A few days ago I shared how my journey into mental illness began, which was with panic attacks. So, here is part two and all about when anxiety struck.
The panic attacks led onto really bad anxiety, and this could be anxiety about anything and everything. It could be regarding my health, my safety, my life, other people, what they thought of me and even worries of death, I could probably have won an award for worrying. I’d worry about everything and I’d look out for problems in every situation and my mind would also create them. I was fearful of everything before the thing I was fearful of had even happened. Fear controlled my life and caused an unreasonable amount of anxiety to occur.
I was convinced something was missed with my health, I’d convinced myself that what was wrong with me was not just ‘in my head.’ After all, how could something that felt so bad be just in my head and causing all of these physical symptoms. I felt that pain within my stomach, my head really did hurt, I genuinely felt sick all the time, how was that, anxiety?
So, lucky me, I had chronic panic attacks and also generalised and health anxiety to add to it, life felt awful.
When you wake up in the morning you expect to feel better after a good night sleep. I woke up and felt just as bad as when I laid in bed at night thinking about all the things that were going wrong in my life.
I had spent years studying art and design, I had completed my course with distinction and had moved onto to study graphic design. But, because of the panic attacks and anxiety I was failing and I was failing fast. It got so bad that I couldn’t actually get into the building where my course was, because the panic attacks would start before I’d even left the house.
I’d have to constantly attempt to reassure myself I wasn’t going to faint, I had to tell myself constantly that I could do this. I drive to my course and the next hurdle was getting out of the car and to the building. This is when the extreme anxiety and panic would start and I knew it would start here, it always did.
I’d go to the door to enter the room where my course was held and I literally couldn’t open the door, so I’d hide and then I’d leave. There is no surprise that I tell you that I ended up failing the whole course and all of those years studying went into nothing.
The anxiety I was suffering was physically painful, the crying would hurt my whole body. I was exhausted by how extreme the feelings were.
Why was this happening to me? Why me? Had I done something so bad that I deserved to be suffering in such a way?
There was nothing anyone could do, I was in and out of therapy with people who didn’t do much, we just talked about the same thing over and over again. No one was giving me the solution to my rapidly deteriorating condition.
No matter how many therapists I saw, how many doctors appointments I had, nothing was hitting the nail on the head. After some time, the professionals began to tell me that I was just going to have to learn to live with this. To manage life with a mental illness.
I came to realise that nothing was going to help me, I was going to be like this for the rest of my life.
I wanted to be who I was before all of this started, a carefree life lover who had loads of friends, the most amazing social life, health and happiness. But everything was taken away from me. My mood not only was heightened with dreadful life sucking always on edge anxiety, I was also creeping into a very low and dark place.
This place I was slipping into was scary, it was a different place though, almost like an add on to the anxiety and panic attacks. It was almost a numbness, a deep underlying numbness. I really didn’t like it, I didn’t recognise it and I had never been here before. I didn’t know exactly where I was going but it was dark, very, very dark.