Anxiety is my Captor. It controls me: my heart, my soul, my life and I feel so defeated, like nothing can stop it.
My journey with anxiety started four years ago during my eighth grade year. It started out with little things such as not being able to focus in my volleyball games and being hesitant to eat in front of people, but nothing really past that. My family and I didn’t think much of it, I mean of course it was annoying but medical attention for something that we considered so simple was too much for my family to handle at the time. So, I went about life just trying to make it through middle school and juggle my friends and the boyfriend I had at the time, but no one even considered the obvious trigger that was occurring in my life at the moment. We just tried to push it under the rug to where no one could see it and no one could tell. Anxiety doesn’t necessarily say “normal” to everyone my family interacted with. So we carried on.
Fast forward to ninth grade and I had a medical incident that rocked my entire world. I was weak physically and emotionally unstable. After I regained control, I got to visit my first psychologist and she was amazing. We talked for a little while twice a week and came to terms that my anxiety was being triggered by an emotionally abusive relationship that I had no idea existed due to me never really knowing how a relationship was supposed to go. Fast forward to after we had broken up and the problem still hadn’t just dissolved. Why? We learned as a family that anxiety isn’t a one and done situation, it’s here and in my case here to stay.
If we skip over the series of panic attacks we couldn’t find a cause for in tenth grade and me stopping visiting the psychologist, we get to eleventh grade. My eleventh grade year was not good to say the least. In August, I learned what it truly meant to be homeless and I had to live with my grandparents for a year. That was a disaster. With all the stresses in my life and an unstable situation, my depression and anxiety hit hard. So hard, that I had no idea what to do and I began a downward spiral into suicidal actions and thoughts. I returned back to the psychologist.
Okay. Now you’re all caught up. That’s been a short run through of my life with anxiety thus far, now for the reason I wrote this.
Last night, I had an encounter with anxiety that moved my progress with this beating this condition backwards about ten steps. I was starting a new job the next day and I came home from church throwing up and I thought it was just nerves, well over the next 6 hours I had around 5 panic attacks lasting about twenty minutes apiece. Twenty minutes, five separate times of not being able to breathe or think and just wishing I would die.
But this post isn’t all negative. I want to talk about having a support team. A support team contains people that help you through the tough times and have your best interest at heart. Support teams can contain friends, family, significant others, and medical personnel. My support team last night really stepped up and are still going consistent into today as I continue having immense anxiety while writing this post. For example, my boyfriend came over about 1am this morning helping me through a panic attack from his house 20 minutes away and my mom rubbed my back while I was crying and tried to help me get some sleep. Support teams through mental illness is so important and I truly don’t thank mine enough.
Did you know 1 in 5 people have a mental illness of some kind? According to those stats there are more of us around than you think and we may not all be strangers to you. Open your eyes and look into the lives of those around you. People around you may be silent sufferers needing a support team to help them through it. Now I’m not saying be abrasive because that is not what they need, what I am saying is just be there. Allow yourself to be attentive and open your heart and together we can all take a stab at mental illness.