This week is Mental Health Awareness week and so I wanted to talk to you. This week all of my post will be centred around mental health to help raise awareness and help to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Last year during this week I made a post called Anxiety where I opened up to you all about my person experiences with mental health. It was a really difficult and scary post to make but I am so glad that I did. You were all so nice to me and so supportive so today I wanted to take the opportunity to give you a little update on my anxiety.
Last year I talked about wanting to be more open about my anxiety. Besides my sister, no one in my family knew that I had sent the last 6 years dealing with this, and only a couple of my friends knew. And I wanted to change that. I know that keeping this all bottled up and internalising it really doesn’t help, in fact for me it makes my anxiety worse. There have been times in the past where I have made myself anxious about having anxiety, which is fucking stupid. So over the last year I have forced myself to be a lot more open and honest about it. both of my parents now know that I have anxiety and that it is something that I struggle with, which is a huge step forward to me. I still don’t like talking about it, and I always try to make light of it, but I am trying. They don’t know the full extent of it but, they know that this is a part of me. A few members of my extended family know as well. Mainly because of an incident.
For my most part my anxiety hasn’t been too bad for the last year. I have only had a couple of panic attacks, which is amazing. And I put a lot of that progress down to being more open about when I am feeling anxious and not keeping it all bottled up. But around this time last year I had an incident. I had a really, really bad week. Not only was I really stressed and not very happy that week, I had been grabbed by some nutter while at the train station and shoved through the ticket barriers. Cue panic attack. But two days after that incident I was still super on edge and not feeling very great and I had to go to a family party, which I really didn’t want to do. but I went because it was someone’s birthday and I couldn’t not. While there I started to feel really anxious. There wasn’t one trigger for it. I was already on edge and it was really load and hot and there where so many people. It was claustrophobic and just all a bit too much. I ended up on the verge of a panic attack and had to walk out. And I basically didn’t go back. One of my cousins came and found me sitting on a wall just down the road crying and trying not to hyper ventilate and we went for a walk (well stumble as he was very drunk at the time) but we talked and he helped soothe me and eventually handed me off to my dad who had come to find me to make sure I was alright. and now most of my extended family know that I have some form of anxiety.
I still feel a bit iffy about everyone knowing. If I think too much about the fact that everyone knows I actually start to feel a bit anxious. I really wish I didn’t feel this way. It should be a relief, a nice thing, to have people who love me know. to know that they are there is I need them. but for me it doesn’t. It just makes me a bit uncomfortable and anxious. I think maybe because I am a very private person and I have kept this to myself for so long, it just doesn’t feel right having other people know. My anxiety is a personal, private thing. It has been for so long.
I will be 100% honest with you and admit that the last few months have been hard. My nan passed away very suddenly just before Christmas and it wasn’t until the new year that it really hit home. I think I was concentrating so hard on holding it together for my mum’s sake that I didn’t really let myself grieve and deal with it properly. I am finally starting to feel like myself again but for a few months I really didn’t. I felt really low and flat. And my anxiety was pretty bad. It was always just there, under the surface, waiting to explode. Thankfully I am staring to feel more myself again now and my anxiety is starting to get a bit better again. But I have redeveloped anxiety induced insomnia. Again, it is slowly getting a bit better, but I am so deeply tired at the moment. I can feel it in my bones. I don’t think that I have had a proper night’s sleep since November.
But all in all I think that over the last year I have made a lot of progress. I actually openly discuss my anxiety with my sister now. I know that I can tell her if I am feeling anxious and she will do whatever she can to help the situation. For instance, we went on holiday to Paris in March and at one point I was feeling really anxious and uneasy and I told her and she got me to one side, made sure I was okay and let me just calm down. And I am really thankful for that. I honestly don’t know how I dealt with this alone for so long.
But I want to do more. I still avoid situations that I think will make me anxious and I want to change. For instance, a few weeks ago Fall Out Boy, one of my all-time favourite bands, where playing the O2 and I really, really wanted to go. But I didn’t, because I was convinced that I would just end up having a panic attack. And I don’t want to live like that. I want to try and do things that I want to do, I want to enjoy life, not just cruise through it. So moving forward I want to push myself more and not be afraid. I don’t want to let anxiety rule my life anymore.
And that is all I really have to say. I am so proud of the progress that I have made in the last year and I really hope that I can continue to make a change for the positive. If you are struggling with mental illness, please don’t be afraid to speak out. I have left some links below where you can find help if you need it as well as my email address. I am always here to talk. I hope you guys have enjoyed this little update, I love you all, and I will see you all again soon.
Mind UK – 0300 123 3393 (or text 86463)
Smaraitans – 116 123
Crisis Helpline (USA) – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
My Email Address – firstname.lastname@example.org (I check it daily)