To start with, I wanted to reiterate my point on my last post about speaking out re mental health. Those who know me will know I am as open as possible when talking about my own mental health. That’s not always been the case, but it always seems like the more I do talk to people, the more open I become.
Maybe because it helps my confidence. Or maybe I just talk a lot. The main reason, I believe, is because it helps me and other people. People talk to me about my blog and give me feedback. Many do it privately; mainly because they or somebody they know have/are suffering with mental health problems or difficulties, and they maybe want to ask a personal question. Each time somebody does contact me, I feel like I have had some kind of impact on them, and that keeps me going. It reminds me that the more I/we talk openly about mental health, the more people come forward and stop struggling in silence.
Going it alone is the hardest. And those of you who don’t talk much about their difficulties are probably sat there saying I’m wrong… that actually the HARDEST part is talking to somebody. Trust me, in the longer term, openness is the way forward.
If only it was that simple though eh? All those fears swimming around inside, panicking at the thought of telling somebody how you’re feeling and what you are thinking. How will they react? Will they think I’m being stupid? Will they think I’m wasting their time? Will they disown me? Will they treat me differently? Will they make me go and see a shrink? Will I end up looking like a zombie? Will I have to stop work? Will they tell anyone? Will I become dependant on tablets? I had all those questions and more… but with anxiety, I’d ask myself questions, answer them myself then hear my ‘inner-voice’ teasing me. “If you tell them, they’ll think you’re crazy” or “you’ll have to start taking meds; meds that you’ll get addicted to and that will see that you sleep soundly…” … “for 23 hours a day”. 😉
That’s just my example of anxiety… thoughts happen so quickly that you’re reacting ahead of yourself. You react so quickly that it takes a few seconds to reign yourself in a bit and steady yourself before you have a huge panic attack in the middle of the street.
Ohh, the dreaded panic when you’re out. Racing thoughts that, usually, you can hear coming from your own voice. You can hear yourself telling yourself all that bullcrap…. mine went something like this;
“Everyone will be watching. Oh my god, you might actually pass out in front of everyone. Ohh you’re gonna be sick. Shit! Get away from everyone quick. Go somewhere quiet. Get yourself alone, now! Oh fuck, you’ll pass out alone and you might die. You’re sweating all over. Head might explode any minute. Keep smiling until you’re alone. Act normal. You can’t do it, you really are gonna pass out in a minute. Just breathe.”
Now you can’t breath properly. Getting close to collapsing. Light-headed. Everything sounds fuzzy. Sweat dripping off my face. I know if I try to move I’ll drop to the floor. At this point I can’t get up until my vision and hearing go back to normal. That can take seconds, and bad ones can take minutes. Still all feels like it’s actually hours though, every time. I start cooling down with all the cold sweat on my body. I get too cold and start shiverring. I need to rest a lot now. Those few minutes can floor me for days at a time.
So, the initial thoughts (my voice in my mind) are so powerful and evoke emotions that feel overwhelming. The more overwhelming, the higher chance of a panic attack; which to me is “too much anxiety”. This makes it very difficult to try to speak out about your own mental health; the fear of anxiety overload is just too overwhelming to even consider going against what your thoughts tell you. But it makes perfect sense to me that anxiety holds us back. We avoid anything that we associate anxiety with. And the more we avoid things, the harder it is to then face them at a later stage. And you can keep trying avoidance for as long as you want to, but I’m hoping you’ll see, very soon, that you can’t avoid things forever.
I don’t really know if any of that makes sense to anybody. To be honest, when I’m on one like I just was then, I don’t really remember what I’ve written. I have more of a brief memory of what I write about. But I never re-read a blog post until after I’ve published it. My reason being, I was writing all the above without sitting and giving it much thought. I would rather you read it as it happened in my mind, than reading something I wrote and then changed. The only reason I’ll ever edit my posts, is to fix spelling and grammar errors (oh yes, that’s me!). I don’t think re-wording my thoughts helps you to understand them better. 😉 babbling a bit now so going to say night night. X