Sunday, 18 September 2016

So this is an incredibly strange post for me to write, as It’s probably the first time I have ever written this down and perhaps the third time I am even talking about this subject. It’s about mental health, something that’s grown to be very important to me and I decided the best way to push an awareness, is to talk about my own mental health. After my girl Kayleigh published her own mental health story, inspired by the controversial tag on twitter #justgoforawalk (completely ignorant in my opinion) which I found incredibly honest and I am so proud of her for making an awareness that our mental health is just as important as psychical, I thought I would too write a mental health blog post as part of my ‘real talk’ series. I feel like I’ve been wanting to make a post like this for a long time as only in the past couple of years have I started to understand what’s been wrong with me, and it’s all thanks to my best friend who also suffers from anxiety.

I remember the very first time I ever had an anxiety attack, it was random, I was about fifteen and all of a sudden I found I couldn't walk up the stairs into the art building because I felt as if no air was getting into my chest. That’s how I’d describe it, I felt sick, no air is coming out of me and my stomach is riddled with what feels like ‘butterflies’. They’re nasty butterflies, they make me feel overwhelmed which turns into fear. They’re incredibly uncomfortable. This didn’t just happen the once, I felt it all the time walking up the stairs to art but at the time anxiety wasn’t a thing, I never once heard an adult or fellow fifteen year old turn around and say ‘man, that anxiety is a bitch.’ I had no idea why I felt so nervous to a point I felt sick, when I didn’t even get nervous for tests. This is something I rarely speak of because I try to block it from my memory, but I think I suffered from anxiety because I experienced online bullying from stupid kids I went to school with. Kids can be mean, girls can be worse and when you’re a teenager you can get bullied for anything. I feel stupid even writing that, I got online bullied ugh. ‘Popular’ girls would laugh at what I wore because it was different, move my stuff when we got changed for PE, stupid things online like I was ‘copying’ other girls in my class because Rihanna had got red hair so everyone got red hair, even though I definitely did it because I wanted to be like Hayley Williams so bad. I hated a lot of the girls I went to school with because they were awful people, but then I simply stopped caring when I met my BEST friend, who distracted me from any problem I had at school. I just didn’t care anymore, I had a friend who loved me for me and wanted to spend time with me, so I just didn’t care if I wanted to be different. So why did I get anxiety walking into a class I loved such as art? Why not PE where kids moved my stuff? 

I realised I suffered with anxiety when I went off to university and met my housemate who I am happy to call one of my best friends, we think the same way, I can tell her anything, and from living with her for three years we poured our hearts out completely to each other. It wasn’t till meeting her that I realised I had anxiety, she suffered with it as a teenager really bad and still had the odd spells (not as frequent) but the pieces all started to make sense as she told me her story. Up until the age of 19 (when I went away to university) I had a number of run ins with anxiety, I’m going to call them minor but they left me looking at myself wondering why I was being such a…weirdo? I hate the word freak, I would NEVER use it, but I felt close to, to describe myself when I had an anxiety attach. Panic attacks feel worse, I have them when I drink a little too much or if I’m upset, I never want to have one again. I had a boyfriend once who treated me like utter shit, when we broke up it was hard to move on because we saw each other every day at college, we were on and off constantly because we couldn’t get away, but I think it turned him into a cruel human being. He would turn people against me, take girls that I hated on dates despite having no interest in them, just so at the end of the night when he turned up at my house I would get in his car and stay at his. He’d throw parties and invite all my friends but not me, despite telling everyone we were still together, just so I felt alone so when he came round I’d feel like I only had him. He was manipulative and it drove me insane, he’d regularly tell me I didn’t have any friends because they all went off to university, so I only had him. He’d even tell me that I didn’t like going back to my house because it was too crowded, so I would stay at his all weekend because I could have space to chill (just with him of course). 
He’d get up in the middle of the night and check my phone to see who I had been texting, waking me up to shout at me for texting any male on my contact list, even if it was just about an assignment or something. At college the next day he’d call me all sort of names, telling people I was slutty, but then ask me if he could drive me home, only to take me to his house. Instead of doing anything about it I would just go to his house and sleep. All day. His mum would make small jokes about it, that I never came downstairs and I was always asleep, but I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I’d get straight in bed coming home from college and sleep till ten at night, be up for a couple of hours to get food then sleep again. I didn’t want to talk about anything, I felt like crap constantly, betrayed by someone I loved, so I just slept. How can that be right at all? Thank god I got out of that situation when I went away to university, which is where I did get anxiety attacks more often, I just knew what was happening.

Walking into the library for the first time; anxiety attack. People walking to close to me; anxiety attack. Going on dates and getting there before my date does; anxiety attack. Instead of going into a bar which I had gone into perhaps four times a week that summer, I waited outside in the snow for half an hour, got a taxi out of town in a panic, when my date text to ask where I was I got the taxi to stop, and ran back into town. It took me twenty minutes running. Every time anxiety stops me from doing something normal I feel like an absolute weirdo. It’s always happens when I’m out of my comfort zone, but sometimes it’s over random things and it makes me so angry! I had a drink with some friends at work for the first time and had to rush home mid pint because I had to throw up I was that scared to sit with them. I came back from holiday to work and couldn’t step through the front door, my brain suddenly told me everyone disliked me. It did this in high school too, I think it tries to betray me. I’d go home for a few days and return to my student house, convinced my house mates hated me because they didn’t see as cheerful as I was that day. I’d go upstairs scared to go back down in case they did. I feel pathetic writing that, but it happens a lot, especially with starting a new job. I haven’t felt an ‘episode’ happen coming on in months which is great because I think I’m super comfortable with my life right now. The last time I had an attack was when I was visiting my Boyfriend’s place of work for the first time (which I go in daily and my friends work there too) and because I’d turned up twenty minutes early, I couldn’t go in so I sat outside hiding on some steps. I feel like an idiot and that’s at the age of twenty two, so my point is mental health issues, mine being anxiety, happens to everyone. All ages. From being young to still suffering, but it’s still there all the same. You shouldn’t dismiss mental health, ever. Psychical pain when minor can go away, but mental pain is there constantly in your head, clouding your judgment on everything. I consider everything from all angles, how will someone answer my questions, what out comes could happen from me simply saying hi?! And to have someone dismiss this problem I have, like many others, because it’s not psychical? There needs to be more of an awareness on mental health because it matters. If kids had been told about mental illness, maybe I wouldn’t have gone through my teenage years thinking I was an absolute mess who needed to sleep to escape my problems of being in a really bad relationship.

I hope you found this post useful guys, I hope it’s brought attention to mental health and I wish for you that you haven’t experienced anything that I have. I wish anxiety would go away for you, because it kills me inside when I feel it happening. I wish people wouldn’t dismiss mental health and tell us to just go for a walk. You can’t walk off something that’s affected your life since being a kid.

What are your thoughts on mental health?

Until next time guys,  

1 comment

  1. This was so brave of you to write and post, you should be so proud! I suffer from anxiety as well, it's awful. Some days I'm okay then others I'm awful. I can't be on my own because of it, I get such bad panic that something bad is going to happen. Over the years I have had a lot of treatment, it's helping but if I'm honest some of the advice they give is bull. Going out to get exercise? Having a bath? How is that going to help?! I think we need to all be talking about this more then hopefully someone will see and listen. I'm so happy people talk about this more but we do need more help!

    Stay strong hun!

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