Anxiety II

Everybody worries. It happens every single day. Everybody panics. Sometimes things get a bit too much for you. Everybody gets stressed. That’s just the way of life. Life just goes on and worrying, panicking and stress become feelings that motivate you to complete tasks; whether that is work, studying or everyday activities. I spent 6 months of my life where the only feelings I had were worry, panic and stress. They weren’t a part of my life, they were my life.

Most people will worry about something at some point during the day but within a few minutes it will have gone from their mind and they will be focussed on something entirely different. Anxiety is very different to that. It is when your mind won’t stop worrying; there is no distraction from it. In my experience I worried what people thought of me. It almost became an obsession not to upset anybody and I would think about everything I said very carefully before I said it. This may sound like a perfectly normal, even sensible, thing to do. However, the point is that these thoughts took over my mind. I stopped enjoying life and I also stopped sleeping.

If you’re having a bit of a tough time in your everyday life then the time that you go to sleep is the point in the day that you look forward to because the day is over. Sleep becomes your escape from life. Equally if you are having nightmares, which happens to everybody at some point, then waking up and getting on with your day is far more pleasant than being asleep. I got to the point where I hated being awake because my mind wouldn’t stop racing and I was depressed, however, sleep was just not something that came easily to me. Lying in bed for 4 or 5 hours not being able to sleep because my mind was going over every single detail of the day became a very common occurrence for me. I was tired and irritable but also extremely frustrated. The nights that I didn’t get any sleep made the days afterwards surreal. This was for two reasons; the first being that I’d have a 36 hour day and the second that I was so tired that I almost felt a tad tipsy. A lack of sleep inhibits brain function which meant concentrating on something for more than a minute became hard work. Consequently, I didn’t spend much time in lecture theatres or doing work during my bout of Insomnia. This only added to the frustration and some nights I would just sit on my bed and cry for hours. I have no idea why I was crying; probably out of frustration and lack of sleep but also out of loneliness because at 3am there is nobody to talk to.

The trickiest part of my Anxiety was keeping it a secret. I’m not entirely sure why I thought I should keep it a secret but at the time I only told the people that had to know. My family, my housemates, somebody off my course and the odd close friend who would notice something was wrong. As far as everybody else was concerned, I was just ill. This wasn’t a lie; in fact it was 100% the truth, but if you had the flu, you’d tell people you had the flu not that you were ill. I continued going along to a few social events, only staying for a couple of hours because that was as long as I could pretend everything was fine for. I would smile, laugh and join in conversations but in my mind I was fixated on the thought that everybody had something bad to say about me. This thought became an obsession and eventually I used to pop along to society socials merely to show my face and leave.

Looking back now I know that I didn’t need to hide what was wrong with me and actually telling people might have made things a lot easier. Just talking to people I was comfortable around about anything and everything (apart from what was wrong) is what kept me sane for weeks on end. The problem was that whenever I did talk to somebody, as soon as the conversation ended I would go over and over every detail worrying that I had said something to offend, upset or annoy them and thinking that they hated me. It could be something as simple as them bluntly saying goodbye or ignoring something I’d said that set off this reaction, when it was simply them just saying goodbye or not hearing what I’d said. This wasn’t reserved for people I didn’t know, I thought this about my closest friends. If you’re reading this and I’ve seen you in the last 6 months…I’ve thought that about you. Guaranteed.

I’ve been taking medication and have completed a course of CBT over the last few months. Both of these have allowed me to cope a lot better with the symptoms of Anxiety but it’s not been banished from my life forever. I have bad days and I have good days, and more recently I’ve had some pretty boring normal days, but what a welcome relief they are! If I was to go back 6 months and tell people what was wrong with me as soon as I knew I’m not sure if it would have changed anything but the fact that I was scared to tell people worries me. People with Anxiety and all other mental health problems often suffer in silence. This can’t go on. I’d known something hadn’t been quite right since I came to university and writing this right now is the first time that I’m actually admitting that. That makes it 18 months of silence and 2 panic attacks before I went and got help. Some of you have known me that whole time and some of you have known me for a period of that time; I think you’d agree I did a pretty good job at hiding it. I shouldn’t have had to.

I’m the happiest now that I have been since I started university. CBT has taught me some skills to help cope with any problems that may arise and if I’m feeling rubbish I know there are people that I can go and talk to. It’s just a pity this hasn’t always been true and that for some people it’s never true. I hope that one day in the future everybody will understand mental health a lot better than they do now and that NOBODY will suffer in silence.

3 thoughts on “Anxiety II

  1. Pingback: Please Read… | SpottySunflowers

  2. Pingback: Anxiety, You’re Not Winning Here | SpottySunflowers

  3. Pingback: Mental Health Problems Are Personal Things | SpottySunflowers

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