Considering it is world mental health day this week I thought I would blog about the crippling anxiety and panic attacks I have endured over the past couple of years in hope it may help someone dealing with the same thing, to see that mental health is just as important as physical health and it is something I have only just learn’t myself after all these years.
So my anxiety first started about five year ago when I first started my GCSE’s in school, the pressure to look perfect ( a hold that society has on women that will forever annoy me ) and to have the perfect grades whilst trying to have a social life all became to much for me. I didn’t tell my friends I didn’t want to distract them from their study’s so I had to face my demons alone, it was my mistake in not telling them and if I could back and tell my younger self that my friends would have welcomed my problems with open arms as well as their own I would.
I remember my first anxiety attack I was in school and the course work pile kept piling up with each class I attended followed with the words of ‘ you’ll need to do this in order to pass your exam ‘. It hit fifth period and my head was scrambled and I wanted to go home I was then handed another piece of course work, at that point the wall felt like they were closing in on me and my chest became tight making it hard to breath I wanted to stop myself from crying but I couldn’t I felt like everyone’s eyes were on me within the class room which made me panic more I was then sent to my head of year. In her office I couldn’t understand what was happening to me I had no control over my body I was shaking and hyperventilating at this point whilst crying in all honestly I thought I was having a heart attack because my chest felt so tight which made me panic so much more. I was sent home but never told my mum or family I really did not know how to explain to them what happened because at the time I didn’t even know myself I never heard of anxiety or the attacks it could cause. I carried on school as normal I honestly thought I was stressed but these same panic attacks happened 3 or 4 times before I left school one actually happened at prom, I found myself panicked and comparing myself to every beautiful girl within the room to the point and I got that daunting feeling of my chest going tight and the air becoming thin I cried in the toilet and remember wanting to go home, home where I felt safe and away from everybody’s eyes.
It was then I took to the doctors to find out what was really happening I mean my exams were over and I still had these panic attacks and the feeling of been unease by the littlest situation that would be nothing to other but for me it was a big deal. The doctors informed me it was anxiety I had been dealing with and explained to me what anxiety was. I would not get on busses or public transport or order my food at the fear of saying the wrong thing or place and having everyone looking at me and laughing which I know would not happen but my head made me think it would, I was once in line in a shop and I had the daunting thought of ‘ what if I don’t have enough money ‘ I would always add up the items multiply times before going to pay but this thought would not leave my mind and I once left my basket and ran because I could not face the ‘ embarrassment ‘.
Fast forward a year and I have started art and design course everything was going well until the first day I remember forcing myself to go that morning and feeling panicked all the way to college, I made new friends who actually had anxiety to who helped me a lot when I become panicked or unease and at this point this is where I met my current partner of three years he helped me through the panic attacks and held me until I was calm he was the first person I opened up to and felt safe to talk about my anxiety and guess what it turns out he had a similar problem he hated large crowds and panicked sometimes in them. I had a tutor who didn’t understand what mental health was at all well she did she just thought it was made up and excuse for a lazy teenager not to come into class which made me feel really on edge and panicky every time I felt in a dark place on some days I would have to email her telling her I am not coming in and I would always get a horrible response the words ‘ unacceptable, lazy, you would be fired from a job ‘ would pop up on my phone screen. I started to believe my anxiety was stupid and I needed to ‘ just get on with it ‘.
I left my art course and started a business one my friends had all moved on and I became very lonely this triggered my anxiety and most days I would try stay home and avoid college as I was different and found it hard to find my ‘ group ‘ I guess my tutors notice this and approached me one day on the matter I had the loveliest tutor and if it wasn’t for her I would of probably left college but i’m glad she did I cried whilst trying to explain my mental health problems in fear she might be like my past tutor and I was so wrong she told me whenever I feel like I am having a dark day to email her and her only and all I had to put was ‘ I don’t feel well I am not coming in today ‘ she called it my little web of reassurance to fall back on and not to panic over my attendance I was going to get into my second year just fine as I was passing all my classes at the highest grade. She also introduced me to a councillor who I saw each Monday in her class so I would not miss any one else’s class, what I am trying to say is don’t be afraid to open up to people sometimes that person is really understanding and can really help you out they won’t judge you they will help you.
Fast forward again to now I still suffer from panic attacks and anxiety but I have learn’t that my mental health IS important and so is yours don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, mental health is just as important as physical and in time you will face your fears and it WILL get better I promise I now can take busses and even order my food and praise myself each time I do because to me it achievement and you should give yourself a pat on the back for the little things in life to. I don’t feel scared to talk about my mental health and I have noticed the more I don’t mind mentioning it I have found that people can relate and we can help each other on the darkest of days, this even goes out to you reading this if you ever feel alone I am all ears I have my email, Facebook, Instagram linked and you are more than welcome to message me and I will welcome you with open arms.
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT AND SO ARE YOU, as always thank you for reading,