I’ve collaborated with Laura (The mindful mum blogger) on this post to normalise mental health, and more specifically anxiety. It will be featured on her blog too, which you can read here.
Since I was 13, I’ve struggled with mental health, its been something that comes and goes. I’d like to point out I did have a really bad few years with my health when I was a teenager but now I am the happiest I have ever been. I don’t mind talking about my mental health, as it is one of the ways I made it through.
Laura put together a set of questions for the anxiety story posts. They are listed below, I’ve tried to be as detailed as possible. I know that talking about this subject will make it less ‘awkward’ or ‘taboo’. Please, if anyone has any questions, comment and I’ll do my best to answer!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What types of things do you enjoy doing?
I’m Jess, I’m 22 and live in Nottingham, England. I went to university in Nottingham and stayed here because I love the city. I did Computer Science at uni and now work for a large company designing websites and supporting start-up businesses in a wide range of things. In my spare time I like to blog (obviously), play video games (both xbox and pc), cook, read when I get a chance and go to the gym each week.
- What does the anxiety you experience look like (obsessive thoughts, extreme worry, intrusive thoughts, anxiety disorder, etc)?
I worry a lot (still) and used to have intrusive thoughts. From a doctors point of view, I have generalised anxiety disorder. Although I don’t know how relevant this is now. For example, I used to have 2/3 panic attacks a night, which was exhausting. Now I barely have any, more like 3/4 a year! As I said, I am the happiest I have ever been right now, and I can’t stress enough how much I have changed. My worries now are still present and can cause some restlessness and irritability in me. However, I have found methods to ‘bring me back down.’
- Do you see a therapist/psychologist?
I used to see both a therapist and a counsellor when I was a teenager. They were both a great help and would advise anyone struggling to seek guidance from either.
- Do you take medication for the anxiety?
I used to take diazepam when my anxiety was really bad – it would help me calm down from a panic attack. Now I take over the counter ‘calming’ tablets if and when I need them.
- How long have you been dealing with anxiety?
Since I was around 13.
- What are some triggers for the anxiety you experience?
It depends really. When I was younger, I used to have panic attacks at night because I was terrified of the dark. My anxiety flares up now when I have a lack of confidence in myself. When my self esteem hits rock bottom and I’m doing things I haven’t done before, my anxiety gets out of control.
- Have you ever dealt with the dreaded anxiety spiral?
Yes, quite a few. These happen when I mainly alone, as people like my boyfriend aren’t there to talk me down.
- Do you experience panic attacks?
Yes, but not as much as when I was a teenager.
- What are some things you do while you’re having a panic attack or are in an anxiety spiral to help pull yourself out of it?
Breathe slowly and count to 10 – it really helps. Try and think about all the things you are grateful for in life or think about your favourite things. Sometimes I just tried to think about nothing (as difficult as that sounds). 90% of the time, the only thing that can calm you down is your own mind. Most of the time, if you can’t do the above, try to distract yourself until you calm down. I used to watch tv or colour in a colouring book or read a book.
- What are some preventative measures that you take to help prevent the anxiety you experience?
Currently, I am happy, and I think that is because I dealt with the underlying issue. I dealt with these issues by talking to a counseller and a therapist when I was at rock bottom. Medication and getting yourself out of anxiety spirals is good to start with, but for the whole issue to cut out almost completely, you need to tackle the main issue/trauma in your life.
- What are some of your favorite anxiety resources (websites, books, etc) that other people could reference if they’re struggling as well?
This is a strange answer, but Youtube helped me a lot. To calm myself down, I would watch some of my favourite Youtubers. I didn’t really read any ‘self-help’ books or anything like that. Talking to other people is a good thing too. It may be hard at first but you might find out that others have had similar issues to you.
Thank you for reading this post – it means a lot!
Follow my blog or my Instagram for more!