Welcome to my first mental health blog post, as today is National Mental Health Day.
Today I’m going to be talking about anxiety.
If you’re easily triggered or sensitive then this might not be the post for you, but it’s 100% honest and real and all about my personal experience with anxiety.
So I’ve had really bad anxiety for as long as I can remember.
I think that my earliest memory is when I was 7 years old and I was having a panic attack at primary school as my mum was dropping me off at the gates that morning.
(I’ll make a post about panic attacks in the future)
People assumed that I was being overdramatic, attention seeking, lying, making a fool of myself, clingy, etc etc. Nobody really thought that maybe something was genuinely wrong.
I would scream uncontrollably, and not because I wanted to, but because I felt like I had to. My body felt like if I didn’t scream then I’d die, and this happened every single morning.
It started to get to the point where I was being sick, I had extreme stomach aches, headaches, fevers, and I was shaking. It got so bad I had to go to hospital, where I had a load of examinations, tests, blood tests, scans, questions. The doctors were worried that I had a stomach issue until one day they realised that it only happened when I was in a situation that made me unnecessarily anxious.
During highschool I started to see a therapist, but after a few months she couldn’t help me so her boss had to take over.
I couldn’t look people in the eyes at all. It was impossible for me. And every single night I had to sleep in my mums bed with my mum otherwise I’d physically throw up from anxiety.
The therapist helped me get over my fear of looking people in the eyes, but when it came to sleeping alone in my own bed at the age of 13-14 I just couldn’t do it.
I began getting my mum to stay with me in my bed until I fell asleep, then she would leave to get into her own bed, but because I knew that she was going to leave I’d subconsciously sleep walk into her room during the night!
But unfortunately, when I was 14, my mum had a bleed on her brain and was in hospital for weeks. And once she was out I knew that she needed her space in her own bed so I forced myself to stay in my own room. Even though that meant staying awake all throughout the night, too scared to close my eyes, having panic attacks and being sick until I was physically so exhausted that I couldn’t stay awake anymore and I would crash and sleep for hours.
I had a “boyfriend” who was kind of my boyfriend but also not at the same time during my last few years of highschool, and he would stay up late talking to me on Skype, playing online games. This helped to distract me and took my mind off of things because I looked forward to talking to him every night.
Eventually I got used to sleeping alone in my own bed and my sleep pattern became a lot more regular, and I was actually excited for night times rather than panicked. Unfortunately we weren’t together forever as I thought we would be back then, but we’re both on good terms and both in extremely happy relationships with other people right now and I’m glad that things turned out the way that they did.
I’d miss a lot of my school lessons because I’d be so tired or so anxious from bullies that I would be physically sick and have panic attacks in school, and be sent home.
By the time I was 15, I couldn’t even go to sleepovers anymore as I’d have panic attacks and have to go home at 3am. So to avoid ruining everyone else’s night and wasting people’s time, I just stopped going to sleepovers, and I haven’t been to one since.
That then escalated into me not being able to sleep out anywhere, not even on holidays with my family. The last time I left the country was when I was 16 and I went to Disneyland Paris..
The anxiety started to get worse when I started to realise that it wasn’t only happening when I was scared or nervous, it was when I was exited too!
Any small amount of adrenaline, good or bad, would kickstart a panic attack. So during my birthdays or at family events or anything that I was looking forward to, I couldn’t enjoy and had to leave early because of my anxiety.
During college I was stalked (I’ll make a blog post about this but I also have a YouTube video about it on my channel Beccabutcherx)
This gave me incredibly bad anxiety, and I couldn’t even get buses or trains anymore. I barely left the house, I couldn’t go to friends houses or stay out for more than an hour, and I was 18 years old. I should’ve been enjoying myself and out with my friends.
My mum had to go everywhere with me and I couldn’t get a job. I couldn’t learn to drive and I saw 3 different therapists. A Cognative Behavioural Therapist, a Hypnotist and a Natural Remedies Therapist… none of them worked.
My doctor put me on Beta-Blocker tablets to slow down my heart rate but prescribed me too many and I accidentally overdosed. I had a really bad reaction and ended up in hospital. (I’ll make a post on this too)
After a year of being house-bound I slowly started to go further and further with the help of my family, friends and boyfriend. I started to get very small bus journeys, despite months ago collapsing in a panic attack at the idea of leaving the house to get a bus.
Bus journeys turned into train journeys. 1 hour out of the house turned into 2 hours. A 1 course meal out of the house turned into 2 then 3. And now I’m pretty much back to “normal”.
I’m trying to live as much of a “normal” life as I can. (I say “normal” in quotation marks because everyone has their own definition of normal. It’s an opinion or choice)
I still can’t go to sleepovers, go on holidays, stay anywhere over night (not even my befriends house) or learn to drive, but I’m no longer house bound.
But now I struggle to get jobs as I didn’t go to university and didn’t get any work experience during that time I was stuck at home.
I recently had a job, which I stayed at for a month. But due to not enjoying the job, being treated like a mug when it came to money and being lied to, the stress made me physically ill again. I realised that my mental health that I’d worked so hard on was going backwards. I was getting worse again and I wouldn’t let myself feel as bad as I did again for anyone. So I had to quit.
I sometimes do still get panic attacks and anxiety. I don’t think that will ever go away. So that makes it hard to find a job that won’t make me anxious that I could collapse or throw up with anxiety, or that I won’t quit or be out of work ill a lot until I’m fired.
One of the hardest things to deal with when you have anxiety is other people’s opinions.
People think that I’m lazy and don’t want a job or aren’t even looking for jobs. That I lie about anxiety to get out of things because once I’m removed from the anxious situation I’m fine again. That i want to sit and look at the same 4 walls every hour of every day of every week of every year.
When I get ill, it’s difficult to know whether I genuinely have a sickness, or if it’s my anxiety. They both feel exactly the same to me. Fever, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, diaorreah, dizziness, sensitive to emotions. Imagine having an illness but for most days of your life.
That’s how it feels, and obviously a lot of the time it makes me feel like I don’t want to live, if this is all I’m going to feel forever. I don’t want to suffer until I die, so of course it makes me depressed a lot of the time. Nobody wants to have anxiety.
I’m still working on improving myself and coming to terms with living with anxiety.
I’m still looking for work and hoping to expand my promotional / influencing work so that I have money to support myself.
I’ll keep you guys updated if anything changes anxiety-wise but so far that’s all I have to say. I’m only 20 so let’s see what the next few years bring!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and if you have any suggestions or anything you want to see, please feel free to comment or let me know!
Best wishes ~ Becca x