This has become the new normal for me, I’ve been battling and struggling with anxiety and depression from the age of 24 it came out of nowhere and something clicked in my mind one day and I was unable to step out my front door as the fear of being in a social environment scared me to the point I panicked, my heart would race I would be shaking uncontrollably and crying for no reason other than being scared to go outside my own surroundings where I felt safe.
I thought I was being silly and the tried again the next day to leave the house and I was unable to do so without getting panicky again, so I had to call in my employees at the time and be honest and tell them I wasn’t feeling well and would get in when I could, I kept telling myself I’m being silly and I’ve been out loads and nothing’s ever happened I was in fear of the unknown or something bad happening to me.
I called the Drs and got an appointment my mum came with me and I could barely drive without crying and shaking, I had to remain in the car outside the Drs until my name was called and my mum came out and got me, I told him How I was feeling and he said I was suffering with social anxiety and panic attacks, he gave me some beta blocker tablets to calm me and and make me feel at ease, I took them the next day when I woke up but I didn’t feel like it had helped me in anyway I felt more stressed and uptight in myself and was still shaking and becoming nervous of the thought of leaving my bedroom and going down stairs let alone outside.
I rang my Drs again and he came to see me at home and said I need antidepressants tablets as this would also help with my moods and feelings, he requested for me to go and see someone and at the time I thought ” I don’t need to see anyone I’m not mad”. My dr assured me it would help me and make me feel better, I got put in awaiting list and within a week I had been to see someone who could asses how bad my anxiety was for the counselling I would require.
While waiting to see a counsellor for my anxiety I started taking the antidepressants the dr had prescribed me but they had a negative affect on me which me me very down and drowsy, I felt nauseas and felt like I couldn’t be left alone, I had insomnia from lack of sleep in the night and had to be given a different tablet to balance my anxiety,depression and sleep patterns, I would be wide awake until 3-4am every day and then wake up at 7am and sleep throughout the day never leaving my room, I lost a lot of weight from the stress and upset.
My company at the time where brilliant with me they where always ringing to see how I was my work friends would come over and see me, my other friends however weren’t so understanding which made me feel worse at times, I was becoming a social recluse through no fault of my own, my family where all supportive with my illness and helped me along the journey to get better.
I was diagnosed with depression, agoraphobia , panic attacks and ocd.
- Depression was me feeling low, upset, feeling not good enough like I wanted to give up, I felt the world was against me.
- Agoraphobia was my fear of public places and social surrounding with a fear of ordinary places I had been before (supermarkets, the pub, a shopping centre etc).
- Panic attacks me fearing going out or doing something and something bad would happen, I would get shaking hand, fast heart beat, crying, emotional, uptight, my eyes would lose concentration and I would feel faint.
- OCD came on because of my lack of wanting to leave the house, I would clean the house all day everyday I would Hoover up at midnight or early hours of the morning, I would be cleaning all the cupboards and rearranging everything in them everyday, everything had to face forward, nothing could be out of place in my house, I would get through 3 bottles of bleach a day and had an obsession with the smell of bleach in my house for the fear germs and getting sick.
Several weeks had passed and I had my 1st cbt appointment which is (cognitive behavioural therapy) this was my 1st step of talking my problems and feelings though and a way to start getting better, I had a total of 10 weeks of cbt therapy with an amazing lady who was American and really nice, she listened and never judge she helped me to trick my mind into thinking negative thoughts to positive thoughts instead.
The best thing she told me to do was buy the linden method book for self help and I can it take with me if I feel anxious and I can read it from home when I start to get panicky, the book to buy is expensive and I downloaded it, the guy who wrote it experienced crippling anxiety growing up and didn’t know how to control it or get better, I still read this book now when I get anxious or panicked about a new situation in life.
During the therapy my counsellor started setting me tasks to complete like walking to the end of my drive, then my street, the shop, supermarket, coffee shop and so on, I always went with my mum when doing these tasks as she would always reassure me everything’s fine nothing’s going to happen, in the back of my mind I knew this but some part of my brain chose not to listen and had control over my thoughts and fears.
I am going to be honest cbt therapy changed me and it made me become me again, I was back to normal how I used to be, to the point I did the biggest test and moved to Dubai with no anxiety or worry and fear preventing me from following my next big venture.
I am now 29 and still suffer with anxiety it never disappears once you start to get it you just learn to control and live with it, I still struggle to be in a big social environment as I hate crowds and lots of people, I don’t like to be in long que’s for too long as I start to get nervous, I don’t like to be on my own when I go anywhere as I always felt I need someone with me to remind me I’m fine and not alone, the biggest anxiety I now face is when I go on holiday I have developed a fear in flying which I never had before, I have to be given some tablets to calm me on the plane and make me drowsy as the thought of being with that many people, with germs and no escape for a long time scares me this is when my ocd kicks in.
I will always suffer with depression and anxiety and the other things I was diagnosed with and it’s nothing to be ashamed off like some people think it is, some people are ignorant to others in life and that will always be the case and they don’t want to understand, but that’s doesn’t mean their life’s are perfect.
Ide advise anyone who’s struggling with the feelings I went throw to talk about it, or seek help cbt therapy can help in a lot of areas of anxiety or there are books to read up on about the mind and thoughts.
Fight or flight response is the best way to sum this blog up, I did both of these and still do but I will continue to fight it as flight is not an option for me.
1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem in their life’s which is a scary figure as in the uk alone their is over 65 million people in England.
I hope my story can help others experiencing something similar.