November 11, 2016

I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks which in turn leads to me suffering from mild depression. This has a huge impact on not only my life but those around me. It's not something I'm open about or even talk about, it's certainly not something I say out loud. But why? We shouldn't be ashamed.

It all started for me when I'd finished working abroad and returned home without a job. I struggled greatly with not having a reason to get up in the mornings and with everyone around me at work I felt very alone. I felt low for a while, I’d go to bed at night convinced I wouldn't wake up in the morning as I worried that I was sick, and I'd cry for the people I'd be leaving behind. I didn't really know what was happening and I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone about it, people wouldn't understand would they? Then soon the panic started, I couldn't understand what was happening to me. I often had to call my mum at work who'd have to come home and calm me down, I soon became terrified of being left on my own. The fear of having a panic attack started.

My panic attacks became more regular and like everyone who has suffered from them they are so terrifying especially when you don't know what's happening. I spoke to my mum about how I was feeling, I cried a lot and ever since she has been there for me. She's been my rock and without her I don't know where I would be now. I told other close family some understood, some struggled but they all tried to help in some way.

I later got a job and in time with help from other people and services I got through it. I was panic free for 3 years when one day It was back! Out of nowhere I was at home on my own and it hit me like a tonne of bricks all of a sudden I was back 3 years not wanting to be alone. I had a new partner we were moving into our first house together, I was so happy and everything should have been perfect but it wasn't, it still isn't, I'm still fighting and it's a huge strain on my life and my families.

It affects daily life, I'm so limited to what I do. Being pn my own isn't an option and that is a huge strain on my life and my families. My anxiety arrives when I'm alone or the thought of being on my own. It's the fear of having a panic attack. I've recently come to realise that when a big change happens in my life that's when it's at its greatest, making life that little bit harder. I'm worried for the future particularly starting a family. It's something I've always wanted but as things are now the thought of being off on maternity leave on my own is just a terrifying thought and the fear of finding it all too overwhelming is high, after all it's one the biggest changes in life.

I'm a very private person and very few people know about what I’m battling with, I'm worried what people think or that people will talk, judge or see me as weak. I feel like people never fully understand mental health issues if they haven't been through it and even when they have everyone's struggles are different and their own. I give off this hard exterior at times but inside I'm often really struggling. The thought of people seeing me as weak is something I dread, although I believe those who fight these battles are the strongest amongst us all. I know telling people would save a thousand questions and confusion. Some people would understand, help even, I know it's best to talk but it's the fear of those who will judge.

It's a huge step but I feel like is the time for me to talk and be honest. I've recently spoken to my employer and I've had a positive response they are wanting to help and are supporting me and I'm so thankful and glad I've told them.


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