This is a very personal post for me. I wanted to share my Mental health story with you guys, and I was inspired to do so by the wonderful Hannah at littlethoughtsblog.com. Hannah campaigns #TalkMH and has just launched a collection of goodies spreading the word! Go ahead and check out her shop at http://littlethoughtsblog.com/store/. I think we should all be encouraged to talk about MH and the impact it can have on our lives. I used to feel ashamed and weak. I would even refrain from telling my closest friends the whole truth. I’ve had some very dark times in my life, but I have also had many happy ones. And that shouldn’t be forgotten too!
So where do I start? I have always known about MH issues as it has been a big part of my family life. My granny had severe MH issues and was unable to leave the house and hardly talked. She has severe ocd and hygiene phobias where she would wash her hands a million times a day. My Grandad was so strong and looked after her everyday until she passed away a few years ago. She unfortunately went into mental institutions when my mum was younger, which I think had an impact on my mum being the oldest of three girls. My Mum also suffers from MH issues. She has Depression, Anxiety and issues with paranoia. But to me shes my lovely mum who I smother with hugs much to her annoyance!
So, growing up I was very aware of issues with anxiety and depression. My Brother even had it briefly when I was 10 years old. I was always such a vibrant energetic child. Even thought I was very sympathetic, I couldn’t understand it. I loved life and always wanted to be out and being adventurous. Never did I even imagine that MH would ever be an issue for me. Well…
When I was 15 I was ill with a bad virus. I was so weak from not being able to eat, I was very vulnerable and this is when I had my first panic attack. I remember it sooo clearly. I couldn’t breathe and it wasn’t stopping. I remember just crying with my dad saying when will it stop. That was the worst night sleep I have EVER gotten. Feeling like you cannot breath all night long was not fun in the slightest!
After this one panic attack, they kept on coming. I recovered from my virus but I had now become a victim to anxiety. My anxiety got worse, and as I entered 6th form I could barely go to school. I was young, but I couldn’t go out with my friends and have a good time. I felt so guilty and lonely for not going out with them! This is when the depression really kicked in. It was a viscous cycle of anxiety and depression, so I went to the doctors where she diagnosed me with Genralised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
I worked with my doctor and saw her every week. I worked my little butt off and was able to got to school, then college and now in full time work. I have very bad days, I have amazing days and everything in between. I think having MH issues does not make you a weak person. It makes you an incredibly strong person. Having to fight through horrible symptoms everyday just to live a normal life is pretty badass.
I truly hope everyone is well and if you too suffer from MH please don’t do it alone. I am giving you all a huge cyber hug right now!
All the best
Rachel Natasha xx