I think I’ve always had anxiety. I remember the school councillor telling me I was anxious when I was in year 10. But I never did anything about it.
I was far too embarrassed. I put what everyone thought of me before my health. Looking back now, it’s completely ridiculous!
Fast forward 8 years later, yes it took that long. I’m was 25, working full time, mother to an 18 month old and married.
Seems perfect. Sure it was, on the outside. But here’s what was really happening- My husband could barely talk to me without my snapping, and I felt incredibly distant from my son. Things were worse at work. I would have panic attacks any time I was faced with confrontation- and when it was good it was even worse! Every time an office door would close I was CONVINCED I was getting fired. I would have to meditate in the toilet to make sure I could pee. It got really bad.
But the worst bit was my hands. Any time I felt uncomfortable- which was 99% of the time- they would sweat. And once they started sweating, BAM the panic would set in which caused me to sweat more, which caused me to panic more.
It was awful.
One day, I decided to do something about it. My husband was moving away for six months for work and I knew I needed help. I was always a big advocate for others confronting their own mental health issues. I knew it was time to become an advocate for myself.
I saw my GP and I was put on a mental health plan. I saw a psychiatrist once and week and talked through my problems. But that didn’t click!
So I went on medication.
BAM! My whole life improved 100%. I was me again, and it felt fucking fantastic. I cursed myself for not going on it earlier.
When I told my boss at the time, the response I got was “be careful who you tell, it could ruin your career”.
That, right there, is the exact reason I suffered in silence for so long. I was so worried about how other people would perceive me: weak, strange, crazy.
Since I have moved from that job and that boss I have been open with my illness, and open with my treatment. I respect myself and my health enough to put it before my shame, and through that- and a supportive workplace- my shame is gone. I still have my bad days, but they are few and far between.
I didn’t ask for anxiety, it’s not my fault, but I AM dealing with it.
And did you know 1/4 people in Aus suffer this illness? Yup, that many!
Let’s work together to lose the stigma, let’s work together to support those suffering this shitty illness!
For more information and support on anxiety, visit beyond blue: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts
If you are suffering the symptoms of anxiety, please see your GP and find a treatment that’s right for you! You DON’T have to suffer alone!