A series of experiences from everyday people showing the importance of telling our stories and sharing our experiences to normalize all things mental health, bringing it out of the shadows and into the light. The more we share, the more we understand, and the more we understand, the more we can help each other come out of the shadows and into the light.
“So I’ve been thinking what I should write to you for the past few days. It has been hard to put into words what I have gone through because I think I don’t suffer anxiety half as bad as others.
Today I can actually put into words what I personally go through as I’m currently having an anxiety spout (I wouldn’t call mine an attack). I’m just trying to think about what has brought it on and what has triggered it is hard for me. I know they are here when I get very light headed, I feel sick, I feel my heart beating out of my chest, I feel emotional and I feel so alone.
It all started when I was 15 and what my Mum thought (like every mum) is the right thing to do, go to a doctor and look into the pill. We saw a doctor we don’t normally see but at first it was fine. After a year and a half on the pill and multiple times of breaking down for no reason and being so cranky all the time we went back to the doctor, she took me off the pill and straight onto antidepressants 🤦🏻♀️. You think that doctors know best and you just go with it. They definitely helped and my mood was much better but I never thought how hard they would be to come off them.
As I got older into my 20’s I was ready to (with my normal doctors help) ween off them slowly. It took 4-5 attempts over the next 5 years to try and get off them and when I was ready to have a baby with my husband, I tried to ween off them again as of all the negative side effects it could have on the unborn baby. With his and my family’s help I was off them and a year later I fell pregnant and couldn’t have been happier. It was a feeling I had never felt, internally happy as complete. Of course there were those normal hormonal times where I felt the world was crashing down but that was just the surge of hormones going against me.
When I had my son and brought him home, at first I felt so happy and lucky but then the rush of hormones again came back with a vengeance, it was the first time I recognised an anxiety attack. I had the same feelings as described above and my first thought was “I need to go back on antidepressants, I can’t cope” but I actually thought about it and thought no, you just had a baby, these are normal feelings, there is nothing wrong with you, you are strong and can push through this. And after a few days of anxiety hanging around, I did get through it!
The next time it happened was 4 months ago when I lost my mother unexpectedly. This was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life as she was my rock. All those other times I had this feeling, she was there and talked me through it. This feeling was not just anxiety, it was grief but I felt I needed to be strong for my family, my son, my husband. But actually I didn’t have to be because from what I have learned from my past experiences and from the help of lots of friends and family is that I need to go through these emotions other wise it builds up inside and you come crashing down into a heap.
So coming back to today and what has brought this one on, I’m unsure. It could be a number of things but I think what topped it off was just reading a note from my mother.
These triggers will happen for the rest of my life now and I need to work through them, I take deep breaths (thank you Em), I have big drinks of water (in my head I think I feel it’s “flushing” it away) and I distract myself and my beautiful little boy is a very good distraction. Now I’m not saying for anyone to go out and have a baby to distract yourself but I personally feel I have found my meaning in life and being his mother has completed me.
Thank you for asking me to write my experience, I actually thought I don’t really have it bad compared to others but someone else may be going through the same and hopefully it helps them. Actually, typing this has helped me work through my little anxiety spout, so again, thank you.”
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