Before you start reading this post, I’d just like to say that it’s taken a long time for me to click the ‘publish’ button on this post. It’s been something that my anxiety has been rearing it’s ugly head at and I’ve been self conscious about posting this. I am not writing this to gain sympathy but just to help make people aware of these illnesses – because that’s what they are. Mental illnesses which can be hard to control and realise.
I know that for a lot of you out there, Anxiety and Depression is something you struggle to deal with everyday. I know that for me, it’s something that was very difficult to come to terms with at first.
‘I have depression’ is not a phrase that I thought I would ever have to say to myself.
What is it that they say? The first step of recovery is realising you have a problem.That’s what I had to do. Realise that staying in bed all day every day and not seeing any of my friends and family wasn’t healthy for me and that something was wrong. It took me a while to realise this, to understand that I was in a bad place and that it wasn’t normal for me to be feeling this way.
At the beginning of last year (2012), I became seriously ill with Glandular Fever. It knocked all of my motivation and energy out of me and as a result I was sleeping 23hr days and didn’t eat for at least 3 weeks. Because of the GF I missed 5 months of school (at this point I was in Year 12 – the first year of my A-Levels) and eventually had to drop out as I couldn’t cope with the energy needed to attend lessons and concentrate for long periods of time, in fact I often fell asleep in the one or two lessons a week that I eventually managed to start attending. After a long hard think, with the help of my parents, I decided that leaving education for the time being was the best idea for me. After taking a couple of months out of education and work to make sure that I was recovered more from the GF, I started a full time apprenticeship as a receptionist at a local Doctor’s Surgery. This lasted roughly six months and I did not complete my NVQ as I did not get on with my boss at all and issues in my personal life became far too much of an interesting subject for her (talk about nosy, eh?!). I then began another job and well, let’s just say that after a Christmas Period of working in a retail store and then falling down the stairs and seriously injuring my wrist, having to leave yet another job, things got on top of me.
I was unemployed, injured and it felt like I had no friends. I started spending all of my time alone, away from my family and tucked up in my bed. It felt like I had GF all over again – except this time I wasn’t ill. I’d made the decisions myself to stay in bed day after day, eat very little and not talk to anybody. I fell into a depressive slump and my everyday routines became blurred, mixing into one big day, sleeping when I wanted, doing what I wanted (which was often barely anything) and generally being a very unhappy person. It took me a very long time to get myself out of this slump, but then I still wasn’t better. I thought I was – all of my new found energy, I thought I was ‘cured’ of my depression (If there is such a thing), I began going out whenever I could. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights – drinking everything insight, getting far too drunk far too often. It wasn’t good and it took a lot of my friends and family members to make me realise what I was doing to myself.
A few months on from those times, I feel better in myself now, but the depression still creeps back sometimes, I find it a little easier to deal with now as I’m aware of the symptoms in myself. I just feel very lucky that I have a great support system behind me, my family and my friends are amazing at keeping me focused on the good and not the bad in my life.
I also suffer with anxiety, nothing to severe but it still has a massive impact on my decisions and my everyday life. Depression and anxiety don’t always come hand in hand, but for me, I’ve always suffered with anxiety. Whenever I feel uncomfortable, vulnerable or anxious I begin having Panic attacks. They can range anywhere between very mild, where I feel overly anxious and can start shaking slightly, to very extreme – where I can be crying and shaking uncontrollably, find it difficult to breathe and am frozen in place.
For me, I find it really difficult to deal with my panic attacks, it takes me a really long time to calm down and I find that I need to be alone for this; If anybody attempts to calm me or talk to me when I’m in the midst of a panic attack, it just gets me more on edge and can make things worse.
Realising when I’m in the process of getting a panic attack coming on is the difficult part, trying to prevent myself from having one is difficult and I haven’t fully mastered it – I don’t think I ever will, but I know that there are a couple of things that I can do to help myself. Taking myself out of the situation I’m in is my first step, this always helps me calm myself down quickly and not have to face whatever has set my anxiety off to begin with. The second thing I do (especially if I am in a situation that I cannot remove myself from) is to try and clear my head and think of other things, things that make me happy and not so uneasy. It’s difficult to do because your brain is working over time on the panicking, but its something that I find really does help – at least until I can remove myself from the situation.
There are a lot of things that can set of my anxiety, most recently it’s been seeing an ex-boyfriend around. Even hearing his name makes my heart start racing faster and I feel extremely uneasy. It wasn’t just a normal relationship, I was the victim of a guy who was much older than he told me he was (try 30!!) and tried to groom me. I was in a terrible place then, but that story is for another time (when I am actually allowed to discuss it). It’s made me so on edge that I am now unable to sleep with my bedroom door shut. It’ll take me a while, but I’m currently working on a program with my mother, which will hopefully rid me of this issue and feeling and help me gradually close it. Agiain, as with the depression, realising the symptoms and starting factors of my panic attacks is helping me begin to control them. It’ll be a long road ahead (much longer than my depression) but I’m determined to get a grip on it and sort it out. It controlls so much of my life and I’d hate for it to become much more of a major problem for me. It’s an ongoing battle, but I’m getting there.
Do you suffer with depression of anxiety?
What helps you when you have a panic attack?
Let me know in the comments below.