This post is by inspired the incredible Charlotte from MombieDiaries, who I have had the pleasure of interviewing (post to come). It’s sad in this day and age that some of us still find it hard to talk about mental health issues, despite the awareness campaigns that are now in place. The idea behind Charlotte’s campaign is to get people talking even more, and to show how you shouldn’t be afraid to share your story. One of the aims is to spread #anxieteaandme across social media. I don’t know about you, but tea always helps me in times of crisis, and if you’re letting your struggles with mental health be heard for the first time, which is nerve wracking to say the least, a cup of tea provides a great deal of comfort. So, pop the kettle on and join me and my incredibly large, almost-the-size-of-my-face mug for an honest discussion.
I know I have done a post about my anxiety experiences, but that was almost 2 years ago! However, I did cover some other details in that post, such as previous blogging and physical health aspects, which I will leave for now, but for a more detailed description, you can find everything in My Story.
As you no doubt know from my many previous ramblings on the blog, it all kicked off in January 2012, with the revelation that I had Hydrocephalus and the whole crazy hospital panic and almost having brain surgery (again, see the My Story post for more details). Anyway, for the next few years when I was still in my early teens, things just went back to normal.
However, once I started getting older and realising more about the condition, that’s when things started to spiral for me. Every time I got the slightest headache, I would panic and feel really low. These spells did not happen much though and usually occurred when I had a hospital check up as it would force me to think about everything again.
Then came the rather distressing time of Autumn 2015, when my anxiety decided to completely blow up. Whilst people constantly tell you it’s all in your head, it feels real during spells of anxiety. I saw a great tweet the other day by @pigletish about how with physical conditions, e.g. a kidney infection, is all in your kidney, and that would be deemed as a valid point, so why should it be different with mental health and being in your head?
Any road up, Autumn 2015 was bad. I couldn’t go into school, and I was doing my A Levels, so it wasn’t good timing and I spent weeks at home. My panic attacks got out of control, and there were some night time trips to A&E and morphine used to help me relax and stop hyperventilating. I was convinced the Hydrocephalus was causing me problems.
It wasn’t just the health anxiety though that got me like this. There are many forms of anxiety, whether that be health, social or a specific phobia, as well as many more. I deal with some social anxiety too. To quote my previous post:
I struggled with going to school, not only because of my anxiety about my health and wanting to stay at home with my mum and dad, but I also have never been your typical student. I do not drink alcohol and I hate going out at night to club and bars etc. I do like to socialise, but I am a daytime person. My idea of a perfect day is finding some lovely artisan craft fair to explore, have lunch somewhere nice, blogging, having a nice hot bath and going to bed to watch Strictly! I would much rather spend time looking round a National Trust property with my parents than do all the stereotypical stuff associated with students. This made it really to go back into school as I felt like I did not fit in.
Honestly, that opinion is still the case today, but I am lucky to have met some lovely friends at university whose student existence is not solely revolved around ‘going out’.
Where were we? Oh yes. I started to regain control of my thoughts and feelings around Christmas 2015. I’d had a few psychiatrist and CBT sessions, but honestly at the end of the day, I just needed time to get myself of the black hole. Time is important when it comes to mental health, as a main difficulty can be accepting that your mind is creating these problems.
I’m not saying I’m completely fine now. I still have flares ups and days when I don’t feel 100%. When I look back at where I was back in 2015, shaking and crying and feeling physically sick, that’s enough to wake me up because I never want to be in that position again and I feel that I have a better outlook on life and am stronger because of it.
Ok, time to wind things up. I know I’ve gone into a lot of detail, and you may be shocked reading this, but we need to be honest with ourselves. We need to talk more about mental health, understand the effects and share our experiences. That way, it might be easier for people to accept that they are dealing with mental health issues, instead of seeing tragic results like we have seen in the media recently, where people do something tragic like taking their own lives when they are far too young.
It’s time to speak up about mental health, so please join MombieDiaries’ incredible #anxieteaandme campaign.