18th – 24th May 2020
Mental health should not be a taboo subject. It is not something we should be made to shy away from talking about. Mental health issues are very real and this is why I’m sharing parts of my story and some of the ways I’ve begun to overcome them. The symptoms of mental health issues are very physical and for those who have no idea what’s happening they are very scary.
*Disclaimer: I am in no way a medical professional and giving any professional advice. I am just expressing my story and some ways that have helped me. If you are experiencing any mental health problems, it is always best to talk to a medical professional for example your GP.
I started experiencing anxiety in around 2016 and it stemmed from an allergic reaction to Infliximab which was a treatment I was on for crohn’s, read all about it here. Before I even knew it what it was I’d always end up in a&e whenever I had panic attacks because I didn’t know what was happening. Anxiety got really bad, I’d have the biggest breakdowns when trying to leave my house and I’d only really feel safe if I was within close proximity to a hospital. I’ve previously had CBT from a psychiatrist and learned some coping methods but nothing really worked long term.
In 2019 depression came thick and fast from around mid-year last year. I was not content with anything in my life and every single day became a huge struggle. I’ve never really spoken to a medical professional about depression because it comes in waves and I don’t really want to take any medication for it (because you know, anxiety). I didn’t want to talk to or socialise with anyone, friends, family and whenever I did, I always put on a front. The simplest of things became exhausting and work became something I dreaded. I lost weight, I became constantly fatigued and unbelievably unhappy, to put it simply I did not want to be alive….
What did I do to control/help my mental health issues?
Okay now the negative stuff is out the way, let me talk about my coping methods starting with anxiety.
I used to make sure I wasn’t alone when eating, I overcame that by taking small steps such as being alone in the room but not alone in the house. Eating around 10 minutes before my mum went out. Those small steps turned into bigger ones and now, though I am sometimes a little anxious about the foods I’m eating, I’m able to overcome the anxiety of eating alone or where no one knows about my situation.
Being close to a hospital was a must whenever I went out. The hospital was my safe place and to be honest I can honestly say I’m not too sure how I overcame this one. I kind of just snapped out of it.
I genuinely believe moving to London was a big factor in helping me overcome anxiety. Maybe because I had no choice but to get on with things.
If I feel a panic attack coming on now, yes occasionally I will still get a full-blown panic attack as well, I will just remind myself to focus and breathe through it. If I can I will get up and go for a walk, preferably some fresh air. I will practice mindfulness and be in the moment. I also listen to my heartbeat, I don’t know why it helps but it just does!
Anxiety still niggles away in the back of my mind more often than not, but I’ve come a long way from a few years ago and I’m sure I’ve still got a way to go before it doesn’t even cross my mind as much.
Onto the depression now and I can put my hands up and say the only way I dealt with this one was by moving back to Leeds with my mum. I moved back in January and I’m slowly but surely starting to feel better. I make sure I practice gratitude as much as possible and remember the positives in my life as opposed to focussing on the bad stuff.
I wrote this piece to highlight that mental health issues can be physical. Even though mental health stems from the brain, the effects are very real. Remember to be kind because you never know what someone is going through. Uplift one another, you never know how much it means to someone.
My inboxes are always open for a chat or even just a listening ear.