I have suffered with anxiety for many years, since I was 16/17, and for a lot of that time in silence. As a result I have miss many an opportunity and let a lot of people down, to which I wholeheartedly regret to this day and probably always will.
I took the decision back in December 2016 that things had to change and it didn’t matter how much “positive” thinking I did, I was still driving myself crazy with worry which would manifest itself in very real physical symptoms. Due to this, I ended up in A&E one evening thinking that I was having a heart-attack. This experience led to me making a few decisions that have really helped me on my journey to mental freedom – though, let me add it is a long and twisted road that I don’t believe I will complete for a long time but I feel like I can impart some wisdom of the journey so far.
The most important thing is to find the root cause which can be very difficult to identify. After a long time searching, I narrowed mine down to a job that wasn’t working for me and the fact that when I had these horrible physical symptoms it would make me panic that I was dying and cause them to get worse. Trapped in a vicious cycle one might say.
It was at this point I decided I had to leave the job and once that happened a huge weight seemed to have lifted, but only temporarily, now I had no job and a limited income to survive on until I found my next. Although this was stressful, I was so much happier because I didn’t have to worry about the job and the immense pressure that came with it. Thankfully, I have always been careful with money thanks to my parents teachings so I didn’t go crazy over this time and only purchased necessities.
Despite seeming like a temporary cure, the panic attacks remained so I sought the help of a professional and went to the doctors. I was given medication and the option of therapy. I took both options because I thought that would speed things up an banish my mental incapacity. It didn’t exactly work like that but I stuck at it.
Therapy was great it made the thoughts and feeling that I had seem normal and then develop goals and strategies to change those thoughts to push myself to do things that I wouldn’t normally do – this included saying yes a bit more. It did, however, take three months to get therapy but it was perhaps one of the best decisions I made. (I also got a new job two months after I left my old job – one I love to this day). I also discovered yoga and fitness classes as a great way of relaxing and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
The biggest thing that got me through and still does to this day is the knowledge that I am not crazy. I am just trapped in my own head a little too much and there are hundreds of thousands of people feeling exactly that same. Talking to people including family and friends put light on the fact that I wasn’t alone and someone else had or was having similar issues.
Mental health is a huge weight and pressure on all aspects of one’s life. I feel that it is often looked upon as a trend of the modern times but in actual fact it is a symbol of modern living and how much pressure everyone has on them to either succeed or be perfect. Through my journey I have discovered that the perceived perfection that you see everywhere, not just on social media, isn’t real. Nobody has an amazing life 100% of the time and as much as there are the bad points there are bloody brilliant times too. Roll with the bad and ride on the good, then sooner or later the bad will be a little less shit.
For any of you reading this that have anxiety issues, remember that you are never completely alone despite loneliness being at the forefront of emotion. Keep your chin up and before you know it you will look back positively on this rubbish time you had because anxiety makes you stronger – you can deal with this, you can deal with anything!
Sending my love