[dropcap]On[/dropcap] the first Monday of March, I introduced a new series to my blog, my MentalHealthAwareness series, today is the first Monday in April and as promised, I am here to continue the conversation… (Check out why I have started this series by reading last months intro post here!)
The dictionary definition of anxiety is as follows, a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
The thing is, anxiety is very different from anxiety disorders.
It is human to feel anxiety in situations that provoke uncertainty or risk, it is normal. However, this is not the same for someone who suffers from anxiety, from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are debilitating, crippling, and require support and help, just like a broken leg. Also, you will probably be surprised to find out there are multiple types of anxiety disorders. Generalised anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder are being closely referenced below and throughout this post. Yet, phobias, separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are also all anxiety disorders. (All of which will be explained in further depth in upcoming months.)
I suffer from generalized and separation anxiety disorder, and I have suffered for around two years and for a year in an extremely debilitating state. In 2013 there were 8.2billion cases of anxiety disorders throughout the UK. Anxiety is human, Anxiety disorders are a heartbreakingly common illness. As a sufferer here are some things that some of us with anxiety feel daily, suffer daily and have felt due to the naivety of the very real health problem.
I have got in touch with friends and fellow bloggers for contributions so if you don’t believe me… keep reading…
Below is how anxiety makes Vanessa feel, and how it affects and has affected her life. Anxiety is an illness…
“Anxiety is something that I think I have had for quite a long time, but only in the last 16 months has it become more prominent. Firstly, let me speak about the symptoms I experience…
- Breathing: I feel like I can’t breatheand that I have to take deeper breaths. A tip that I was given- take short controlled breaths!
- Dizziness: I feel like my head is spinning and is out of my control!This links into another symptom of mine which is feeling like I am going to pass out.
- Out of body feeling: There’s a professional word for this (Depersonalisation). I feel like I am out of my body and like I am floating- which makes my dizziness worse.
- World speeds up/slows down: It’s hard to explain but sometimes I feel like either the world around me is movingat a fast pace sometimes, or it could be moving at a slower pace.
There are more symptoms that I, and others, can experience. But those are my four most frequent ones. If you want to find out more then head over to the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/symptoms/
I’m 17 years old and looking back on my years, I can see how anxiety has affected my life and still does today. The biggest thing that anxiety affects is my opportunities.On some occasions, I have been brave enough to not let my anxiety get in the way, but during bad times they have stopped me from going on fun school trips and get-togethers with friends. I’ve had to avoid outings with friends and lie about why I can’t make things- so I’ve missed out on making memories!Like I said, sometimes on good days, I can see past my anxiety. For example, at the start of Year 12, I came across this ad about being given an opportunity to join the Sutton’s Trust Pathways to Law (which looks great on Uni applications). I was so eager to apply but I could feel my anxious thoughts getting the better of me. But I changed that and my thought process was that I should apply and IF I do get it- then I can decide then as I don’t have to go. So I filled out the application and one month later I got an email congratulating me for obtaining a place on the course and that I would be a part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) University. I screamed with joy! But then I started to worry. As I did get this amazing opportunity I was so grateful that I, in fact, went to the enrollment day! I had some amazing few months – so as you can see I didn’t let the anxiety get the better of me. BUT, linking to this, during the summer of Year 12 before Year 13 LSE had arranged for us to have work experience at some of the world’s TOP LAW FIRMS in London! But because my anxiety had gotten worse, I had to turn it down! Today, I kick myself looking back at it as that would have been one of the best experiences of my life- but at the time I couldn’t do it- all because of my anxiety.
Anxiety has also affected my school too. Doing mocks I was extremely anxious and felt like I was going to pass out during the whole exam- and this had an effect on my grades. Luckily these grades don’t matter, but I still hate the thought of slipping on my grades. Sometimes, looking back at my lowest points, anxiety took over how I felt, and what I wanted to do. It made me question whether I wanted to go to Uni or not: despite that for all my life all I have ever been excited about is Uni. It also made me stop learning to drive, which is another thing that since the age of 8 I couldn’t wait to do!As you can see, anxiety can really affect and take over your life.
I am currently recovering from my anxiety however the journey is taking time as I learn techniques and mechanisms that allow me to control it better. I have learnt that anxiety isn’t all my am, and I will not let it control my destiny. Once I realised this, it helped me get through those little wobbles.
So whatever you are going through right now, please remember that you have ultimate control and you will get through this!
Thank you for reading this, and thank you to Ella for including this in her blog! (Much love Ella). Feel free to contact me if you ever need to talk!”
Below is Charlotte’s thoughts and feelings, I asked for around 500 words about anxiety, and what she wanted to say… so please do not just read but also listen.
“When I was in college, there was a lot of buzz around anxiety and depression. There were educational flyers, posters, little cards that were given out during class. I saw a group of boys after college, burning a pile of them and laughing about it. They were there to educate people, to let them know how to spot depression or anxiety in a friend or family member. The aim was to prevent suicides, obviously. There were several things wrong with the way that my college executed this (we won’t mention the disregard of other mental illness), but at least it was a start.
The biggest problem with this scheme that they had going on, was that I had anxiety and depression. I’ll let you guess how many of the 3,000 students who were given an educational poster, came up to me and asked if something was wrong. I’ll give you a minute. Yeah, none. Not one person who was supposedly ‘educated’ could come up to me with confidence and even just ask if I was going through a rough time if I needed a friend.
That’s the problem with this generation, there is a lot of talking yet not enough action. People can read as many educational posters, websites, even blogs that they want to; that doesn’t mean people are going to bother to implement the knowledgethey’ve learnt into everyday life. I don’t know why that is, as for me I would always go up to someone who looks down or is expressing symptoms of something that I know about – but is that because I know how it feels?
I wish I could force people to be kinder. I wish I could force people into just going up to that ‘weird girl at school’ and asking if she wants to eat lunch with them. The hardest part is that I can’t do those things, we can’t force people to help others who are in need, and we shouldn’t have to. There shouldn’t have to be ‘schemes’ in place to encourage people to be kind to one another.
If you’re a person struggling with any type of mental illness and you feel as though nobody is listening or nobody understands. I promise you that someone on this earth does. I know that for a fact because I thought the same when I was ill. I now have a massive support network including friends, family, and other bloggers online. Don’t ever feel like you can’t speak up, or stand up for yourself, more people like that in the world is a good thing. If you get bullied for it or picked on, that’s because you’re not fitting into a mould. Do what you want, what makes you happy, what makes you fulfilled. The rest will come your way after that.
If you’re a person who says they support mental illness awareness, but you don’t do anything about it right now, that’s fine. It doesn’t have to take a lot of your time or energy, and definitely not any of your money. It’s simple things like going up to the lonely girl, asking the boy being bullied if he wants to hang out, encouraging other people to take a stand against things like bullying, bigotry, ignorance.
Those are the things that really help us, not posters that get given out and burnt away within the hour.”
Charlotte is more than her social anxiety and more than her mental illness. Everyone who suffers is, however it doesn’t mean that they should be stigmatised by society. You can check out Charlotte’s blog too and find out more about her mental health journey by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.
We have a tendency to read statistics on mental health and not feel as they are written without heart or a story and people find it easier to pretend they never read it. But the truth is the heartbreaking astonishing statistics represent people, peoples lives. 1 in 4 people suffers from a mental health illness. Be #MENTALHEALTHAWARE.
Today Tomorrow Forever,
Vanessa- Meraki Blog (twitter: @merakihome)
Charlotte- Unlunacy Blog (twitter: @unlunacyblog)
^^^ Check em out lovelies… it will be worth it – promise!