I’m writing this post as an anxiety sufferer as I believe it’s important to raise more aware mess on this somewhat taboo topic.
A fair number of people have some basic first aid knowledge. If someone starts choking in a public place, faints, or is wounded there is a decent chance someone in the crowd will know how to respond appropriately. But what if someone is having an anxiety attack? Do you think the percentage of people who would know how to react in a helpful manner is the same?
Often times because of the stigma around mental illness, those with anxiety disorders are judged, stereotyped, or simply ignored. This is one of the many reasons why raising awareness about anxiety and mental health is so important. Awareness goes beyond knowing how to react, though. Raising anxiety awareness can help to put an end to the stigma around mental health.
Without stigma, more people who are currently suffering in silence may feel empowered to reach out to seek help and support. The search for community resources could inspire the development of more support groups and more accessible treatments. It becomes a positive cycle.
Raising awareness isn’t only the responsibility of those who suffer from anxiety. Friends and family of those who have anxiety disorders can become advocates and use their knowledge and experience to volunteer, help educate, and develop resources and programs for those in need.
My anxiety started In college when I was just 16, the reasons it started I’d rather not talk about but to be honest it followed me around ever since. Nervousness in social situations, newfound irritability, and constant worrying to a variety of factors. Being feeling awkward in a sea of people who I didn’t know all seemed like a good reason for my new found anxiety.
I started a new job at Ladbrokes bookmakers in August 2011 whilst back at college, it seemed to be the making of me my confidence really started to grow, I enjoyed meeting new people and genuinely enjoyed the job! But as time went on my anxiety just became terrible again. Due to this during work, my hands would shake, and my heart would beat fast. I became hyper-aware of everything around me, was always on edge, and couldn’t concentrate on any of my work. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. Outside of work, I declined invitations to see my friends, rarely wanted to be seen in public, and ended up losing a significant amount of weight in just a few months. I was always in an irritable mood, felt unhappy with everything in my life, and considered myself worthless. The fact that my anxiety and depression were interfering with my work, relationships and, most importantly, my physical health, was a big deal. I knew I needed to do something about it.
During this time id been back and forth to the doctors talking to people trying medications nothing really seemed to work but I was too scared to come off it just incase it really was working.
Then in September 2014 I found out I was pregnant and everything about me completely changed, this baby was my why, my reason to be a strong person this was the turning point in my life. I knew that from now on it was me and my little girl and I would do anything to give her the best life possible.
Here I am now, 2 years 9 months later and since having my daughter I was the best I’ve ever been. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, I know that as long as I have my daughter I can deal with anything life throws at me. I’m back at work and have been in a new job for 10 months now, it’s hard working full time but I love it. Anxiety is something I still battle daily, but the medicine has definitely improved my workday, relationships, and health. I know it’s something I’ll probably struggle with for a while, but taking those small initial steps has changed my life and outlook. I see my doctor every three months for a check-up. He says that we can eventually try to wean me off of the medication, since sometimes people begin to feel better after an extended period of time.
My advice to other girls who are feeling or showing symptoms of anxiety is not to sweep them under the rug. As a society, we are often told that anxiety is not a big deal and that our symptoms can be controlled with an on-off switch. People tried to convince me that what I felt wasn’t a big deal, so for years I put off seeing a real doctor. Psychological disorders are created in your brain. It’s not something you can always control or fix yourself. Reaching out to someone who can help may seem scary, but it’s worth it in the end.
I look back on the personal struggles I’ve had and wonder how differently things may have been had I sought professional treatment sooner. I kick myself for all those moments, events, and years that I wasn’t truly happy with myself and my life. Knowing that so many other girls go through this every day breaks my heart. You deserve to live a happy, worry-free life, too.Holly x