Leicester, UK

My Mental Health Journey with Anxiety.

"Mental Health isn't a battle to be won. It is a journey to continue walking"

It's been 6 years since I shared my mental health diagnosis in my blog post 'Having a Mental Health Disorder' and I've been on a journey ever since that day. The perception of myself, my thought process and how society deals with mental health has changed SO much. I wanted to use this week, Mental Health Awareness Week to dig deep and share a snippet of my mental health journey with you. 

It's important to remember that all of our journeys are not the same, what I went through isn't what the next person with anxiety has experienced and vice versa. However, I do think it's important that we share our stories to offer a beacon of hope that hopefully people are reminded that they're not alone.


My diagnosis came in 2014, during the final year of my dance degree in Coventry. Shit went down in that year and emotionally I filled my bucket with it all. Imagine being a child carrying your bucket full of water from the sea to your sandcastle kingdom and sloshing the water everywhere, that was me 6 years ago. I truly believe that for years I was carrying around mental health problems, especially when I cast a thought back to how I felt in specific situations growing up and in school etc. Physically, I had anxiety for a long time but it was only until after gasping for breath outside a restaurant in 2014, unable to translate what got me so riled up to my best friend that I needed to get myself to the doctors. 

Let me tell you getting a diagnosis from a university doctor, was at the time a 'quick fix' that I could have done without. The conversation was sparse, I was handed a prescription of tablets to take and then I left with very little further information about what it was. I got a confirmation weeks later from my local GP and handed more security that there were ways of supporting me with having anxiety. Please do seek support from your local home GP with mental health, I've had mostly good experiences in chatting with them. The first year of diagnosis was the hardest as I tried to adapt to handling what triggered me as well as adapting to life as a graduate, searching for jobs. This was the year I found the true appreciation for family, friendships and meeting Jordan. 

I think one of the biggest lessons I've learnt in this time is that anybody can have anxiety and that doesn't mean it defines me.

Over time friendships have collapsed, I have had good days and also some really bad days. I took on CBT which gave me more knowledge around my thought process and how to manage that better. I've figured out what my triggers are and learnt to live beside them, rather in their shadows for 6 years now. I've learnt what works for me to get me out of a rut with how I'm feeling; whether that's taking dance classes, doing yoga, going to the theatre, reading or running the bubble baths of all bubble baths! But I've also understood the importance of talking about how I'm feeling; a problem shared, is a problem halved and I feel as though some of my difficult days have been made better by doing this. 



I've come so far over this time and it's important to acknowledge your tiny victories. 6 years ago, I'd struggle to go for dinner in a restaurant even with my closest of friends, travel on public transport to local destinations, going to watch a show and holding down friendships was really tough. Over the years I learnt to manage my anxiety, accept that some people just don't "get" what it's like to have anxiety, ticked off some near-impossible things over the years and back then it seemed that I had a good grip on it all... or so I thought. 

In 2018 I was pulled back into the grasps of my anxiety when I quit my job in a school to take on a Marketing career. What happened was the anxiety of 2014/5 came knocking at my door and it was like I was meeting it all over again. It wasn't a good time and it still brings a knot to my stomach. It was tough and even now in 2020, anxiety knocks on my front door every now and again to remind me it's still very much here. I still have panic attacks, I still find some days unbearable and find myself getting torn up over the smallest thing. 

But what has happened since 2018? I've left marketing, got back into working in education, really taken to blogging, made some fantastic friendships, travelled around the UK, done numerous interviews with people (when i'd usually opt for emails so I don't have to talk) and recently started my Mental Health First Aird course because I know it'll help others. I love working in schools where I can promote the importance of mental health too, learning about mental health has to start there at the roots, in education. 

I think it's important people like me continue to share their stories and to show others that mental health doesn't have to live in a cloud above me but it lives beside me instead. We're navigating life together. It helps me to grow into a stronger and educate others that it's ok not to be ok. 



 

Comments

  1. You've come so far Emmie and you should be so proud of yourself! I'm sure this post will inspire and give a lot of people who suffer with anxiety hope x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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