Speaking Out: Anxiety

Where it all began

I’ve suffered with some form of anxiety for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories was in Primary School when I was invited to a friends Birthday party at an indoor play park. I was so nervous and shy that I made myself sick to avoid going. From that point everything changed.
My anxiety slowly got worse. I found certain situation more difficult, speaking to a classroom full of peers was near impossible. At the time I thought it was normal, I had always been shy and my mum agreed.
Going from Primary to Secondary school was pretty difficult. I got split from my friends and found it hard to socialise with new people. Eventually I found it impossible to eat in public, if we went out for family dinners I’d eat the smallest thing and in later years I stopped attending altogether. One Christmas the family went to our local Indian Restaurant but I felt so uncomfortable after getting dressed that I vomited and stayed at home by myself.
After that moment I kind of pieced everything together and knew something was up but I was so afraid to say anything. I put myself under so much stress not being able to speak to anyone that I started self harming throughout my GSCE years at school. I began to get bullied too, because I was quiet and different from most of my peers. I liked different music, different fashion, different everything. I was a bit of an emo. I was underweight, it was something I’d battled with since childhood. I’d been to the doctors and was taking weight gaining milkshakes and pills but nothing seemed to make me gain weight. I was always bullied for being “skinny”, “weak” and “too thin”. It wasn’t the best time but after leaving school I stopped self harming, worrying people would notice.

mental health my anxiety story - Peaches and Bear Lifestyle and Travel Blog

After that I tried my best to be social with the very few friends I had. I centred myself around the online community. Speaking to people on MySpace and on chat rooms and forums for hobbies and bands I had interest in. I got confident speaking to people I didn’t know online, they didn’t know what I was really like, my past and everything else. I could tell them as much or as little as I wanted to.
I became a bit of a hermit in college and left after one year because I didn’t feel confident carrying on. The next few years were a bit of a blur. I did some stupid things but eventually got a job I liked, saved some money and went abroad with my boyfriend for the first time. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I was so nervous for eating out in public, we had to find quiet or dark places or ask to be seated in a corner. Around that time I moved to London with my mum for a fresh start. But I didn’t know anyone other than her (and my boyfriend of the time who lived in Manchester).
The next year I very sadly suffered a miscarriage and everything seem to have spiralled after that. I lost control of everything and everyone around me. I left my boyfriend because I thought it was the best thing to do at the time. I was worried about what he thought of me for losing her, worried he blamed me for the loss.

Blogging and anxiety

I was made jobless and spent most of my time online again – reading blogs and using Tumblr to speak to people. Eventually I decided to give blogging a go for myself – I’d seen so many great opportunities for bloggers to meet other bloggers and that was my only hope in blogging, that I could find some friends and have someone to talk to. Do normal things that girls in their early 20’s do.
However blogging wouldn’t wave goodbye to my anxiety. The main thing stopping me from making friends and enjoying social situations was my social anxiety. As I blogged more, then came opportunities to meet other bloggers at events and meet ups. I attended a few, determined to step out of my comfort zone and sort this out for good. It was no use. I felt so awkward, out of place, of course I’m not the most social and I’m sure most people do think on first meet that I’m just rude. I’m not. I just find it so hard to start conversation at first meet – however know me for years and I’m completely different with you. It’s baffling.
I found a new job. The one previous to this one I’m in now. At the start I was so nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was a very public job in the eye of passengers. It freaked me out. But I can happily say that over time it gave me confidence, I was able to speak to strangers for more than 30 seconds without panicking so much. I still had my odd moments but I finally felt things were getting better.
However over the past year I’ve got into that slump again. My mind is numb, full of worry for so many things. I started taking sleeping tablets and  I panic leaving the house alone. Speaking to strangers. Going to the shops and to work. Pretty much everything causes me to get those anxious feelings and habits back.

Trying to get better

In recent months I’ve read so many Anxiety, Depression, general help blog posts from bloggers – some of my favourite bloggers included. I had no idea so many other people had suffered such similar experiences as myself. It was a relief. I was able to comment on and speak to girls who knew how I felt. I had no idea how much the online community would influence me to seek help from a GP.

