Something I’ve occasionally touched on but never really talked about on here is anxiety and depression. Both are terms which get thrown around so easily today but can still be quite hard to talk about.
I’ve had anxiety for a long time. It got really bad when I was 15 and doing my GCSEs. It then got it’s worst when I had my surgery two years ago. At the same time my anxiety got diagnosed, so did my depression. My depression wasn’t a chemical imbalance like some, it was purely circumstantial, and mainly due to my health.
Having my surgery was one of the best things which happened to me. Not only did it save my life, it also made me face the true extent of my mental health. I’d always dealt with it by myself and put it down to me “being a worrier”. However having serious surgery brought to everyones attention my mental state. Because of my surgery, my parents and doctors helped me get referred to connotative behavioural therapy (CBT) and it’s honestly one of the best things I ever did.
I know, therapy isn’t for everyone. But for me, it was just the right thing. I got diagnosed with general anxiety, panic disorder and depression. From there I had a summer’s worth of therapy where I learnt a lot about myself and also how to retrain my brain to react in certain situations because it had the tendency to be quite irrational!
Anxiety is a weird thing. As well as general anxiety disorder I have medical anxiety. Part of my medical anxiety is due to the fact that I’ve had bowel problems my whole life and went 8 months seriously ill before I was diagnosed at 17. I was constantly told there was nothing wrong with me, even though I knew that there was something wrong. Now I constantly worry there’s something else wrong with me. Whether that’s worrying about my actual conditions or thinking I’m having a heart attack or heart problems (when in fact it’s my anxiety giving me heart palpitations). I also often think I’m going to pass out, even though I’m not, which can lead to mini panic attacks.
I then have general anxiety on top of that. I don’t really know how to explain how it makes me feel, it’s definitely more than just worrying about things. It can be set it off by being in small spaces, feeling trapped or confined. However sometimes I can just be sat doing nothing and an overwhelming feeling of anxiousness comes over and I have no clue why. I find those moments the most frustrating because I can’t even try and work my way through it because I don’t know where it’s stemmed from.
My anxiety and depression is something I have to work on everyday. Recently, they’ve got a lot worse, especially my anxiety, due to many reasons including exams, a lot of change and that I was meant to have surgery again (which got cancelled!). I then got into a massive cycle of getting down because I couldn’t get my anxiety under control which made me feel down. It’s never ending! But I’m going over everything I learnt in CBT and considering going back for some more sessions.
Everyone’s mental health is unique. Everyone has their own problems. It’s so important to talk about mental health with an open mind and not judge anyone for their way of coping. For me, medication wasn’t the right route (I was given medication for my anxiety but I was too anxious to take it!) and therapy was. For others, it’s the opposite or a mix. I do urge anyone struggling to go talk to their GP though because there are ways to manage it.