So, we have covered depression, now it’s time for the anxiety that I still live with every day. Like my depression, I have suffered from anxiety since I was 14. Living with depression was hard and debilitating most days but anxiety will always take the cake for me. For me, anxiety is the worst part of my life and I don’t know how to handle it very well. Anxiety was always in the back of mind when I was diagnosed as the depression took over my life more at the time. I used to think that my anxiety was actually just another part of depression since no one really told me any different. Since I have basically overcome my depression, my anxiety has come on full blast in my life and each day can be a major struggle. Some of the things that can happen have been with me for most of my life but it was always put down to me being very shy.
To start, I was originally referred to a psychologist. I went to her about 6 times and to be honest I never did the ‘homework’ she assigned to me after each session. I wasn’t being slack or anything, it was more to do with the content of the homework. I didn’t really understand why I had to do it, what I was getting out of it or how it was supposed to help. The other thing with it was that it was basically throwing me straight into the deep end without any support or explanation. I was pretty overwhelmed by it and basically shut off after that.
For the next few years, I just lived with it each day. I didn’t take much notice but my body did and would put me into a panic without any warning. I got to the point where I just stuck to myself and immersed myself in books and music. I did sports and all that in school but I never really made friends from it and my mum always had to introduce me to other kids so that they would talk to me and include me in games and other things kids did.
I’m 21 now and I still have a pretty hard time with it all. The worst thing that my anxiety gets to, is social interaction, more specifically, the phone. I can’t for the life of me answer the phone unless it is my parents or my boyfriend. It has become so bad that for the past 6 months or so I have been job searching and only got a job within the last couple of weeks. Why? Because I have a minor panic attack every time my phone rings. I gave up a possible job because they required a phone interview, but to be fair, I wouldn’t have gotten that job anyway due to the physical and mental health requirements which I wouldn’t be able to pass. I actually almost lost my job at my new work as I couldn’t bring myself to answer the phone when they called. I eventually called them back 3 days later after a minor panic attack and a lot of pushing from everyone else.
Having a minor anxiety attack is worse than having depression in my opinion. In certain scenarios, I can be confident and raring to go with whatever it is but my body decides to react in the exact opposite of how I feel. Yeah, everyone has nerves when public speaking and such but it is 10 times worse when anxiety is involved. If I put myself into one on one or face to face situations my body shuts down in the worst way. I have experienced dizziness, mind fogs, jitters, IBD and a multitude of other symptoms, some of which trigger my anxiety even more. There a million other scenarios that can set me off but social interaction will always be the one that affects me the most and the worst.
Every day is a struggle, for me, I find it harder to live with anxiety than a more physical condition like a head injury or a messed up back, both of which I have also experienced. Some days are better than others of course, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t find a way out. I have worked tirelessly to try to fix me, but nothing has worked yet. I have tried psychology, CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy, making myself push through it and smoking, but I am yet to find the one that will help me make it through the day.
If you are struggling with mental illness, tell someone. Someone will be there for you, someone will help you because fighting this alone isn’t healthy and it’s not worth isolating yourself from someone or something that could make it even just a little bit better. If you read this and you want someone to talk to, feel free to email me.