Friday, 1 August 2014

Back To The Basics

I am very honest about my experiences with mental illness, I see no reason not to be, so most that know me will have some sort of idea of what I deal with; those that know me well will deal with it too (for which I am ever grateful). I could literally spend days going into the nitty gritty, but I think an overview is a more appropriate for such a platform as my blog.

As i mentioned in my previous post, my self confidence problems mainly manifest in the form of fear. I have suffered long term (7 years, it feels like along time) with anxiety; more specifically panic attacks.

From what I am told, I have always been a fussy person. Now when I say fussy, I actually mean difficult. Hats off to my parents because I can be a royal pain in the ass. I have flat out refused to get on an aeroplane since I was 7 years old (I flat out refused to do a lot of things if I am honest), been a fussy eater since a similar age (by fussy I mean I was a serious sell by date checker) & I have regularly thrown tantrums that are befitting of a princess (and not our Kate - some Regina George style princess). I guess that none of this really fell into place until I got a bit older and started suffering consciously as well as subconsciously. 

I have always been a worrier, I worry about anything & everything, and I struggle to stop. Six years ago, when I was 18, I had my first panic attack. I had absolutely no idea what was happening to me, but I was convinced I was going to die. I had a lump in my throat so big I couldn't swallow, I lost all feeling in my legs and hands, my heart was pounding so hard and fast I thought it was going to pop out of my chest, I was shaking, sweating, coughing, fidgeting and crying hysterically. The worst part was the feeling that something bad was about to happen, a weird feeling in my stomach that I just couldn't get rid of. These symptoms lasted for a few hours until I was so exhausted that my body wanted to do nothing other than sleep; and that was where it all began...

Since that day I have suffered with panic attacks regularly, at some points in time they came every day. I have lost jobs, friends, opportunities galore, but most importantly I lost every speck of self respect that I ever had. 

There is so little understanding of mental health disorders by those who have not suffered themselves, and I can completely understand the lack of understanding (ironically) because I can not describe in words exactly how my anxiety takes a hold over me the way it does. The only way to understand it, is to experience it; and everyone's experiences are completely different (and no doubt equally as debilitating). I would never for one moment wish an anxiety disorder upon any living soul, but I do wish I could find a way to make understanding one a little more apprehensible.

I have been to countless different types of therapy (you name it, I've done it), tried numerous different medications (this needs a whole other post for sure), read a library load of books and tried every holistic trick going to 'cure' myself. Do I think I will ever be 'cured'? No. Why? Because this disorder is a huge part of who I am. It is what makes me so god damn quirky and as much as I get exhausted from the constant battle of trying to be 'normal', I have had an education into the human mind that money cannot buy and for that I am grateful. 

There are days when I worry about what my future holds... the question "will I be able to cope?" is one that used to pop into my mind every 5 seconds or so. I realise now that it is a daft question to ask myself, because the answer will always be yes. There is not a single thing that I have done in life which I have not managed to cope with (in my own unique little way)... So many tears have been shed over these problems and, quite frankly, I don't have the energy to keep crying over it.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that if you suffer internally, then talk about it. If there is something that you think you can't do, go ahead and do it & if there is someone you want to be, then you are probably already them without even realising it. 

Fran x