Mental health is a tricky subject to blog about. It’s such a broad topic which is incredibly personal and almost has a ‘secretive bubble’ wrapped around it as if it’s something we shouldn’t talk about – I know this as when I was suffering with anxiety in secondary school, I had no idea that I had anxiety – a few of my teacher’s didn’t understand either. Why? Because nobody spoke about it. Don’t get me wrong, there have been ginormous improvements, or I’ve noticed anyway, in the past few years, but there’s still a lot of progress to be made.
I’ve decided to open up that little door of my life and blog about it. I’d like to mention that I’m not doing this for sympathy or attention; I feel like the more people speak out about mental health the easier it will be for people to access treatment. Now my blog isn’t going to save the world! But if one person reads this and feels better, or feels like they’re not alone – then I’ve hit my target.
I was always incredibly shy growing up, I remember going to school was such a nerve racking thing for me. I’d feel exhausted at the end of the day, especially when I was at secondary school. My anxiety was that bad that I was tearful most days as I was constantly on edge and anything could trigger panic attacks or upset me. Now, with that came a lot of name calling and bullying. I remember sitting in classrooms absolutely bricking it as I hated being in a room with so many people (my class sizes were just over 30) and I was the quietest one. There were huge personalities at my school and I just wasn’t one of them. I literally would just wait for myself to be picked on in some way, and I just felt so inferior and like the odd one out. If I was ever asked to speak in front of the class, I’d have a panic attack, my vision would go blurred and I wouldn’t be able to stop shaking. – drawing more attention to myself really – but I just couldn’t do it. While a lot of my teachers were supportive of my anxiety and fear of public speaking, some didn’t understand and would constantly push me to a place which would result in a panic attack. My school years were probably the most uncomfortable ones of my life so far.
In my head, I had just assumed that I was shy and that I just didn’t like school. My heart would be racing throughout a lot of the school day and I’d suffer a lot of the anxiety symptoms, such as sweating and being restless. I’d get home and absolutely dread the next day. I hated putting myself through it everyday. I just figured I was ‘sensitive’ and ‘shy’ however when I had to seek help for my constant fear, heart palpitations and panic, it became clear that it was a more serious problem with anxiety.
I felt like as I faced new challenges in life, my anxiety would come back stronger and keep pushing me down. I’d had help from the learning support team during secondary school and from CAMHs and it was great at the time, but it almost felt like it would only be a temporary fix. During Sixth Form, things like going to house parties would fill me with fright, even sitting in exam halls would fill me with a horrible feeling. I wasn’t just ‘shy’, it was social anxiety and it was becoming a huge problem and nearly stopped me form going to university.
So that’s a little summary of my teen years and anxiety, and it’s only the first out of this mini series of posts I’m doing. Luckily, they get a bit brighter from no onwards! It’s so tricky to summarise all of this into less than 700 words! But hopefully you’ve gained a small insight into my anxiety history. I’d love to hear what you think of this new blogging style – either leave me a comment or tweet me over @FromAHart – you can DM me or email me on the email on my twitter if you’d prefer a more private message.
Many thanks and love you all,