Sometime between November and December I sat in front of my GP and told her “my life is worthless, there is no point in me, everything in my head is shouting at me”.
I was exhausted, having panic attacks, being physically sick from anxiety, acting frantically, crying daily, pushing people away, unable to make simple decisions and I’m sure I went for 6 weeks eating only toast for dinner. (I don’t eat breakfast either). I was in 24 hour ‘fight or flight’ mode, Adrenaline, Cortisol and Norepinephrine were flooding my system. All this whilst going through my busiest period in business – Christmas 2016.
One time I parked on a hill in Brighton. I thought I was going to start the car and roll into the car in front. I had a panic attack. I cried on the phone to my mum, refused to move the car, said I could sleep there. My dad drove 45 minutes to rescue me at 11.30pm. I had been in the car for 3 hours, he gave me a massive hug.
What got me there?
In June 2015, I started developing anxiety. As an overachiever, in spite of my dyslexia, I gained straight A’s at A-level, Distinction and a First-Class Degree. Afterwards I started a business with zero experience. No longer the over achiever, in my head the business was failing. Phases like ‘you are worthless’, ‘you are a failure’, ‘no one likes you – everyone hates you’, were repeating themselves in my mind. I had a minor breakdown Christmas 2015 but in Autumn 2016 these voices were screaming at me, things turned darker. Outside the family, I felt I couldn’t tell anyone.
Skip forward to 2017
After my conversation with the Doctor I was quickly signed up to a course of talking therapy via phone calls and now spend a whole tense hour and a half in therapy every week. I opted out of medication but I know if I go there again it’s a choice I would make.
Right now, 8th May, I’m getting there. To help me to get up every day and carry on as usual I have built a concrete wall in my mind to block those voices out. I know at some point I may have to face them again, but for now I’m gaining strength with the business growing enormously. I pinch myself to see the daily sales! I’m happier, positive, less anxious and much kinder to myself.
What I have learnt and what’s helped me:
- I don’t have to talk to myself like a bully
- I write poetry
- Have as many hugs as you need. Me and mum are very close, she took me to my first therapy session
- The app CALM – so good! I do this almost daily at night, discovering mindfulness has made a big impact into my life
- Telling people, I’m struggling! Telling others that I’m not myself took the pressure off. They understood why I wasn’t replying to messages or behaving crazy
- Reducing alcohol consumption. My drinking habits aren’t great. I don’t often drink socially, but I do drink at home. Sometimes on my own, just to escape
- Cycling to work! Getting that good adrenaline pumping
- When a stressful situation arises; asking myself, what would I tell a friend. Often, it’s kinder than what you say to yourself
- Getting professional help – therapy is tough but so worth it
Why am I telling you this?
I am not alone. You are not alone.
I felt I couldn’t tell anyone because of seeming weak minded. What a load of tosh.
Today there seems to be a whole generation of young people who are struggling mentally. What’s going on with millennials? Is it that we’re more aware and open to talking about our problems? And talking about them, we must. It’s the first step to realising it happens to so many, young and old.
I haven’t posted this to attention seek, to be treated differently, make people embarrassed or out of spite but for those who are experiencing what I went through – we’re in it together. If you have any of the symptoms I had, take a break, chill out, tell yourself all the amazing things unique to you and smile. It’s going to be ok.