Sunday, 31 March 2013

Anxiety and Me



Today, I'm not posting about expensive bronzers and foundations. Instead I'm posting something quite personal, a topic I feel passionately about. Anxiety.  I don't think there's enough awareness about this condition and as its affected me I wanted to write a personal account on how I deal with it as there are so many people who suffer with anxiety. You are not alone.

Since being a little girl I have always been a worrier. I come from a family of worriers. I used to panic about getting dirty, getting lost, being late etc. it's just who I am and I accepted that. However, in the past 2 years it became a lot more apparent and started to hinder my life. In late 2011 I had an extremely stressful and traumatic week. It may seem trivial now but at the time it was horrific.  I went through my first proper break up, which made me feel like my world was ending ( naive 18 year old me). One of my old, good friends lost his battle with cancer and I begun working at MAC. This all happened in a space of a week or so. Typically, I was left alone for that week whilst my family holidayed and I was struck down by an horrendous flu.

I was coping okay until one particular night. I locked up the house and set myself up for bed. I was exhausted yet every time I started to fall asleep this wave of panic set over me. I can only describe it as being not being able to breathe woot thinking. My heart raced, my mind raced, everything was going at 100mph. I tried settling myself down by turning on the tv, by sitting up right yet nothing could stop this force. It neared on 3am when I decided to call NHS direct as I couldn't fathom what was happening. I was simply told to go to my doctors the next day. After such a traumatic night, I got in my car and sped off to see my GP. Teary eyed with shaking hands I pleaded my doctor to help me. Without much explanation of what was going on I was prescribed beta blockers to slow my heart rate down.

I felt a little at ease that I had something to help me at the time. The medication did work momentarily but I found myself back at square one. I found I couldn't move with everything in my body in agony, I would cry uncontrollably. I couldn't deal with things I used to enjoy. It used to spoil my nights out with my friends, cloud over me at work, stop me from sleeping and my weight plummeted. I was enveloped in just a big black bubble, I felt like my life was ending and my body was giving up. It seems dramatic but that's exactly how it felt.

I decided to take a break for a week to go visit my mum in Northern Ireland. I felt fine, I was safe and happy. Until one night I took a turn for the worst. I started having a really sharp pain in my chest. I began to freak out. My left arm started tingling followed by the rest of my body. My eyes started rolling and I started being sick. My parents called an ambulance and they were round in a matter of minutes. They checked me out and everything was fine, my heart and lungs showed to be completely normal. I simply had bad reflux and due to my nature, it threw me into a serious panic attack.

I later returned to my GP and was referred to a therapist which I was then diagnosed with severe anxiety and low mood. I begun Cognitive Behavioural therapy where I was sent out workbooks in order to help me understand and control my anxiety. It worked wonders. It taught me nothing is as bad as it seems and that anxiety/palpitations weren't going to kill me. I started to get Shannon back. My family and friends showed me amazing support and I got through it.

I was discharged from CBT and my medication. I felt normal and happy again. I do still live with anxiety, but it doesn't control my life anymore, I control it. Later on, I met my now boyfriend Chris. I was a little afraid to tell him about my condition in case he'd laugh or not believe me. He completely accepted it and has witnessed me having milder attacks. Chris knows exactly how to calm me down and help me breathe through it. Over time, that big black bubble disappeared. He is one of my main support networks and he has definitely helped me battle the bitch that is anxiety.

I want everyone to understand that it is not a condition that can simply be shrugged off. It consumes people's lives and if you are a sufferer, YOU'RE NOT ALONE. You can get through it, it isn't going to kill you. Speak to your GP, your friends and family, you're gonna be ok kid. If you know someone who suffers from anxiety, support them, listen to them as that is the biggest cure of all. I hope everyone can appreciate this and be more open about mental health issues in the future. It's nothing to be ashamed of and it's so common. Thank you guys for reading and if you want any advice please feel free to send me an email.

Shannon x
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22 comments

  1. This is a great post Shannon, I personally don't suffer with anxiety but I bet it helps a lot of people out there who do and it can help raise awareness.
    X

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  2. Mental health is something most people never really seem to take very seriously. I have suffered with anxiety and depression for years, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has to go through things like panic attacks! You seem like such a confident and head strong girl. I'm glad your able to deal with it now!
    I had a huge break down over a year ago now and I lost a lot of weight, but didn't really link it to my mental health. I struggled A LOT and was put on anti-depressants that I had an allergic reaction to. My whole body was covered in hives and I couldn't leave the house for two weeks! So that didn't solve the problem.
    I think having a therapist, or just anyone to talk to can really help. Most Dr's just try to fob people off on tables.
    It's lovely that you have your boyfriend as such a close connection, I didn't really think about that but I had a breakdown in Mexico this summer just gone and my boyfriend had to literally cradle me until I could breath again.

