I realise that so far I’ve talked a lot about my mental health conditions as issues which affected me greatly 5+ years ago but which I have overcome. Whilst this is true for the conditions which I have spoken about (panic attacks and agoraphobia), I do want to make it clear that I have a diagnosis of an anxiety condition and I am still managing this.
My anxiety condition does challenge me but it does not define who I am. I am a pretty regular guy – I work full-time, own my own home and I am in a long-term settled relationship. I have ‘normal’ interests, do ‘normal’ things and before I talked openly about my mental health most people wouldn’t have realised the struggles I have faced.
Look…I’m totally normal…honest…
…Seriously though…that’s exactly the message that I want to get across in my blogs – that mental health conditions can affect anybody and that there shouldn’t be a stigma around the subject!
It was important to me to blog about my experience of panic attacks and agoraphobia initially to provide some context to the anxiety and depression which I have continued to battle with at various points over the past 5 years. Going forward I will also be blogging about current changes with my mental health in addition to the experiences which I have had of various mental health conditions in the past.
Presently I am managing my mental health to the point where it barely impacts my life at all and, to be honest, triggering anxious thoughts rarely cross my mind. When they do bubble up I am able to manage this thanks to the help I received the last time things got tough.
Autumn 2015 to Spring 2016 was the most recent occasion that my anxiety hit me really hard and affected my life immensely on every level. It overwhelmed me to the point where it was a struggle just to make it through each day without breaking down. I reached a stage with my condition at that time where I couldn’t see a future and almost lost hope of getting better completely.
Although I’m generally pretty relaxed about most things in life, my anxiety causes me to obsess about questions and thoughts which have no answer and go round and round my head until I’m utterly exhausted. I over-think, over-analyse and over-work my brain until I find it almost impossible to function.
My anxiety clouds my mind to the point where I can’t think rationally and thoughts (which would just pass most people by) suddenly become insurmountable fears or worries. It may seem strange but one of the main things that my anxious mind latches on to are existential fears about reality. I think it’s just such an incomprehensible subject that it’s the perfect thing for my condition to cause me to obsess over without end.
Opening-up to people about my mental health and seeking help was what allowed me to come through the tough times to the place I am now. I’ve gone through counselling, CBT and I am on medication. Taking these steps has helped me to rationalise my anxious thoughts and accept life’s uncertainties so that I can manage my condition.
Going forward I will blog about the treatment I have received as well as how anxiety has affected my life. I want to speak about anxiety in relation to my relationships, university, employment, buying a house and all of the things which we all experience.
I hope that discussing how I’m achieving my goals in life despite having to overcome challenges with my mental health will inspire others to see that you can also manage your mental health and achieve what you want with the right support…
Until next time…