You are stronger than you think
As it is mental health week I thought it would be a good time to talk in more detail about my story with mental health, how I feel about the topic and the importance of raising awareness. I will be rawly talking about my experience with mental health. But how if you are suffering you can find hope and you can get back into the ‘normality’ of life, it won’t last forever. So this post may seem to start of negative but believe me it has a positive ending, so please read on.
Firstly I will explain how anxiety, panic attacks and depression made me feel mentally and physically, I hope this allows people to understand this seriousness of how this can affect people or if you are suffering how you're not the only one. Then I will go on to explain my journey through mental health and my views on mental health.
How did/does anxiety physically and mentally make me feel?
I normally get panic attacks in crowded places or if i get too stressed and things just get too much. I feel like the world is spinning around me, my heart is going at a thousand miles per an hour. My breathing gets heavy causing me to feel dizzy. I worry that I am going to faint from breathing too fast. All i want to do is run away and get away from this horrible feeling. I sometimes feel like I am going die, it is the scariest feeling. After I feel mentally drained, i can do for days. I feel spaced out and weak.
You feel there is no hope, you see no positivity. It is so much effort to get out of bed in the morning. Not because i was lazy. But because you didn't see the point and you are so mentally exhausted. You cancel plans with friends, family. You isolate yourself from the world. Your body feels empty…
When diagnosed with epilepsy at age of eleven, I became a very scared, confused and worried child. I was constantly on edge about not knowing when the next seizure would happen. This therefore caused me to become incredibly anxious and panic. At the time I was clueless over the fact that i was experiencing mental health conditions. Back then it was not spoken about in as much detail or in general was an unspoken about topic, as it is now therefore as an eleven year old I just thought there was something wrong with me.
After experiencing anxiety and panic attacks for a few years I then developed depression. The combination of having uncontrolled seizures, missing a lot of school and not being able to experience a ‘normal’ early teenagers childhood. Lead to constantly feeling of being down and not having any enthusiasm in anything. Again like the anxiety I was unaware that i was experiencing this. Meaning through years it built up more and more. Where I would be too scared to leave the house. Until the age of roughly fourteen I was missing so much school I was refereed to a councillor. Personally the first councillor I met I felt didn't help me greatly but at the time I was too scared to talk about my feelings, therefore it was a challenge to improve how i felt.
As time went on my epilepsy became under control, therefore my anxiety was reduced and i was fortunate that depression went. I got back into school, thinking I was fine.I continued to ignore the fact that the anxiety was still at the back of my mind, I was still so unaware at what was happening as to my knowledge no one was experiencing how I felt as people didn't talk about it. Then when i was in sixth form so the age on sixteen to eighteen I went to see a therapist who specialises in Cognitive hypnotherapy which helped hugely. And was like a revolution! I had an understanding behind what was going through my brain. And that I wasn't ‘crazy’ or ‘different’ it all started to make sense.
Through therapy I found out my mind was constantly on edge as I was always worried I would have a seizure. This therefore set of anxiety and panic attacks. Therefore with therapy I managed to re-train my subconscious, into turning those negative experiences with epilepsy into a feeling of calm and peace. That is was all okay and i didn't need to panic. I also learnt breathing exercises to calm my body if I felt anxious, which helped hugely. Through this therapy has allowed me to get back to normality to things that every other teenager would do, shopping, day trips out, using public transport, going to cities,full time education, going to parties and social events and so much more! Where as before i was too scared to do any of that! Don't get me wrong i still have ‘one of those days’ occasionally or when things get to much I can have a panic attack but I've learnt how to control and understand it which i think is so important with mental health. And to also educate yourself and people around you on it so people have a better understanding of what they or others could be going through.
If I look back to six years ago when I was too scared to leave the house and constantly on edge. I think it is amazing how far you can come if you have a better understanding around mental health and don’t be afraid to get help and talk to others about it. Whether that is a parent, friend, teacher or doctor. I know if i had spoken to someone sooner about how i felt i wouldn't of suffered in silence and would of been able to get successful help sooner. I think mental health awareness has come so far in the past few years. However i think we still have so much more to communicate and make people understand how serious this is. We are not crazy, we are people who are strong and fighting a battle in our brain everyday. So please be kind to others as you don't know what is going on behind the mask that people can hold so well. I hope through telling my story it can either help others understand what it is like to have mental health conditions or someone reading this realises they are not different, they're not the only one and how important it is to seek help.
Hi welcome, to my blog! Come follow my journey and read my experiences of living with epilepsy.