In November of 2016 I was signed off of work. My doctor wanted to put ‘Mental Health’ on my sick note but it wasn’t an option, so we settled on ‘Anxiousness- Symptom’.
I have always struggled with sleep but about a month before I went to my doctor after barely managing 2-3 hours a night. I had never been diagnosed with anxiety until then, 24 (& 3/4) years without a word for the way I often felt. It was daunting and the label made me uncomfortable at first but it made a lot of things make sense.
I started to connect issues with my mind from the past, like when I started my first full time job in a nightclub and the rude words from one customer would hammer me down for the whole week that followed. It reminded me of the times that I’ve been in busy places and suddenly felt that I could cry and needed to leave for reasons I couldn’t explain. I thought about the times that I maybe write something or say something bluntly and worry for days about whether I’ve insulted a friend, or even someone I’ll never see again.
Having a diagnosis has made dealing with this easier, I don’t beat myself up over things I do or the way I feel. I can take time out when I need it, I can sit back and just breath and wait for the shit storm in my head to clear and not feel bad about it. Of course there are still days when I struggle to move from my bed, purely because I can’t will myself to, there are still days when the black cloud of the abyss starts to form over my shoulders and pushes me down. But if I see it coming I can push it away before it gets to me.
I’ve had people ask me about it and I’ve been quite open. These people have all been really surprised at my honesty. Am I supposed to be embarrassed? Or ashamed? Because I’m not. I’m glad to have a reason for my problems.
Not everyone is okay to discuss their mental health and there are much more complex issues than anxiety, but if you spot your own symptoms in someone else, please talk to them, reassure them they’re not broken, or paranoid, or crazy. If I had someone discuss it with me earlier on, I could have spotted it in myself, if I had I might not have got to the point where I’m breaking down at the doctors and being signed off of work with anti-depressants. I might have found a healthier mind earlier on.
If you’re feeling low there is always someone to talk to, a friend, family member, a doctor, please reach out.
Repeat after me: EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY.
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