This is a post I’ve wanted to make for a while but have not always had the confidence to make for a number of reasons. I think sometimes I feel as though anxiety disorders have become somewhat of a trend and everyone seems to have one, or maybe more people are willing to talk about it which is great. I’d also like to state now there is a difference between anxiety disorder and general anxiety, we all suffer from anxiety from time to time, it keeps us on our toes and it’s perfectly human. Meanwhile anxiety disorders can be completely debilitating and can prevent you from doing the things you love. For some there are certain triggers for panic attacks, the unfamiliar, crowded places or public transport, while for others it can hit at random. Often there is nothing you can do it and panic attacks can be scary, some even having similar symptoms to a heart attack, feeling dizzy and faint there is a lot more too them than meets the eye and obviously every ones disorder is different.
I have had underlying symptoms of an anxiety disorder since the age of 5 often struggling with unexpected situations but the disorder really presented itself and its strong hold ages 8 through 10. It sort of happened suddenly and took hold immediately, suffering regular panic attacks from when I woke up at about 7 am right through to lunch time and then they’d start again from about 5pm until I fell asleep. Every day for about 18months. This is where my awful snacking habits came from because for nearly 2 years the only time I could really manage to eat anything would be an hour slot between 3 to 4 in the afternoon and it’s a snack thing that hits me even know. It was completely debilitating and there was nothing that could be done about it, I was trapped in a cycle. I honestly cannot imagine what it was like for my parents. At one point my mum even thought that I might have to be home schooled and worried about me completing my education.
I am lucky I had a supportive family, and a dedicated doctor and school who sought for me to get help initially externally and then internally where I saw councillors not only from the school but had a specialist come in to see me. I am very fortunate that my parents and others chose this type of therapy for me, it took time but I learnt skills that have been useful coping even now and if I was medicated I would still be on them now, medication is often a permanent solution and it is not always as effective. The cause was never fully established but the most important thing was that I was getting better. Studying psychology later in life and finding more about the treatment options I’m glad I had CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), allowing me without realising to shape my own recovery and learn techniques I subconsciously use to help me cope.
I’ve had on off episodes throughout my life and always come out the other end, there is always another end. Nothing lasts forever and you can get better. My current issue is extended periods of time on public transport if I have to do it on my own for example visiting my boyfriend in Cornwall which is something that prompted me to write this post. I felt anxious all the way to the train station, I got on the train and had a huge panic attack but I stayed, I wanted to see my boyfriend so I had to stay on the train. Then we had the whole carry on which just exasperated my problem, if you haven’t see it I have an entire post written on it here. I am not like most people I choose to do the things that make me panic, sure its horrible but if I didn’t do it I’d be worse the time after or just never do it. I want to get the message out that is that YOU CAN DO THIS. I know often hearing it doesn’t help, every time I get on a train and panic my boyfriends texts me saying ‘You’ll be fine, you’ve done it countless times before’. I know it doesn’t always help buy you just have to keep telling yourself to breathe and tell yourself that you can do this nothing will happen. You will panic and it may be horrible, but don’t let it take over your life. I mentioned before my mum worried about me completing my education, well I have not only did I do my GCSE’s and A-levels, this summer I am Graduating with Upper Second Class Honours in Economics BA(hons). I am proof you can get out the other side. You will struggle from time to time, you’re human and natural but there is another side, it will get better. We also all have our setbacks but don’t let them hold you back from what you want to do.
So if you or someone you know suffers let them know there is another side and it will get better. Seek help and talk to others there is no point suffering in silence, therapy works if you have access to it and if not speak to your doctor about counselling. We are lucky with charities like MIND and more people willing to talk about it that many disorders have much less of stigma attached to it and there are way more options now.
Thank you to anyone who has stuck out to read this I know its long but it is something that I have wanted to say for ages but haven’t had the confidence to do so.