxiety or any mental illness then you are not alone. You are loved, you are worthy and strong. If you are considering hurting yourself please speak to someone. There are tons of charities out there such as Samaritans who offer services where you can speak to someone about your thoughts or they offer Suicide Survivors and Prevention groups.
www.samaritans.org | www.samaritansusa.org