It was only recently that I decided to speak to my GP about my situation. After telling her everything above and filling out a few questionnaires she diagnosed me with social and general anxiety, gave me a prescription of medication to “take the edge off” and advised me of counselling and CBT. I can’t tell you how I feel, the weight that’s been taken off by taking that step to tell me GP that I’m not okay.
Although I’m nowhere near cured, I feel such relief from speaking out and I really urge anyone who reads this, knows they’re in a similar situation, to do the same. It will be scary at first, approaching your GP is a big step but it’s in the right direction.
You’ve always got a friend in the blogging community.

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  • nicole

    Aw this is such a beautiful post, you are very brave for sharing it with us! I am so sorry to hear about all the hard times you have been through but I happy to hear you are making progress! I am going to my doctor in two weeks time to talk about my mental health struggles. I am more nervous than I have ever been in my whole life! More nervous than before any exam or anything! I know I have to do it though! I also 100% agree with the last statement!

    I wish you all the best for the future and I hope everything improves for you xx

    http://thriftyvintagefashion.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/a-letter-to-my-future-self.html

  • Well done on your bravery to share your anxiety with us! It’s not easy to basically bare your soul in this way. So very glad to hear you have been to the doctors and are getting help now. Life has thrown a lot at you but it sounds like you’re coming out the strong one after all. Hope you’re ok & you know where I am if you ever need to talk 🙂
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    Xx

  • Jade Millard

    You are honestly so brave and admirable for writing this post. It’s absolutely beautiful. It makes me so sad to hear about all of the tough times you have been through, but I’m so glad you’re beginning to seek help now. It goes to show that you have more strength than you believe. Thank you for writing this and for being so open and honest. I’m sure it will help and inspire many 🙂 xx

  • Cat

    Oh sweetheart, you are so honest & brave & I totally admire you for this post.

    I started seeing someone about my anxiety about 2 years ago & I can’t tell you the difference it made to my life. I’ve now finished councilling & have discovered new ways to deal with scary situations & it was definitely the best decision I’ve made.

    I hope everything works out for you <3 xx

    http://www.hello-cat.blogspot.com

  • Laila

    Aw hun, this is such a brave thing for you to do. I’m so glad you took that step to get some help, and I’m so happy it’s beginning to help you. I can relate to the point you talk about work gaining you confidence, because it has worked for me. I’ve always had a problem with looking people in the eye, and being at work and talking to strangers and having to look at them in the eye, was hard at first but it has helped. Thank you for sharing your story!

    http://fleurdelailis.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Holly @ Mellifluous

    Well done on writing this post!
    I was diagnosed with anxiety when I turned 21, but I think I’d probably had it a long time before then. I get sweats when I go into a shop and cannot wait to leave. The online community has been a massive support over the years as well as my close friends and family. I completely agree that going to your GP is the best thing you can do and certainly the first step to getting better. I used to go to CBT and the therapist was lovely. I don’t think my anxiety will ever go away and I have good days and bad, but I now have it at a manageable level.
    Changing jobs really helped me as well, I find the role I’m in now to be less stressful, but I think the only person who has ever put the pressure on is me. Thank-you for sharing your story and I hope you also get the help you need 🙂

  • Yellowicing

    Wow, this is a really brave and powerful post. I’m so sorry to hear of all you’ve been through, but so pleased that you’re finally starting to feel better. I’ve struggled with bouts of anxiety myself over the years, although I’m fortunate that it’s been fairly mild, I totally get being nervous of eating in front of other people though, I have to feel super comfortable with the other person to be able to do so even now. Your blog is beautiful, good luck with the counselling/meds, and I’m positive everything will work out brilliantly for you.

    Lucy x- Yellowicing

  • This is so incredibly brave of you – i also struggle with anxiety and it is so unbelievably consuming – a simple trip out can send me into a spin. I’m hoping that a recent increase in SSRIs will help as i already feel a little more ‘grounded’, but therapy is probably the best help for me. Sending lots of love, your blog is wonderful xxx

  • So many people struggle with anxiety, and they often dismiss it as nerves at first or second glance. However, we know that it’s so much more than that. Everyone is different, but I know many of us can relate to having anxiety – severe enough to where we avoid events, people, places, whatever the cost. I remember when I would always run away from presentations at my university. I’m lucky I graduated at all. Though it’s common, there are still those who don’t know what anxiety is or feels like, and they can be very dismissive, which is harmful in ways they may not understand. Hopefully, people start opening their eyes, because there’s so much more out there – so much to learn about people. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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