Anxiety; the illness that takes hold of its victims and never lets them go, different to every sufferer but the deep-rooted panic is all the same. It can send you into a self-fulfilling prophecy of ‘I have anxiety so I am anxious’, or it can act as a kick up the ass, a catalyst.
It wasn’t until late last year that I began to realise anxiety would be in my life for a long time, whether I liked it or not. My experiences with it heightened during my final years of University, where it took me into that self-fulfilling prophecy whilst also kicking me up the ass. With my anxiety, comes a pretty-specific and unhealthy fear, it takes me straight to the worst-case scenario in most situations.
Anxiety became that kick up the backside which is self-destructing. It created a drive within me to overcompensate, overachieve, and never appear weak or vulnerable. I put pressure upon myself to act and live just like an average healthy person would; it was like I couldn’t come to terms with having a mental illness, I didn’t want people to know I wasn’t OK, I didn’t want to be seen as crazy. It creeps up on you without a warning. You could be in a room full of people, feeling great; and it hits you. The feeling of questioning your sanity and ability to do pretty much any and everything, and it’s pretty damn overwhelming.
You never get taught about mental health when you’re younger, so when it springs up on you as an adult, literally mind fucking you; you don’t really know how to feel. I remember feeling insane and isolated. How are you supposed to feel ‘self-love’ when you don’t understand how or why you’re acting and feeling the way you are?
Recently I have began studying a CBT & Counselling course, which helps me understand the approaches and ways to help those suffering. And is helping me power my experiences into good use – gotta love that kick in the ass eh?
Here’s some advice I can offer:
1) You’re not crazy.
It’s so easy to feel with such a mental health issue, but you’re not crazy. You can and will be okay.
2) Seek treatment.
We’re all afraid to face our mental health, I initially feared sounding crazy, misunderstood, weak. Doctors get that it’s a medical condition; and they can offer talking therapy or medication. Both of which sound daunting and best left for another day.
I always felt a weight was lifted off my shoulders when talking; whether that’d be with a counsellor, friend or just writing it all down.
3) You aren’t alone.
If you’re reading this, and your suffering, just know you aren’t alone. Each suffer from anxiety has different ways of dealing with it, but we have all been where you are, and know how you feel.
4)Don’t ignore it.
Wounds are always treated, no matter how big or small. So imagine if you were to leave a wound untreated, eventually it would infect and be a bigger issue; think of anxiety and panic like this too.
5) Rid yourself of negativity.
If you think there’s something or someone in your life who brings negativity to it – get rid. With your mental health being a priority, you don’t need more to add to your plate. Whatever it is, it’s not worth suffering over.
Everything that has happened in your life thus far, the good, the bad, happy or sad, has lead you to be the person you are today. So how about you take this moment of reflection as the start of something new; only you can define who you are.