It’s been Mental Health Awareness week this week so I felt like I wanted to share my journey through living with anxiety. I wanted to share with you all how I’ve learnt to come to terms with the fact I will always have it. How I’ve learnt to suppress it.
Anxiety never fully leaves. I believe once you have it you will always have it. Unfortunately, it’s that little daemon that sits on the sidelines of your life waiting to trip you up when you least expect it. You might feel like you’re totally winning at life, everything is going smoothly and then BAM anxiety gets in front of you and you stumble.
This all sounds pretty horrid, doesn’t it? Well, it is, and y’know what makes it worse, when people don’t understand why you act a certain way when that little bugger shows up in your life. So if you’re reading this and you’ve never had anxiety but you might know someone who is showing similar signs in their behaviour then maybe do something to let them know you care without pushing to get answers from them.
Where it all started
My journey started back in 2014/2015. I was pretty low, I would say I had depression. It all started when I was out with friends one evening I suddenly felt my chest get tight, my heart racing and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I was having a panic attack. I then went on to have a few more of these, in similar social situations before my sister (oh she’s a Gem… quite literally her name is Jem) suggested I go and see a hypnotherapist. So I did, and omg did it help. I believe it gave me the tools I needed to help me no longer have panic attacks.
However, anxiety never left. For the last three years, I’ve put off seeing friends, thought of every excuse in the book not to go to a party/social event that has people I don’t really know. I’ve had days where I will argue with my loved ones because anxiety is telling me “you can’t trust them” “they will leave you” “they won’t be there when you need them” and I listened. There have been days where I don’t even want to get out of bed, I’ve cried myself to sleep. I’ve been at rock bottom thinking I am so worthless that I can never see myself being happy.
I obviously had good days through the last three years, days where I felt like I had accomplished something. Days when I was so happy I wanted to bottle it up and take a sip on those really bad days.
QUICK TIP: if you’re reading this and you know someone who is suffering, DON’T force them to speak to you. Just offer a nice gesture, a card saying “your amazing” or a funny postcard from paperchase that reminds you of them in a good way. This might be the little helping hand they need to figure out what the best way to deal with whatever they might be feeling.
Here comes the scary part. Being brutally honest with you all.
I believe my anxiety has stemmed from my parent’s separation. Through emotional trauma created in my childhood, that has been carried through into my adult life.
In no way do I resent my parents now, as to come through the other side of emotional trauma you need to learn to forgive and move forward. You can never forget and I think that’s the hardest part. However, I feel as if at 24 and becoming a parent myself I am finally learning to deal with that part of my life and move forward without carrying hate with me.
I have used different techniques, therapies and self-care rituals (yes they are rituals as I have to do them regularly) to help with my anxiety. (I will be writing a self-care post soon)
When I became pregnant with Arthur I realised that I had a lot of work to do on myself to become the best person I could be to bring up a happy, healthy and content child. I never ever want Arthur to suffer from any type of mental health illness as it is seriously hard. The thought of him going through anything like I have been through breaks my heart.
I decided to go to my doctors and get professional help. I needed to reach the root of my problems with someone who could help me properly. Allow me to talk about the things that affected me and offer me advise that has helped others in a similar situation. I had a few sessions of DBT and CBT.
What are DBT and CBT
DBT stands for Dialectical behaviour therapy, it is based on CBT but helps people who experience emotions very intensely. You can read more about it on the >mind website<. From my personal experience, I feel this helped me figure out ways of dealing with these intense emotions when they arise. I have endless notepads that I write down my worries. DBT taught me why I was feeling a certain way, and this then lead me to crystal and chakra healing. I have realised that I feel and pick up on other peoples emotions, vibes a lot more than your average joe. This why I use crystals and meditation to help navigate those energies and emotions into the right space.
CBT stands for Cognitive behavioural therapy. It’s a talking treatment that helps you navigate your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that affect your behaviour and emotions. This allowed me to talk freely to someone about all the things I was feeling without suggestions being pushed at me left right and centre. It allowed me to talk to someone completely impartial who didn’t know anything about my life apart from what I was telling them. It was therapeutic.
Where I’m at now
I am in a completely different space than I was this time last year and I feel a lot more content and at peace with who I am than I ever have been before.
I am building on relationships that I have found difficult in the past.
The sad, difficult days are at an all-time minimum and my anxiety is slowly becoming something I recognise quicker, which makes it easier to put in place those skills I have learnt to keep it at bay.
It sounds like a huge cliché but I believe Arthur has saved me. I put taking care of myself first because I know if I don’t I won’t be the best mum I can be to Arthur.
When I say I put myself first, obviously sometimes this doesn’t happen. I’ve had to hold a wee for 45 mins before because Arthur isn’t settling. What I mean is, I make time for those self-care rituals because I feel they stop me from falling into a dangerous place.
Anxiety does not define who I am. It doesn’t mean I am always sad.
I hope by sharing my story that more people will talk about mental health and recognise the signs before it gets too overwhelming to handle. Discussing mental health and the importance of taking care of our minds as well as our bodies is so important.