Mental health for a long time was such a taboo topic, one that pretty much either people who experienced any forms of mental health (anxiety, depression, bipolar etc) either felt confused, weird or ashamed. And then there was those who ostracized the people who were experiencing it. Only until the past few years, perhaps that it has been finally accepted, maybe due to celebrities such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Britney Spears, Zayn Malik (ex-One Direction) and Sarah Silverman, coming forward and revealing their own personal struggles and experiences. I’m so glad as a human society we are slowly moving forward and becoming more accepting and open-hearted on topics such as these, as anyone in our own family an be suffering and we are taking a more stance on this.
I’ve read on a couple of blogs recently where you shouldn’t talk so much about personal issues or go into as much details about personal topics as it could deter readers. I can understand why they would say this but I feel as a blogger, one should speak about certain issues or personal experiences as there are so many out there who are experiencing just what I may be going through. They might feel ashamed or feel alone or just feel that maybe their own family or friends might not understand them. There are so many who are suffering in silence and I know because I was one of them for so long and sometimes, preferred to seek ‘people/friends’ online (such as blogs, forums) because I could relate ‘to them’.
As you all know I have been so open on my blog about my struggles to fall pregnant and my IVF journeys, that I felt I should talk about an issue that has affected me since my early twenties and that over the past eight months has reared its ‘monster head’, regularly again and that is anxiety.
How anxiety started to become a factor in my life I really don’t know but I think I can pin point it to around the time I was in an abusive relationship that lasted around ten years. It was my first relationship. It took a few attempts to really break the ties to him but I finally gained the strength to walk away and never return.
At this time, I won’t go into the deep details of the relationship right now but I can say that over time, I developed a deep panicked fear of my ex-boyfriend.
At the beginning we had a passionate relationship mixed in with firey arguments that I had never even seen with anyone else before. After three years of the relationship, and him returning back from living in Croatia with his parents (for two years), he changed. It became an extremely volatile relationship. I became afraid of how his mood was going to be each day, he was like Dr Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde. Unpredictable. I wasn’t allowed to ever eat or drink unless he offered or said I could have it. I had to always ‘ask’ what he would like me to wear the next day. When we argued… HE really argued. Not just with words from his mouth but also with his body. For the next seven years I lived in complete utter terrified fear, so I guess from all of that and so much more, I think that may how my anxiety was born.
The signs for me when I’m about to have an anxiety attack is when my heart starts to beat faster, my mind starts to think on complete overload. Thoughts in my head start no making sense and I start to think of a million useless things. I become quite restless and I get so confused easily. My breaths start to increase, get deeper and rapid, and I start to hyperventilate.
I know I’m about to lose control of my mind (and body) and break down. It’s when I’ve pushed aside the signs for a little while that I get to that breaking down point. I start to feel I’m constantly letting everyone down around me.
Every so often, when things are building up and I’m so stressed out, I get the strongest desire to run away. I don’t think it’s away from my friends, family and loved ones. I truly believe it’s to run away from this monster that every so often takes over my body, mind and spirit, and I lose track of those moments of who I am.
Over the past seven or eight months, on and off I’ve been suffering from anxiety all due to my work load at my full time job (I hadn’t had a proper holiday break in four years), the back to back IVF cycles I had been on for almost over three and a half years and now lately some family issues.
But if I listen to the signs and not ignore them, I can either stop it before it takes ahold of me or at least be able to calm the inner monster before it takes me over me completely.
The following is now my survival ‘kit’ to help me to cope:
- EQ Control 50 by Natures Own (made from natural herbs – it helps to minimise the inner monster. I take this whenever I am feeling my anxiety returning)
- breathing exercises
- go for a walk by myself (especially down near the beach) or take my furbabies for a walk
- write down my feelings in a journal
- talk about what I’m feeling with my husband or close friends
- and if I feel I’m really not coping on a particular day(s) at work- I speak to my manager and let them know and take a day off work
For some people, anxiety or depression can get quite deeper and serious that you may need to see your Doctor or a Councillor and they may prescribe medicine to you such as Lexapro.
I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and at the beginning, I was given Lexapro but over time (through continued discussions with my Doctor and Councillor) I really wanted to try a more holistic approach and control my anxiety that way. If you are able to find something that is of a holistic or a spiritual nature, that has a calming affect on your spirit and soul, and that can bring you back to a state of calming & peaceful balance, then its all so worthwhile. But if you need prescribed medication, then that’s OK too. Your well being is so important.
Anxiety is a condition that really can’t be cured but it can be managed and everyone experiences anxiety (or depression) all differently and every remedy is different. Remember, we all handle our stresses, whether it be personal or work related, all completely different. The first step in the right direction is acknowledging and finding a solution.
No one needs to face their problems alone – please contact Lifeline in your country (for in Australia on 13 11 14, in the UK 01708 765200 and in America, on 1800 273 8255)