I set up this blog for a few reasons, to get things off my chest, to maybe even get help, a mask for my anxiety disorder… but most of all, I wanted to let people know that they are not alone and by me opening up, I hoped that I could help.
This is a message that I received earlier on this morning from a person I have been in contact with since starting the blog. I have turned this message into this persons own blog and will let you read this fantastically written post.
I’m not ashamed to say that it had me in tears during my lunch break and I am so proud of this person for being so brave and telling all.
I really hope it helps.
I’ve been reading this blog for a little while now and wanted to share a few thoughts that may give hope and strength to those who need it. I’ve suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember. I have a vague memory of being taken to the doctors as a child and the term ‘panic attack’ being used. At the time I think I was probably quite dismissive of that term, with a mild sense of embarrassment, since it was and still is a term branded around too loosely to describe something that it isn’t. It wasn’t taken seriously and life went on. Over the years it got worse and worse and as I got older I didn’t enjoy my life and couldn’t even remember a time that I had. The anxiety stopped me, at times, from going out unless necessary, restricted my socialising, even stopped me visiting family, ended friendships and prevented new friendships getting started. It didn’t happen overnight but eventually, without even noticing it, I found myself sad and lonely full of self doubt and loathing. My confidence was low and the image of myself very warped. People would ask me what do you do? What do you enjoy? And my answer was nothing. In my head though that was okay. People would ask when was the last time you enjoyed yourself and I had no idea. My life was just going through the motions and everything I did was dominated and dictated by anxiety. I was literally the young woman scared of everything. It was like living in a dark room with no windows or doors and I couldn’t get out. Somedays I couldn’t even look in a mirror and would sit indoors with the curtains closed because I didn’t want people to see me.
You might ask how I got by and on the outside maintained a ‘normal’ life. All I can say is that it was so painful living like this and as the blogger says a lot of us wear masks. I am so good at hiding my true feelings – on the outside I can look like someone who was fine but on the inside its chaos. Often when I’m going through a bad patch I hide away so people can’t see me. Acting normal took a lot of strength and behind closed doors I cry my heart out and it’s been absolute turmoil living this parallel life.
Things were bad again late last year and I needed help but I couldn’t face up to admitting I had problem and dealing with it. I was too scared. This is someone who gets nausea just thinking about making a phone call. It hit rock bottom when it began to affect my family so much so I even struggled to take my children out to the local park let alone anywhere else. I couldn’t even go to the supermarket without getting home and breaking down in floods of tears. It was getting to a point I couldn’t see past my front door. This was no way to live.
Then I found this blog and reading through the pages choked me up. Not only could I relate to it but I could have written some of it. It was like someone holding a mirror up. Looking in at someone else experiences and thinking how terrible it was made me question why I couldn’t feel like that about myself or see what I was doing to myself and those close to me. Here was someone, like me, and I was shocked to the core about what I was reading. It was heart-breaking reading yet it was describing me and how I felt in so many ways. It kind of opened my eyes I suppose. The raw honesty and vulnerability of someone putting themselves right out there somehow struck a cord. This person was doing this to help others and I took comfort in this – all of a sudden it was okay to feel the way I was – simply because there was someone else the same. Someone of a similar age who I could relate to. I contacted the blogger privately and after a few exchanges I had the strength to start facing some of my fears and get my life back. I want to share that it feels amazing! I have even had a few anxiety free days. It’s such small steps but to me I feel like I’ve moved mountains. I’m finding fun again in life and I really want it to continue. So the message is that there IS hope after all these years and no matter how bad it gets. It’s very early days but I think I’m on the road to recovery but even if I’m not quite there simply sharing and talking has taken me forward. I’m inspired that someone has started this ball rolling by putting themselves out there and being so strong that’s it given me the determination to beat this illness once and for all.
Thank you so much for sharing your story 🙂 I can only hope that you are feeling positive and strong seeing that your message, your story, is out and that you are so brave for doing so.
Congratulations my friend, take care and speak soon. 🙂 x