So today, 10th October is Mental Health Day.
I didn’t think I would ever write this post. I started this blog more as a hobby and didn’t plan to put anything personal on here, I have never been one for making anything I hold close public, but here goes…
My mental health is something I don’t always feel comfortable talking about and if I’m honest most of the time I simply choose not to, mainly because it’s not something I’ve ever really thought about before. But I feel like this shouldn’t be the case and if theres one thing that I’ve learnt recently is that it’s important to talk.
Please don’t take this post as wanting sympathy or seeking attention, I’m happy and my usual bubbly, optimistic self, if anything right now I’m happier than I have been in a while and it’s like a breath of fresh air. This post is to raise awareness to mental health in the hope that more people talk.
So on the 17th April 2018 I was diagnosed with Anxiety and Panic Disorder. (I don’t like the word diagnosed, it makes it sound like a disease, I’m not contagious or anything! But I can’t think of a better way to word it.) It was as much a shock to me as anyone else. I had gone to see my doctor for something that I believed to be completely different and unrelated, funny how it manifests itself in different ways. I went home and I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to talk about it. I couldn’t talk about it.
I realise now that I wish I had talked to someone about it sooner, going through it on your own especially when you don’t even know what the cause is makes everything so much more confusing.
It all started on my 18th birthday (I know, welcome to Adulthood Kitty!) that was my first attack, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced, I had no idea what was going on. Nor could I even begin to think about explaining it to anyone else. I still have no idea what triggered it. It happened a few more times over the space of about a year then as quickly as it came it was gone and I didn’t give it another thought for the next 3 years. But it raised its head again Boxing Day last year, again I don’t know the trigger and the two situations didn’t have much in the way of similarities. Making the dots harder to connect.
I’ve now started CBT and it’s quite amazing how talking helps. You know that saying: “Like a weight off my shoulders” ? Well that’s really what it feels like. Learning not to rely on my safety behaviours and to break the cycle in the moment is quite interesting and I feel it’s doing me the world of good.
I might not ever find out the trigger or what caused it to resurface again at the end of last year, but I feel I’ve come a long way in the last few months, I’m doing stuff I would never have dreamed of doing and would have avoided at all costs before. When my therapist asks what I want to get out of my sessions I only have one answer:
- To be able to go out with friends and/or family and be able to eat a meal without having to choose a ‘safe option’ or worry about how many people are in the room and where my nearest exit is.
(It was just to be able to go out for a meal and eat but I’ve got over that little mile stone – you have to celebrate the small victories!)
The Mental Health Foundation hold tea mornings, not only to get people talking but also to raise money for the charity and awareness of mental health, which I think is an amazing idea! As a keen tea drinker it’s the best advice I can give anyone –
Stick the kettle on and get talking, there’s nothing that can’t be solved over a cup of tea.