Mental illness is something that is very common, but something not a lot of people are open to talking about. It is also something that is very easy to hide because it is not something you can see. I have been suffering with anxiety since I was in 5th grade and it is something I hid until about three years ago when it became too much for me to handle.
I had my first panic attack when I was 10. At the time I had no idea what it was, but I was in class and I suddenly felt this wave of panic rush over me, and I thought I was going to pass out but I didn't say anything I just sat through it. I don't remember having another one at that age, but I do know they progressively got worse the older I got. By the time I was in high school I was having at least one a day, but again I just sat through it and hoped I wouldn't pass out during class. My sophomore year of college is when I finally had to say something because the panic was constant. I wasn't sleeping and when I was I would wake up in a panic, not matter what I was doing I felt this constant nervousness that wouldn't go away. Every night I went to bed the first semester of that year I thought I wasn't going to wake up in the morning.
So I finally told my parents that I needed some help, Now anxiety runs in my family, but I was the youngest to have ever experienced it. I went to the doctor and he gave me a low dosage of medication that I could take when I needed and it worked, but I am a person who hates taking medication if it can be avoided. So I asked if I could go see a therapist and it has honestly been the best decision I have ever made.
Honestly I'm a pretty open person, but I feel like my voice gets drowned out a lot of the time in my family because there is so much going on. Thats why I didn't say anything for a long time, because I didn't want to be a burden, I wanted to come across as I can handle myself and all my problems and nobody ever has to worry about me, but what I realized was that staying quiet was what was slowly eating me alive. I love to listen and help other people but I need my voice to be heard as well, so having someone just listen to me and help me work through my fears and the constant pressure I feel to be perfect that is paired with this constant feeling of failure does more for me than medication ever could.
We also talk about trigger points and why certain things like movies or the news effect me, when they have no effect on someone else. I've mentioned before that I'm hyper sensitive to emotionally charged situations because I am always trying to please everybody, so if someone is upset or hurt or there is extreme violence or something of that nature even in a realistic movie, it makes me panic because I can't fix it.
I am well aware that life happens and I am going to be put in situations that will trigger my anxiety, but I now know how to better work through those moments and I am very happy to say they are almost non existent as of right now.
A lot of people suffer from anxiety, and I promise it doesn't make you weak. It just means you have something that has been bottled up for too long and it needs to be expressed. letting your guard down and sharing your emotions makes you strong and it will also make you feel better. We need to start talking about these things and stop judging other people because everyone is fighting a battle even if its one you can't see.