So I thought with this week being Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK I’d do a post about my experience of anxiety.
When I suffer with bad anxiety it can feel like my head is about to explode. I know this sounds crazy, but I think it’s the best way I can describe what it feels like to be so anxious, so scared and so desperate to feel okay again. This began when I was in year 12, and initially I put it down to exam stress. When the feelings of worry and stress didn’t disappear once the exams were over, I thought maybe it was just how I was made up. As a teenage girl, I thought it best just to keep quiet and hope it was something I would grow out of as I matured and got older.
When I was in my first year of university, having suffered with anxiety since year 12 which then led to depression during year 13, I decided to investigate further. After a bit of googling, and discovering that I’m not as weird as I thought to feel like this (in fact not weird at all but perfectly normal!), I managed to find the courage to take a trip to the doctors. However it is you find the courage to take that step, it is a crucial part of living with and understanding a mental health disorder. Of course, I was fortunate to have a kind, caring and understanding doctor who had experience of dealing with mental health problems. I also have an extremely understanding family and a loving boyfriend.
After making this huge decision to go see the doctor, which, believe me, was really really tough and took a lot of courage and energy, I suddenly realised I wasn’t the only one to be feeling as I was. I discovered an amazing online community for people suffering with mental health problems called Elefriends, which allowed us to support each other through tough times.
The big thing about anxiety is it comes and goes, some days I feel fine. I’m not going to say normal, because there’s no such thing. But some days I feel even, not overly good, not overly bad, just okay. On good days I feel happy, but on bad days I feel down, sad, irritable, tired and anxious. It is difficult for those around me to understand why I’m like this, but the simple answer is I don’t know. Sometimes there are reasons, for example tonight is the evening before an exam, it is ok to feel nervous and anxious. But often I don’t know why I feel anxious, sad, down or whatever. There is usually no specific reason for a bad day, it just happens. But you know what, it’s okay! It’s okay for me to be like this because it’s just part of me, part of my brain that sometimes gets a bit silly and doesn’t quite work right. The best thing is that this is me and it’s just how I am.