Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: Dealing with Anxiety

Hey guys, today is going to be a non-fashion related post and one of my rare personal posts so I hope you can bear with me :) sorry it's so long!

If you're a long term follower you may remember me slightly brushing over the fact that I have battled with anxiety. From the 11th-17th of May it is Mental Health Awareness Week so I felt now was the right time to speak out about it in hope that it may help someone also dealing with it, or help people who aren't dealing with it to understand it. I feel like it's important for more people to speak up about Mental Health to let other people know it's ok and you're not alone (something I've felt like for a long time). Anxiety is a mental health issue that affects so many of us and I've noticed recently how encouraging it is that more and more people are talking about it. I've been dealing with it ongoing for just over 3 years now since my first day at University.

I don't want to delve too far into my exact reason behind why I have anxiety because when I've told people before it's often resulted in them laughing (NOT COOL GUYS) which in turn has left me feeling a little embarrassed about it. I totally understand that people who have never dealt with Mental Health before won't truly fathom it, I was that person once. When I was younger I had friends with eating disorders and I tried but could never really get what was going on. But if you're someone who has a loved one going through this, please don't laugh at them. It's not funny and as silly as the problem might seem to you, it's absolutely life changingly difficult for the person battling with Mental Health.

Right, so I'll talk about my Anxiety a little bit now. Basically it all stems down to public transport, in particular trains UGH. I commuted to university (50 minutes) every day and on my first ever day I experienced my first ever Anxiety attack. I felt trapped and panicky and needed to get off (there's more reason behind this but like I said above I don't yet feel comfortable explaining this on here). This little seed was then planted in my head for the next 3 years and had a knock on effect to every mode of transport you can think. Long car journeys, short car journeys, even just walking down the street. Anything that meant I was gonna be away from a comfort zone (my house/boyfriends house/generally just inside somewhere). It literally took over my whole life and I had daily battles to even leave the house for more than 5 minutes. I think the fact that university was a new change as well as dealing with a lot of family tragedies added to the feeling of being out of control of my life and made my anxiety worse. I started to become a little bit OCD about my situation and would have to do the same routine every single day in order to make me feel a little bit more at ease. I get upset when I think about this but I remember thinking at train stations just for a split second that if it all gets too much I can just jump :(. I would never have actually done it but it was almost like having a little devil in my brain for a millisecond. Mental Health is a really serious issue and by raising awareness and talking about it we can help stop people from thinking these thoughts!

I felt completely alone because I felt like nobody really understood how I felt.

I tried hypnotherapy (failed) and I had a few months of therapy with a local health centre. I found the latter extremely frustrating because I would go every week and all she would do was give me a sheet to fill out about how 'on a scale of 1-10' anxious and suicidal I felt. She never truly seemed sympathetic. I remember the therapist saying to me, the best thing you can do is just keep on putting yourself in the situations that make you anxious and I felt like screaming FUCK YOU that's the last thing I wanna do. However, the fact that I had to go to uni and complete my course and go out to work meant that I did actually have to leave my house and hop on a train so much to my frustration, I was continuing to put myself in these anxious situations and I have to tell you, it DOES get better. After a really long time, I realised that nothing that bad is really happening around me, it's just me. I never actually did what I was so worried I was gonna do when I was on a train/in a car/walking down the street (undisclosed information). I learnt that I am in control of my body and I have the strength to calm myself whenever the little seed in my mind pops back up. Don't get me wrong I still have my OCD routine tendencies which I feel helps prevent me from being anxious but I feel like I'm in a good place right now and won't ever go back to letting it take over my life. I want to be able to help other people in similar situations.

To anyone reading this who's dealing with any kind of Mental Health problem, please remember that you're not alone. There are people out there going through the same thing as you, reach out and speak to them about it. And I promise you now that things will 100% get better, time is a great healer. Remember everyone is different and deals with things differently! If you want to read up more about Anxiety, this website explains it well. Also if anyone wants someone to talk about it, I'm here and ready for you. Feel free to email me at any time :) x


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  2. You're really cool and brave for sharing this :)