Before I start this post I just want to say in no way am I a psychiatrist this is just my own personal experience on the subject. In no means is this a cry for help or a method to seek attention – I can’t believe I even have to disclaim that but sadly you have to nowadays in the society we live in.
As you may know on my blog a while ago I wrote a post about being 'perfect' and a little more recent I did a post about mental health awareness. In the post, I spoke about talking about this topic more as I wanted to maybe even help one person out there with my story or situation.
So, I’m sorry for the long introduction, now to the topic of this post – Anxiety.
I can remember in my High School days the idea of standing up in front of a large group of people and talking about myself or my work, sounded like my worst nightmare? But Hey that’s how everyone feels right? I would have seemed to everyone around me in my friendship group in High School, the complete opposite of being anxious or worried. I think I just tried to be outgoing to hide me being shy, says it all. But then I got to my college days – things changed of course and even though I try to say and show that I love change. Change is one thing I am NOT very good at coping with at all. I have a feeling that’s probably what kicked it all off. Doing a career like I wished and still wish to do (and only I can speak for myself on this) you get a lot of criticism. And more than not, it’s not constructive – and there’s only so much that my mental health can take, damn. But hey, I love the career I love doing what I do I will happily take the comments even though they often destroy me. But anyway, it eventually became University. Wow the big word, University.
I chose to move away for uni, because even though I didn’t even want to until I went to a few open days. I wanted some independence and wanted to beat the thoughts in my head saying HECK NO CHANGE YOU CAN’T DO THIS EL. I applied to 5 Universities. I had interviews where I had to take a portfolio of myself and talk about what ive done and why and how. Complete hell to my mind, but I did it and bagged an interview at two universities. (in my head, the two that gave me interviews were already my chosen favourite unis) I took myself, my family and my work along to Northumbria and Lincoln University. It took me all my confidence in the world to get up and do this and I went to my first interview and walked away incredibly happy because they appeared to love me and my work. I then went to my second interview and again the same, it took me all my mind and everything to do this. And I walked out of the room, down the stairs on the phone to my parents keeping tears back telling them to meet me on the bridge. They RAN to the bridge from town panicking due to my tone of voice. My dad walked up to me and grabbed me and said, ‘it will be okay, what happened?’ and I pulled away and screamed at the top of my voice and they had given me an unconditional. ON THE SPOT. I was over the moon, because I adored Lincoln Uni, they seemed so interested in me in my interview and genuinely cared about my work, what I had to do and why I did it. I felt like the happiest person IN the world, because hey? It took me all the effort in my mind to do this – and it payed off.
Then came summer, going out, drinking, seeing gorgeous skinny girls everywhere, friendships falling apart and all the things that happen due to you moving just a little over than an hour and a half away from the place you’ve known since you were a baby. The streets, the people who serve you in Morrisons daily, seeing your parents (shout out if you read this parent’s, love you lots thank you for being my rocks) and so much more.
I moved into uni, wow my little six apartment flat with some lovely people. Lots of alcohol, lots of change, lots of fun but also a little loneliness. It all started so amazingly I didn’t know how I could change it or what I could change because yes, I may have lost a lot of people from my home town, I gained so many amazing people which I adore to this day.
We got I’d say about 1/3 into Uni where I think I probably had the biggest breakdown of my life / the first breakdown of my life – at 19 wow says a lot. (This is where this post kicks in I’m sorry it took so long to get here, it was needed) I had a falling out with one of my bestest friends now and it really gave me a kick up the backside. I hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning the message he sent me, but it’s what made me who I am today really. ‘I care more than anybody, please get help and talk to someone’ yes, I maybe took some swearing out of there I had to. A few days later, of course being away from my parents I sent them a long text explaining what I could over text or even to the matter get down on a page. I received a phone call with my parents in floods of tears worrying about me and why hadn’t I told them and so on. I think that’s the second time in my life I’ve been truly heartbroken because my parents are my best friends and since that day we have all learnt so much and it has brought us closer than we ever have been.
