FYI – I was planning on having this completed and uploaded on Monday, but one handed typing took a lot longer than I expected! Better late than never though so have a read!
I’m going to tell you all something personal about myself. This isn’t something that I tell a lot of people, not because I am ashamed, but because I’m afraid of burdening someone else with my problem, especially when they have their own issues to deal with.
For as long as I can remember, I have suffered with anxiety. When I was a child I used to make myself sick with worry at the thought of changing my daily routine in a massive way. To me that could be spending the night in a friends house – it was something I wasn’t used to, it would take me a while to be comfortable in someones house, so the thought of being in another place overnight would make me completely panic and worry that I was somehow changing everything or missing out on something at home.
Eventually I grew out of being upset about not staying in my own bed, but my anxiety still lingered in other aspects of my life, mainly my health and the health and well-being of those I cared about. If someone didn’t answer their phone or was late or something along those lines, I would assume that they were in an accident or something terrible had happened to them. There was one time an ex-boyfriend had fallen asleep, and I completely panicked because I couldn’t get in touch with him. I was so worried he was hurt or something bad happened to him that he woke up to nearly 40 missed calls from me. I panic when I’m in cars, I’m constantly aware how easy it is to be involved in a car crash, how stupid some drivers can be. Knowing that people I love drive around in when it’s icy out or in horrible storms makes me panic until I know that they’re home safe and sound. I have OCD tendencies, again mostly to do with safety and health. When it’s bad, I check switches of whatever I’ve been using up to 20 times before I’m convinced that the appliance is turned off and won’t start a fire and burn the house down when I’m gone. I carry antibacterial gel in my bag and have to wash my hands right away when I touch anything that might be considered dirty – it’s gotten to the stage where I can wash my hands so often in a single day that the skin can become cracked and bleed.
It’s not easy living with this much fear and worry inside of you. I often worry so much that I’m reduced to tears, or I make myself physically sick. There are good and bad periods. It’s a dark place to be in, and I don’t really know how to not be like this. It’s hard because when I think about it, a lot of what causes me anxiety are perfectly rational reasons to have it.
So, in honour of World Mental Health Day, I encourage you all to be kind. Treat people how you want to be treated. Give others your attention when they need it. Make sure you’re there for your loved ones. Ask someone how they’re doing, and mean it. Be there for your loved ones. Speak up. Don’t be ashamed to admit what you’re feeling. Don’t be ashamed to seek treatment. Do what you need to do to get yourself into a good place mentally, whether it means taking a step back from things, changing your lifestyle or going to talk to a professional about how you’re feeling. Be aware of what it is you’re going through, and what can help you get through this, whether it is your family, friends, or a doctor. Your health is your wealth, so take care of yourself.