    I'm glad you wrote this post. Mental health needs to be taken more seriously

    XO

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    1. It's amazing how many people suffer from it YET people still don't understand it or talk about it. A lot of people don't realise how if affects your life. It's so good that you have a good support network too and I hope you fight it off soon, which you will! Thank you so much for the comment xx

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  3. Aw a really good post, good on you for sharing. This isn't something I personally suffer with but no doubt it'll help someone and that's great. xx

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    1. If I at least offer one person some comfort, I'm happy! Thank you for reading :) xx

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  4. You should be so proud for this post, describing an issue like this is very revealing for a person; and to do it for the benefit of others is admirable. I still suffer from anxiety with depression, and mental illness is such a taboo subject; it's like you can't talk about it, you have to keep it quiet to not embarrass yourself (and to not make the person hearing about it feel uncomfortable). To see such a beautiful and empathetic girl with a severe anxiety issue too doesn't make me feel so alone :)

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    1. What a lovely comment, made my day! Thank you so much honey. We all should be talking about it! I hope you can fight it off soon! Like I said, you're never alone even though you can feel it at the time :) xx

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  5. This is really great! I suffer with anxiety too and i am only just starting to face it head on, but to hear that later down the line you are starting to get yor old self back, really encourages me!!xxx

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    1. You will always get yourself back, anxiety is just a little bitch that needs a slap haha good luck! Thank you for reading xxx

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  6. I've suffered from anxiety for a few years, and often still have panic attacks. It's so great to see someone addressing the issue so publicly as often people are so negative about things to do with mental health. great post girl!

    http://myrealfooddiary.blogspot.com

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  7. I think it's really good to see bloggers talk so openly about such personal issues. So many people still feel like they shouldn't be talking about anything remotely mental health related, which I think is such a shame. And well done on actually having the guts to have it all out there for people to see :) xx

    http://d-is-for.blogspot.co.uk

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  8. This is such a great post! I'm such an anxious person as well and found that this helped! :D xx

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  9. I can relate to this post SO much, it's comforting to know that others have gone through it too. Glad to hear you are feeling better in yourself! xx

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  10. I don't suffer from anxiety but after reading this post I really sympathize with you. Anxiety sounds so scary and frightening but it is so lovely to hear you have an amazing support unit around you to help you through xx

    http://whatisinherwardrobe.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. I did a post on this very recently so if you want to read my story check it out at cherrytruth2.blogspot.co.uk it was about 3 posts ago so just scroll down or find it as my 3rd most popular post on my popular posts section on the side of my blog :)

    I really like reading your post on anxiety. I love reading other people's posts on this as as you say it reminds me that I am not alone! I'm getting so much better at coping with my anxiety now and only had 3 panic attacks in the last month and a half! Which is a huge improvement from January when I had at least one a day! I wish you all the best and I can 100% relate to how you feel and thanks for writing this again xxxxx

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  12. Thank you for this post, it is amazing! I feel pretty much the same as you sometimes and I'm planning to go back to my GP soon! It's important to remember you are not alone and this post helped me realise it too :) xx

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  13. This is a great post, really makes you realise you're not alone in it all. I suffer from anxiety and depression and rarely talk about it as most people just mock it and say "oh you're not really depressed you're just a bit miserable". The truth is I've stopped attending university and had to start doing it at home because I'd start panicking outside the lecture rooms and I started crying and has a breakdown on my way to my exam (not the best timing)!

    I really do think awareness needs to raised about mental health because too many people just dismiss it or mock it, when really that's the last thing a sufferer needs. xx

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  14. Hey honey, it's Lauren posting from her new blog, haha i'll never learn. :P

    Just wanted to say you're very brave coming out about anxiety to your readers. Definitely a helpful read for those suffering and not being able to talk about it. :)

    Take care lovely. :) xx

    http://laurelbay-bird.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. It's really upsetting that their isn't more awareness for mental health issues and that people don't take them seriously. :/

    letitiaharriet.blogspot.com

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  16. Well done for posting such an honest & refreshing post on the subject. Hope you are feeling much better on your medication.
    Would love you to check out my latest outfit post :)
    Last day to enter my trench coat Giveaway!
    Have a fab Tuesday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

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  17. Hiya Shannon! Just wanted to say thanks and let you know I appreciated you sharing this! I know what you´re talking about and it´s not easy..! Glad to hear you´re feeling better now, I´m in the middle of finding a way out of this "mess" myself.. It´s nice reading others stories about it :) xxx

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