I published my last Hey, It’s Okay… in July this year and if you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while you will remember it was a monthly series back in 2016. These posts are always raw and honest and this could perhaps be the most personal yet. I wanted to write it before the end of the year so you can understand where my head has been at and try to leave as much of these feelings in 2017 as I can.
If you asked me a couple of years ago what anxiety was I would have put it in the same category as other mental illnesses and understood it was very serious but I didn’t actually know what it was or how it affected people; not in a naive way but I didn’t know enough to form an explanation.
Honestly, I had a difficult time this year and I’m still getting over it. My mum was seriously ill and I was not only worried about her but things at my old job came to a head. I started to feel trapped and insular and I was just getting up each day because I had to. I was tired all the time, some days I would feel sick and I was just low. I vividly remember Mothers Day in May. I was working half a day from 9am-1pm and the whole morning I felt sick to my stomach, I was shaking and I had a strange feeling like I couldn’t breathe. The feeling of not being able to breathe became more regular. I suffer from asthma but it was a much tighter feeling and higher up my chest. I wondered if the breathlessness was a side effect of my contraceptive pill – I now know it wasn’t.
I’d been to my doctor about the tiredness and had blood tests done and my B12 levels were a bit low so I purchased some supplements which at the time I think did help. The stress and breathlessness weren’t going away and I returned to the doctor (in tears each time) and he said it sounds like I’d been having panic attacks. I knew that was a symptom of anxiety but I brushed it off because in my head I didn’t realise how bad things had got. I will state I have not been diagnosed with anxiety and I don’t take any medication for it but I did get help and I am thankful. I saw a counselor and the first session was so hard because it meant letting the thoughts in my head out and having to tell someone and have them listen. I had four sessions in total.
Now when I look back at myself during that time it feels like I was a completely different person. I was scared and I felt like I was going crazy but the panic and the angst were very real. It also made me realise that I am naturally an anxious person but during that period the anxiousness was out of control and it wasn’t ‘normal’. Everyone has a different idea of what normal is and what affects one person might not affect another but that’s why we should be so mindful, who are we to judge someone else’s pain.
At the time no one really knew what I was going through apart from my mum. My boyfriend kind of knew but I tried to be strong and I didn’t want my anxiety to get in the way of our time together. I didn’t purposely not tell people but I went through it by myself as there wasn’t really anyone to lean on for support. I know I am strong and going through this made me tougher. There is nothing more important than happiness and being happy. I was brave enough to step away from a toxic situation.
I am still getting over everything and still have days where I feel anxious or don’t have a lot of energy and feel tired. I now accept that I do get symptoms of anxiety but from now on I will be better equipped on how they present themselves and how to deal with them. I don’t want to ever go back to that place.
Do you or anyone you know get anxious? I hope this post can help someone who might be going through a tough time. Thank you for reading.