Firstly I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome you to my blog. Thank you for joining me on what I hope will be a helpful journey through the trials and tribulations of my recovery from stress and anxiety.
I thought it was only right that I start by introducing my situation and what I am hoping to achieve as we go along. I want to say at this point also that this is my first dabble in to the world of blogging and what I call social media with a purpose (ie that is designed to help others rather than just showcase my life).
To add some context to the situation, I will explain in some loose terms (because I do not feel the need to publicly declare the intimate details that led to my illness at this stage, for no other reason than to protect those involved I should add) how I have ended up where I am and what I am hoping to achieve.
I would say that I have been “officially” mentally unwell for the last 6 months, however there had been a significant amount of time before that where looking back now I can see that it was there and it was brewing. I had a significant trigger in the shape of a difficulty at work which resulted in daily panic attacks and high levels of anxiety. At this time I was juggling a stressful job working 30 hours a week officially but in actual fact it was many many more, I had 2 young children and a husband in a very demanding and hugely stressful job with limited flexibility. Up until the trigger, I felt I was balancing everything OK. I felt I could cope with all that was being thrown at me and even though I was often left exhausted I felt that I could cope with everything I had to cope with . But then a situation at work became more than I could cope with and the whole thing came crumbling down around me. I was experiencing panic attacks , at least daily if not more. Things that once were so simple became almost impossible. Just driving up the ramp to the car park would trigger a panic attack. I would sit at my desk feeling like I could explode at any point, with anxiety bubbling up inside of me. I couldn’t settle, I couldn’t concentrate and I could barely function.
It was at the point that I had a panic attack trying to send an email asking someone to do something for me that my husband pointed out that actually this wasn’t normal and couldn’t continue. I visited my GP who signed me off from work and recommended a counsellor who could help me. It is from that point that I feel my journey began, and what a journey it has been. It has had many highs and lows up unto this point, and I am certain it is not over yet.
This is where the blog comes in, as a way for me to express the many thoughts and musings I have on daily life – living with anxiety but also as a way for me to share my experience with others. When I realised what was happening to me, I felt as though I was literally going crazy. I didn’t know what anxiety was, I didn’t know what anxiety meant and I didn’t know how to rationalise any of it. This was a major thing for me as I thrive on the rational, the expected and the stuff that can’t be controlled. My counselling helped me to understand – what anxiety was, how it manifested itself, why i was experiencing what I was and how I could manage it.
It is those learnings that I want to share, I recognise fully that I was extremely lucky to be able to access counselling and my counsellor was fantastic. She got me, she understood how I was wired, how I had ended up where I was and she didn’t take any crap. She told me how it was!!
I am also aware that those feelings of not understanding what was happening and of feeling crazy were truly frightening, and if I can say anything that can help anyone who is in that position feel one tiny bit better than that would be a fantastic achievement. I am keen to make sure that others don’t feel they are alone in this battle.
My disclaimer is simple, I am not an expert in anxiety nor am I a trained mental health or medical professional. I am just someone wishing to take the opportunity to share my experiences in order to encourage others to share theirs and to make the world of anxiety and mental health awareness more accessible to those who need it the most.