Friday, 15 January 2016

Chapter Two | My Story

There was a particular month last year where I spent the majority of it hidden in my bedroom. I isolated myself because I didn't think I would be able to tell anyone why I felt how I did, even my family. At what point do you feel so alone that you can't even talk to your family about how you feel, it's agonising. Of course they wouldn't understand, I told myself. 

I wanted so badly to be able to confide in someone that wasn't a GP about all the things running through my mind. But at the same time I dreaded the thought of being asked any questions about it. I don't know why but I hate being asked too many questions about anything, I suppose it's because I'm scared I won't be able to give them an answer and god knows what they'll think of me then. I do have a few people now who are very close to me, who I feel comfortable talking to about things if I feel 'below par' shall I say, but I've never told anyone every detail or thought that I have had or still have. I am still terrified about what people will think of me and that's an entirely different hurdle in itself.

Depression feels like you're trying to wade through a bog, everything feels sluggish, slow, and difficult and happiness is superficial. Anxiety is like the feeling you get when you miss the last step on a staircase and your stomach drops because you think you're about to fall, except it's constant. Nearly one half of people who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Whilst they often come hand in hand, they also work against each other. It's like needing to do everything but wanting to do nothing. It's alternating between feeling paralyzed in the present but being terrified about the future.

One of the biggest problems for me is the effect my anxiety has had on my work and education. About a year previous to this I was still in college studying Music. We did gigs as part of our course, all of which I sung and performed in a band in front of a crowd. Naturally I'd get very nervous but in a more filled-with-adrenaline sort of way. Performing in front of a crowd meant putting myself into the spotlight with all eyes on us, and we loved it. A few months later and post-diagnosis, all eyes on me and I am overwhelmingly anxious and embarrassed. I am now at university, where I have struggled to attend lectures as a result of a crippling fear that I'll be too exposed. University has always been on my agenda and I had planned to make the absolute most of it but I haven't been able to yet and it's incredibly demotivating. I know I'm not alone when I say I have absolutely no idea of what I'd like to do in the future, but it's far more difficult to see without a clear mind. University will always be a top priority of mine and I sincerely hope that I can make it work for myself.

It goes without saying that mental illness is heartbreaking, lonely, and soul destroying and I would be a liar if I were to try and incorporate a sense of joy because if truth be told, there isn't any. I think I can speak on behalf of other sufferers when I say that it is but a painful experience. I want to use my story to help challenge the current affairs and attempt to change attitudes towards mental illness by showing a true picture. Mental illness isn't my definition but it is a part of my life in a big way. Whether it's here to stay I am unsure but in the mean time I am learning more and I am slowly starting to accept that what is, just is.



(Mind have a tonne of brilliant and insightful personal blogs and stories on their website which cover a vast number of different mental illnesses. Join me in learning more and check them out - http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/)

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