I haven’t created a blog post about my anxiety as of yet. Why? I’m not really sure to be honest. Maybe I was anxious about writing it.
My Reverie retweeted a blog post by a doctor suffering with depression and I was immediately drawn to this. I’ve always wondered how someone in that profession can cope with both the pressures of the job and their mental health. It really inspired me. It also made me feel like I wasn’t alone, that someone of high intelligence that works in such a field can feel the exact same way that I do.
I’ve suffered with anxiety for years now, but I only really came to terms with it earlier this year, and made the decision to get help after hitting a low point in my life. I’m very lucky to have a loving and supporting fiancé. We’ve been together for about 7 years now and even he initially had to look at me from a medical perspective last year, and realise that my reactions to certain things weren’t particularly “normal”.
I needed support
My fiancé is a medical student. He really does care about people and helping them. He’s also able to remove himself from a medical situation and cope with it professionally. It’s one of the reasons why I think he’ll be an excellent doctor.
He was one of the first people to help me realise that I needed help. I came up with the usual excuses.
There are people who need it more than me. I don’t want to waste the doctor’s time.
I was so wrong. Although I had good intentions, as I genuinely do care about others, I forgot that I needed to care about me. I was at a point in my life where I was struggling. I couldn’t understand why I was so angry, irritable and sad at times. I was easily upset if things didn’t go to plan and accepting any changes to the perfect movie in my mind was difficult. I wanted more than anything to be happy.
I’m reading a book at the moment – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – and there are some quotes in here that were a bit of an eye opener for me.
Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations. Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest.
Mark Manson is completely right. Whether I was conscious of this or not, I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to be happy and escape the negative feelings of anxiety.
…this fixation on the positive – on what’s better, what’s superior – only serves to remind us over and over again of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be. After all, no truly happy person feels the need to stand in front of a mirror and recite that she’s happy. She just is.
My fiancé asked me, “if you had the chance to be happy, would you take it?”. Without hesitation I replied, “yes”.
An appointment with the GP
I finally made the decision to book an appointment with my GP. I was nervous, scared, not sure how to explain what goes on in my head and how I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I went to this first appointment on my own. I was honest with my GP and told her that I was scared of leaving this appointment with nothing to help me. She suggested I try Kalms. I felt distraught, defeated and alone. I had openly told this woman that I felt like nobody would care if I was gone, and she recommended I try Kalms.
I had given up at this point. I went home and cried, I was angry. I convinced myself I would do this on my own. My fiancé was extremely supportive. He urged me to book another appointment and insisted that he would come with me this time. It was the best thing I ever did, it changed my life.
My appointment was with another doctor this time, he was friendly and listened to me. He listened to my fiancé who helped me explain that I suffer with panic attacks and needed help. He made me feel like I wasn’t stupid or time wasting. He prescribed me with a low dose of antidepressants. I left feeling positive and ready for change.
The antidepressants changed my life
I didn’t notice any changes in the first month or so, but I eventually started to feel different. My perspective on life was much calmer and I was able to process things that would normally stress me out or give me a panic attack. For once, I was happy. At the time, I was also reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is book also changed my life. I will be writing a blog post about this soon. It helped me to appreciate the little things in life and also made me realise that it’s OK to have bad days. That’s life.
Our society today
Now here’s the problem: Our society today, through the wonders of consumer culture and hey-look-my-life-is-cooler-than-yours social media, has bred a whole generation of people who believe that having these negative experiences– anxiety, fear, guilt, etc – is totally not okay – Mark Manson
Here’s the thing, it is OK. Social media is great, I’m an avid user of it myself, but don’t let it define how you live your life. There are more people that suffer from this than I ever realised, a lot of them close friends. I’m not alone and neither are you 🙂