I’ve always been a sensitive little soul. As I like to describe it, ‘I feel all the things.’ As a teenager I was very heavily influenced by my peers (although nothing dangerous like the things you see these days) and always wanted to fit in. I was a crowd follower, definitely not a leader. I have always had very strong gut feelings but never acted upon them and usually, dismissed them entirely.
I remember having panic attacks from a young age, although obviously not knowing what the heck they were. They were never massive pinnacle moments, just the odd feeling or so. When I turned 18, for a number of reasons, anxiety became a huge part of my life. I never fought it, and because I let it consume me, it became worse. At one stage, I didn’t want to leave the house. I would panic about everything. All the ‘what ifs’ of any everyday ordinary situation. It was exhausting and I couldn’t control it. This lasted for about a year before me and my family decided to seek help. Firstly, we visited a local doctors. Now, I don’t want this to discourage anyone about seeking help, but my first visit to the doctors did not go well. To put it bluntly, he laughed. Yep, you read that correctly. The second visit didn’t help either and was also unsuccessful. We didn’t give up and I registered to another doctors nearby which were fantastic. I had free CBT, which helped somewhat, but no where near as much as seeing a private therapist. THIS was the thing that changed my life around. It was expensive yes, but any amount of money is
worth getting yourself back I think. Note: It is such a long process, and I don’t want to use the word ‘recover’ because anxiety is so different for everyone, and I still can feel it somedays.
At 24, I don’t get anxiety every single day. I don’t get many panic attacks either, maybe once every few months if I’m not travelling, going to new places etc. Certain things still trigger my anxiety, I am a terrible flyer (working on it!), and still have certain phobias that I know I won’t ever get rid of (a long story in itself.) Anxiety now, does not control my life. I can control it. I have learnt the techniques to bring balance back into my life. I know the things that I can push myself to do, and things that would make me feel worse.
In the end, I can be thankful to anxiety for bringing me a place where I have finally got to know myself. I thank others for speaking up about their anxiety issues (Zoella etc.) because it helped spread awareness to all those who suffered alone, and without help.