The next weekend I was on a train home, to see my parents have a therapy session and see a doctor and so on. I think it was a hard thing for us all to accept because even though I had been dealing with it in my head without knowing what it was for a long time it hadn’t clicked within myself yet and I didn’t really know how to cope with it yet before helping my parents cope with it. My parents were and are my best friends so it was incredibly hard for them to accept that their daughter was struggling for a long while during her first year at uni but they had no idea about it. From then till now though, they learnt pestering me and nagging me if ‘I was okay’ wasn’t helping and gave me some space. Learnt if I need them I know they are there for me. Talked me through what it was, what mind space I’m in now and how to maybe move me on from there.
I have to say during summer between first year of university and second year I didn’t want to come back however I had my family behind my back, I had my current boyfriend with me and I had an amazing friendship group surrounding every single decision I make.
All I can say to this post is, I’m here now. Studying my DREAM degree with an amazing support group surrounding me, medication and everything in-between. I can look back on the hell of a year I had last year and where I am now. And my god I’m happy I’m here doing what I’m doing living the life I’m living and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
I want to just kind of say after giving an explanation of what I’ve been through and how I’ve experienced it. If you are reading this post and you are expecting me to say, give up, leave your dreams. Then this is the wrong post for you. Because all I can say is you can do this, stick through it and most importantly stick to your dreams. Everything may be shit right now (excuse my French) but I promise one day, it will get better. But most importantly always remember, you come first, your happiness and health comes first. If you feel it getting you down and notice its getting in-between your family/work/relationships please speak to someone, whether that’s your friend, your tutor or a health professional. No matter how hard it was for me, it’s the best thing ive ever done in my whole entire life. I hate to be so cliché and say, ‘it will all be better in the end’ but it’s the truth. It may all seem so hard and such a mess however when you are at your best you will look back on what you had and what you have now you will just feel a weight off your shoulders. What you had then was made up happiness was you pushing through the hardest times of your life maybe on your own, however in the future you can have true happiness and a huge support group around you supporting you every step of the way. I know I felt like completely giving up and just sacking in everything and being nothing or no-one but i'm so glad I didn't because if I would have given up I wouldn't be here, wouldn't have my current boyfriend and wouldn't have anything. Yes I still have good days and bad days, but recently I'm having more good days than bad. Which makes me incredibly happy. Anxiety will be something that I always probably have lived with and probably always will live with it - i'll just find ways of coping with things.
If you’ve read this post so far and are struggling to understand what anxiety is or you think you may be struggling with it yourself. Here’s a simple definition ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome’ a simple definition for a very complex mental disorder. There are many types of anxiety disorders, GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), Social Anxiety, PSTD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), Phobia’s are also anxiety disorders and ‘lastly’ Panic Disorder. I shall link a few websites I find of help and are of interest at the end of this post if anyone has any more questions which aren’t from a personal perspective and are of a health care professional perspective. I also want to list a few of symptoms that people often deal with because they are factors people often forget or don’t even realise. Nervousness, Irritability, Restlessness, Trouble Sleeping, Fatigue, Trouble Concentrating and so many more. Anxiety is way more than just worrying about a test 15 minutes before you walk into the exam hall. But whether you have a ‘condition’ or ‘brief’ worry before something nerve wracking.
You are equal.
Whether you struggle with a certain mental illness and someone else is hospitalised for the illness. You all count, everyone struggles and copes differently. You all matter and it is okay to admit that you are not okay. You are allowed to tell your story, you are allowed to speak your mind, never be ashamed. You are you, and as cliché as it sounds, you are wonderful. If you are struggling right now and don’t know how to cope with it, reach out. I promise it will be worth it in the long run. Please gain your life back, you deserve it.
I really hope I opened one person’s eyes to this post. I’m really sorry that it got abit rambly and long but I wanted to share my situation and where I am now and I really hope if you enjoyed this post you wouldn’t mind hearing more. I also hope I’ve helped one person by writing this post. I hope to hear your feedback on this post and If you want any other posts about this situation. Please do get in touch. I also wanted to write this post to try and diminish the stigma as much as possible, the more people are open about their situations it will eventually diminish the stigma surrounding mental health.
Thank you so much for allowing me to have this platform to speak about my situation and hopefully help some people out there. I was incredibly nervous in posting this, i've had it scheduled for different days for about three weeks now if not longer. But I came to the conclusion that mental health isn't something to hide or be ashamed about. I also have an incredible platform to talk about this whether it helps one person or not, I would love to help break the stigma.
A list of helpful links:
A list of helpful information:
A list of helpful blog posts I found/love/use:
A list of helpful videos I found/love: