There hasn’t been a lot of time for a blog post these last two weeks. Moving south and starting a Master’s degree in the same week was ridiculously exhausting. I thought maybe I’d be able to put some content together, but it just didn’t happen. If i’m being entirely honest, I have been finding things a bit difficult.
I started noticing it last week when I woke up and began getting ready. I felt the old tell-tale signs of the ‘a’ word creeping up. Anxiety. The heavy chest. The slight feeling of emotion, where I wanted to burst into tears. The feeling that I would have to put all of my energy and willpower into forcing myself out of the front door. I feel like it’s important to address things like this, like when I’m not feeling amazing. I tried to do this at the time, in this best way I could, on instagram stories, but I felt like I needed to write it all down. For that, I needed to wait until I’d stopped for a moment, got to the end of the first week and taken a breather. Personally I think it’s important to acknowledge, and talk about, when everything isn’t one hundred percent. Social media will lead you to believe everything is always perfect. Mental Health “problems” (I don’t agree with that term but we’ll go with it for now) are still stigmatised and the more people who talk honestly and frankly about the good, as well as the bad, will only make it more ‘normal’ going forwards.
Everyone experiences anxiety differently, some people have never had an anxiety disorder and may not know the true extent. There may be people who read this and think “surely you can just walk out of the door, you don’t have an impairment?” And yes that may be true, I am very thankful to not have anything that physically prevents me from walking out of the door. The mental barriers are, however, not something to be taken lightly.
Five years ago I had, what I now know, to be a panic attack. It triggered some intense agoraphobia. It isn’t really a fear of public places incase you’re wondering, it’s much deeper than that. I found it be more like feeling scared of experiencing anxiety and not being in a “safe” place. I’m also aware that it probably sounds ridiculous to some people, and that you could say there’s nothing to be afraid of. That’s kind of the point though, anxiety is not rational, it’s completely irrational. You can’t explain it to anyone.
Over the last five years I’ve battled the good days, the bad days and everything in between. Finding out my anxiety is due to other health problems, that have only relatively recently blossomed, hasn’t made it any easier. It kind of just confirmed to me that there wasn’t a reason, that it was just my body reacting to other things – I suppose making it even more unpredictable.
The good days have become more frequent and I will be forever grateful for that. I don’t think I will ever take being able to leave the house for granted again. Although it tests every part of me, I’m hoping it will start to get easier. Tiredness is also a big trigger for my anxiety, personally, and I haven’t sorted out an eating pattern yet either which is also making things a bit tricky. The detached feeling I often suffer from is also really hard for me to cope with. It’s almost like I left myself at home. I lose my patience easily. Some days the anxiety goes away. Some days it hangs around all day. There is no pattern, it’s simply random.
This week has been intense. The commuting brought me close to tears on more than one occasion. The vulnerability. The exhaustion. The rapid heart rate. The detachment. The terrified feelings and the emotional rollercoaster. It’s all a lot more tiring than I anticipated. I haven’t given up, even if I really wanted to at times. This is something I really want to do. I think once I’m into a new kind of routine, once I’ve started a new kind of normal, things will ease up. Once I’m a bit more used to going out at a set time every day and commuting by myself. Fingers crossed anyway. Either way, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.
If anyone ever wants to talk about anxiety, please feel free, i’ll always listen. If you wanna talk about change, moving, university or anything else, i’ll always be about for a natter. If speaking about my challenges helps anyone else feel like they’re not alone, then it’s worth how I feel now.