So, I had left Uni, my big life plan abolished somewhat, and I needed to get a job. Working focused my mind and helped me a bit, I started socialising with people from work and people I met through the bar and stumbled upon a fun little life. It might not have been the one I wanted but it felt ok. Still as I turned Nineteen alone without anyone to really celebrate with I couldn’t help feel that depression and anxiety had helped to ruin my life.
I honestly believe one of the best things for anxiety is the structure of people supporting you. Obviously I had my family but over the next few months I was to meet people who would help to shape me and support me. I don’t really want to include people in particular but the people who helped me through that period are still some of the strongest friendships I had today. I learnt through them to be honest about who I was and what I was going through and that more people than you know will understand. I learnt that people always seemed to know someone who had been through something similar, and that deep down most people are good and want to help.
As the dust settled and I got used to my new life I started looking for a ‘proper’ job, I had found friends, a social life and a boy and I didn’t mind my little life after all. I soon got a full time job and was excited to start working and have my evenings and weekends free. However the new job brought it all back. Not to say the anxiety had disappeared but the depression had, but within my first week I had found myself locking myself in a toilet cubicle as i suffered another debilitating panic attack.
I panicked when I work up, on the commute, even as I parked my car. I found myself losing my breath at my desk, walls pulling in on me as I walked up the stairs. I became like a ticking time bomb once again. The hardest thing about this, wasn’t dealing with it around new people or in work, it was the realisation that it wasn’t just a phase. This was something I was going to have to face up to, and no amount of partying, drinking of hiding away would fix it.
Luckily my boss as the time, has family who had suffered the same problem, and as soon as she caught me in the midst of a panic attack she sent me to see Occupational Health. Starting counselling felt like I had been given a lifeline, and I looked forward to getting help. However it took a long time to find the right treatment. I spoke to people who blamed family break ups, called in Depression, tried to put me on more tablets. I chatted, cried, was even hypnotised once, all in the name of trying to ‘cure’ my anxiety. Sadly nothing seemed to be working, until I found Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
CBT helps you to put strategies in place for when you can feel the onset of anxiety. It isn’t a speedy or simple fix, but it involved working through your problems and taking control. That’s my kind of therapy! Anything that enables me to gain control is a winner in my eyes. I learnt to breath through the problems, focus on the positive and look at the issues that created my anxiety.
Over the next year or so my life started to come together, but I still didn’t feel ready to go to University, I was feeling stronger but then was when I was surrounded by my support network. I still had a million boundaries that held me back. I couldn’t go away with friends, I couldn’t take long journeys, be in busy places, I couldn’t go into city centres, shopping centres…. the list goes on.
I had also gained back all my weight, Two and lost had crept back on as I had sought comfort in food and drink, so whilst I was getting there emotionally, you can see I had a long way to go, and life was about to through some pretty big curveballs at me.
Thats enough for now!