Hello everyone. In today’s post I aim to be completely honest and transparent about my mental health. There are some thoughts on severe anxiety and self-criticism that I would like to share online. In other words, I hope my experience will aid those who are suffering today from the effects of mental distress.
The effects of uncontrolled/severe anxiety
Last week I had an incredible nervous breakdown, to the point where I could not visualise an end to my demise. As dramatic as that sounds, I wholeheartedly believed there was something truly wrong with me. I could not sleep, barely ate anything, and suffered from constant intrusive thinking of suicide/harming others. It was frightening, to say the least. There was absolutely no conception of a close end or light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. I was totally, hopelessly lost in fear.
There is hope for us anxiety sufferers
I am telling you this because the person I was last week is quite different from the woman I am today. The thoughts are still there, let’s be clear about that point, only quieter and less inducing. The symptoms of panic come and go, although they do not dictate my day-to-day activities; or if they happen to interfere with my schedule, at least it is not self-limiting. Life continues its course, with ups and downs, as it does for everyone else. After all, I have learnt to accept it is okay not to feel fine all the time, and that seeking help is not a sign of weakness.
Why we need help from others
Two weeks ago, I started counselling with a marvellous lady who follows a person-centred approach. It has only been two sessions, yet I can already identify a familiar thought pattern. This default thinking has been embedded within me for as long as I can remember. It is, of course, the never-ending cycle of self-criticism and low self-esteem.
Let us think for a moment that I had decided to keep my issues private. For example, imagine drowning at sea without a life vest nearby. You can probably swim a short distance, still your strength will eventually die out and all hope for survival would be lost. It doesn’t sound appealing at all, does it?
If you have agreed on the previous part, what follows should be easily understood. Just as the stray swimmer, I needed a “rescue boat” with the correct set of tools to guide me back to shore. Simple as that. Truth be told, there is no shame is feeling vulnerable and reaching out for help. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Life is a journey of constant change
To conclude this entry, I wish to place more emphasis on a point of view I found beneficial during my acute episode of anxiety: it doesn’t matter how bad things seem today, tomorrow will be better. Repeat this to yourself until you believe it without a trace of doubt. Problems come and go, as the changing tide of the sea; just the same, once you memorise the way back to land, you will never be lost again.
- Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/ (116 123)
- Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/
- No Panic https://www.nopanic.org.uk/
- NHS suicide prevention https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/suicide/
- Wellbeing service https://www.hpft.nhs.uk/services/community-services/wellbeing-service/
- Find your therapist https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists