Sunday, 4 November 2012

Welcome!

I've written other blogs but this one is about me and my little journey with my mental health issues. Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I suffer with severe anxiety. As in... severe enough to not be working right now. It's not always been this way thankfully, but due to never really facing my issues "head on" it reached tipping point back in July this year and I've been off sick ever since.

I've always been a hard worker I'd like to think, but I've let my anxiety take it's hold and stop me from pursuing certain paths, including furthering my education. I did well academically in high school but had to leave college on two occasions and give up an Open University degree earlier this year when my anxiety got too bad. I'm hoping that by doing this blog and changing my ways of treatment I'll be able to restart my education.

What does anxiety entail? Absolutely everyone will experience anxiety more than once a year, every year, for all their lives. Anyone who tells you otherwise would be fibbing. It might be that you're anxious about a job interview, maybe you have to stand up and give a presentation and your palms are sweating like crazy because of the worry of it or you're facing a big fear that starts you panicking just to think about. It might seem little to everyone else but it's a big thing to you, which may I add is absolutely fine!

Anxiety that has been diagnosed by a healthcare professional however is different. It means that my anxiety controls me, when it should be the other way around. A little bit of anxiety is actually good for you. It keeps you on your toes, it keeps you alert, it helps you prepare. But when it gets out of control? It's hell.

Panic attacks can pop up out of nowhere. I can often be sitting at my desk at work, doing my own thing, and suddenly I can't breathe. My heart is pumping so quickly I think something is seriously wrong. I've got this lump in my throat that makes me feel nauseous. I have to get out, leave, I can't speak to no one, I just have to go. And when I can't? That's when I start hyperventilating. I've often had my lips turn blue because of it. I get pins and needles in the tips of my fingers and toes. It feels like everyone in the world is watching me, and I'm slowly dying (even though I'm not).

It's not just about the panic attacks. It's the constant worrying. About everyone and everything. I don't like being in the dark. I don't like being at home on my own. I can't sleep and when I do I have bizarre or frightening dreams that make me wake up in a cold sweat all over my body. The constant stressing affects my skin, and I suffer from adrenal exhaustion so I get spots all over my jaw line and neck. The stressing takes other affects too, the biggest one being my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I am unable to tolerate dairy due to my 'worried tummy.' I suffer with horrible cramps sometimes, and when I go out I worry where the nearest loo is.

I also have emetophobia. This is the fear of vomiting. Now you might be thinking 'but no one likes being sick!' but it's a completely different ball game for me and other 'emets'. As soon as someone mentions they feel a bit under the weather, I panic. Will they be sick? Have they already been sick? Have they got a bug? My mind works overtime and more. I won't eat any form of meat while in a restaurant apart from beef because of this phobia. I also tend to avoid salads if I can as this is an 'uncooked' food. I have to use a certain hand sanitiser and carry it with me wherever I go. I also carry anti diarrhoea tablets and anti sickness tablets. It's horrible living like that.

So why would I want to blog about all this? It's personal and private, why share it with the world?

Because I'm fed up of people judging those who suffer from ill mental health. I do not choose to suffer from anxiety (and also depression) and I do not like my life revolving around doctors appointments because of it. But that is how I am and until I recover, society is going to have to bloody deal with it. Too many of us sufferers get penalised for our conditions. We do not choose to be like this, the same as you don't choose to get the flu. It's no different, so stop treating me like I'm a freak and for your sake more than mine, don't tell me to just 'get over it' unless you have time for a lecturing.

I'm going to change your view about mental health. Even if it's not completely, I aim to make you think before you speak at the very least. We are all equals, so let's start living like that.