Hi everyone. Today I am doing a collaboration post with the lovely Melodie from http://melodiebenson.wordpress.com/ about anxiety, stress and our personal experiences of them. You can also find Melodie on twitter @Melodie_Benson
Last year, it felt as though my world was falling apart. I spent my days crying in bed, and the thought of getting up pained me. The biggest problem though, was that I didn’t know what I was crying about. I started to cry more each day, however with all of my uni deadlines at the time, I assumed it was just the stress of them!
My deadlines came and went, and university was finished for the Summer. So why was I still crying? Why was I getting worse? I had no idea.
I moved back home, wondering whether I was homesick, but no, that wasn’t the case. I carried on getting worse to the point where I would be happily sat down, and then suddenly burst into tears for no reason at all. Going out was the worst. The thought of going anywhere scared the hell out of me, and I would avoid eating until I was home.
I didn’t know what caused this, but it was an uncontrollable feeling. When I was still in uni, I couldn’t even pop to Tesco’s (which was literally a 2 minute walk from my flat) without being sick first. If I arranged to meet a friend, I would be violently sick before I left, and would have to try and control it whilst I was out so that they wouldn’t notice – which often proved impossible.
It was getting me down, and I had no control to stop it. In June, I officially hit rock bottom. My parents tried everything to make me better but nothing could. In the end, I was rushed into the doctors to seek professional help. My doctor was lovely and understanding of what I said – even though half of it probably didn’t even make sense. She got me to fill in a questionnaire and then diagnosed me as “moderately depressed” with “severe anxiety”. By this point, I wasn’t eating at all. My parents were buying me “Complan” drinks so I got my nutrients and vitamins, and were trying to tempt me with solid foods, but it just wasn’t happening.
I was so happy when my doctor decided to put me on medication. That was my last bit of hope I had to get me better. As with most anti-depressants, I hit rock bottom (even further than before!) before there were any signs of me getting better. After a week or so, I very slowly gained colour to my face and attempted to eat tiny pieces of bread little and often to get me back to myself. I spent the summer having counselling sessions which also helped me understand the roots of my anxiety a little bit more.
Almost a year on and I’m feeling so much better. I’m still on the medication, but I keep soldiering on and am still improving by the day. I often have very bad patches with my anxiety still, but doesn’t everyone from time to time?
The support I have had from my family is incredible. Without them, I would definitely not be here today – I would have given up a long, long time ago. Even though at first my behaviour didn’t make sense to anyone (including me), they accepted it and understood it all the same. They have literally been my rock, and I couldn’t thank them enough.
I know how hard it is trying to get people to understand the uncontrollable thoughts and feelings inside your head, but don’t hold it in! If you have somebody close to you, sit and talk them through it – if they’re that special, they won’t judge you! Even if you don’t realise it, keeping it to yourself will make it worse. Talk about it. Let it all out – Trust me, it will feel as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
Even going to the doctors about it is never easy. All sorts of things were going through my head – “Will they think I’m a crazy person?”. No.. no they won’t. They have dealt with so many people like yourself in the past, it is a natural part of everybody and their job is to help you through it. If you can’t talk to a friend/family member about it, then perhaps talking to someone you don’t know that well will be better?
Writing about my anxiety, stress and feelings has helped me a great deal. Not only has it helped me express myself and feel more “free” from my thoughts, I have learnt that so many people suffer the same problem as me. I thought I was alone before, but since writing about it, so many people have stepped forward and told me that they have the exact same problem, and talking about it with them has helped me a great deal.
To anybody suffering anxiety, or thinks they are suffering anxiety, then I hope this post by myself and Melodie has helped you feel a bit more at ease. You’re never alone.
Without support, I would not be where I am today. Keep strong and keep positive – You can get through this.
A lot of my anxiety started when I began secondary school because of exam stress and social pressure. I used to hate going out in public and gave myself panic attacks thinking about it. I think a lot of my anxiety was due to lack of confidence in myself. When it came to exams I was an absolute nervous wreck! I like to think that I am fairly intelligent so being stressed about my exams seemed a little pointless to me yet I couldn’t help the way that I felt.
Talking to family/friends really helped to get my concerns out in the open and it often feels like they are not so bad once you have voiced them, getting another persons advise is also really helpful.
One things that I used to get most anxious about is the social side of school. I used to get on with my work at school and kept to myself most of the time. Still I felt a lot of pressure to fit in and wear what was in fashion. Being ‘popular’ at my secondary school was a huge thing. Now I think how ridiculous it was and shallow it was.
As I moved on in school I learnt to surround myself with the people who I considered to be my real friends. School was one of the most awful times of my life because of anxiety and peer pressure, I think no one should have to feel that way during their school years.
During my last year at school I met a guy who was several years older than me, we were together for just over a year when he sadly died in a work related accident. I didn’t tell anyone that he had died. I took this extremely badly and was in a very low place. Eventually I sought professional medical help, my doctor was lovely and very understanding which really helped since I was already nervous about talking to others about my issues. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and I have been on anti depressants ever since. They do make you feel worse to begin with but as time went on I began to feel better bit by bit. Along with the medication I am speaking to a counseller and both of these are helping me to recover.
I am not over my anxiety issues and I still get nervous about day to day things, although I am in a much better place than i was before. The best advice I can give is talk to someone, whether it is a friend, parent or professional help it really does help and I would definitely recommend it.
I would also like to share one of my favourite quotes with you, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’- Winston Churchill. This really helped me to get through some difficult times.
We would love to hear back from you. Please leave a comment with your thoughts or opinions. If you are going though something similar to Melodie and I please feel free to message us. It really does help to talk to somebody who knows exactly what you are going through.