Note: I chose not to re-read what I have written for fear of choosing not to post it, so please excuse any grammatical errors (or sentences they may not make sense)!
This is a blog I have been contemplating writing for a very, very long time, however I have never had the guts to do so…until now. Today I have realised how serious my battle with anxiety has gotten & I feel like it is something I can’t hide anymore. The reason I have been so hesitant to share this is that a lot of people won’t understand and the fear of people mocking me or thinking I am insane. Funnily enough that is my motivation for finally writing this. The stigma associated with mental illness means less people seek support and help which in some cases can lead to suicide. It’s not nice to feel alone and feel like nobody understands you and at times that’s how anxiety feels. I will try and keep this blog short enough that it doesn’t bore you to tears but I also want to make sure that at the end of reading this you will have a better understanding of what anxiety sufferers go through on a daily basis. So let’s get into it…
When I was about 10 years old I had my first ever panic attack. I was sitting on the couch watching the news and all of a sudden I felt very frightened for absolutely no reason. At the time I didn’t understand what was happening and as a normal kid does when they are scared, I started crying. I couldn’t explain to my parents what was wrong so they took me to bed and read me a book until I calmed down enough to go to sleep. The next day I was completely fine. About 2 years later I had my second panic attack on my first day of year 7. Now here is where I am going to tell you what my anxiety is based around, and I want to remind you that this is a realistic fear although you may think its stupid (and to be honest so do I). On school holidays the summer before school returned, I had bad tonsillitis and had to take some medication before heading to Rockhampton with my parents for an appointment. On the way there the medication had a bad effect on me and I ended up vomiting everything in my stomach. In the car. In the middle of Rocky. Since then I have had a very intense fear of vomiting. Stemming from that I have a horrible fear of vomiting in public. So on the first day of year 7 I showed up to school terrified I would throw up there. Long story short, I ended up with a severe eating disorder and weighing merely 28kg at 12 years of age. I managed to “get over” the fear and gain back a decent amount of weight. In 2005 we moved to Chinchilla and I changed schools, even then my anxiety didn’t return. I managed to live without anxiety until around September 2007 where I had an ovarian cyst burst and became very ill. I missed a lot of school and ended up dropping out due to constant panic attacks and not being able to catch up on the work. After quite a bit of Bowen therapy I managed to overcome my anxiety and get a job. I was once again fine until my boyfriend (now husband) proposed. Then I turned into an absolute wreck. I was waking up every night having a panic attack and could barely eat. This anxiety has continued on since then, with only very brief periods of normality.
My anxiety definitely isn’t as bad as what it has been previously, however it is at the point where it is significantly effecting my life. I am unable to go to large shopping centres on my own, even going with Jamie takes a lot of convincing. I get nervous going to small things like Doctor’s appointments or even taking Hunter to the Chiropractor & swimming lessons. I’ll try to briefly explain what happens when I have a panic attack, but I will write a separate blog in the near future explaining it further. My panic attacks generally start off with my heart racing and my breathing speeding up, I will then start shaking and sweating, when it gets close to its peak (which I will explain more in the other blog) I literally feel so frightened that I feel like I am going to die. The only way I can explain it that you may understand is, think of the fear you would feel if someone were to break into your house, think of how that would make you feel. Now imagine feeling that fear every time you go to a shopping centre etc. That’s what it’s like to have anxiety. It is exhausting mentally and physically. It is also extremely debilitating. It can absolutely ruin your life if you let it. Which is why I chose to write this, I want others to know it is okay to reach out for help. It is okay to admit you are struggling. Having anxiety doesn’t make you “weak” or “insane” it just means your mind has a different way of coping with stress.
I am currently doing up a mental health plan with my new GP (who is so amazing, I’m so glad I’ve found her) and will be commencing counselling within the next few weeks.
Today has been a very difficult day. Whilst I have known for a while that I have been suffering severe anxiety, it is still very hard to have a medical professional tell you that you need to get help. Today I feel like I am failing as a mother and wife because I can’t be like everyone else. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be “normal” but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. That is why I am getting help. I want to be able to take my son to whatever he wants to do, whether it be sports or any other activity. I want to be able to go to a mother’s group or even just have the confidence to meet new people. Having anxiety makes you very isolated and definitely makes it difficult to make new friends, being in a new town where we barely know anyone makes it even harder.
Anyway that is all for now! This has been one of the hardest blogs to write and it will be even harder to click “Publish” on, but it is something I have to do.
Thank you for your continued support!
Love you all