I’ve suffered on and off with depression for around 12 years now. As a teenager I was bullied so withdrew, quit college and ran away to ignore the world. As a 19 year old unprepared mother I suffered with severe post natal depression and couldn’t even be in the same room as my daughter some days. It’s a terrible thing that consumes you on a daily basis and allows itself to destroy your confidence, self worth and ability to function as human beings should.
I’m not here to talk about my depression as I’m lucky in the fact that I no longer suffer with it. In light of Mental Health Awareness Week instead I wanted to talk about a new diagnosis that I received in October 2016. Something completely new to me and not something I recognised at all until someone finally explained.
Anxiety and me are friends now. In fact, when I look back we have been friends for a long time.
I used to go through phases of fear for leaving the house. I’d be afraid that my kids would be abducted when I wasn’t with them, I couldn’t take them to the par for fear that they would fall, break a bone, or worse. It went unnoticed for such a long time.
Last year it seemed to get worse. I couldn’t leave the house alone, I used to take one of the kids with me for comfort or cause an ordeal so my husband had to come or go instead. I hated shopping and used to get so worked up I’d have to leave and sit in the car. Even the school run was a struggle at times and many mornings I’d sit in the car in tears on the phone to Ben or my mum to try and compose myself. It was a living hell.
October 2016 was when I finally saw the anxiety for what it was. We were in the middle of a supermarket nearby and I had a panic attack. A sat on the floor, head between my knees, crying, hyperventilating and rocking back and forth panic attack. I’d never felt more embarrassed in my life and my husband was left in his wheelchair to pack up the shopping with the help of the team.
I promptly booked an appointment with my GP and was diagnosed with anxiety. They prescribed me sertraline which after the first couple of weeks has improved things massively.
I went on to leave my job as the panic attacks were made worse so was later prescribed propanylol to help those. They have worked wonders.
One month after the diagnosis I managed to run a 10K charity race alone, with no support other then the other unknown racers. I’ve since started running alone 3 times a week and absolutely love it. I can leave the house to pop the shops, I don’t fear the school run and I’m not as worried that world war three will start overnight and we won’t wake up.
It sounds silly really when I think about some of the things that it stopped me from doing. But its not. It’s so so serious and it’s really time that people take note and become educated and aware of what mental health can do to us as people.
Confidence to seek help is key. So please pay attention to those you love around you and make sure that they are aware that they can talk to you.
You can find out more about how to help on the mental health awareness week website here, the week runs from 8th to 14th May and the team are looking at the reasons why there are so many that struggle to maintain good mental health.
Feel free to share your experiences, support ideas and anything else you feel is relevant.
– Emma xXx