I am a self employed artist doing exhibitions, conventions and Freshers’ fairs. I also suffer from pretty intense mental distress. Talking to my peers has been very valuable because they gave me support that I was unable to get from secondary services. I needed someone to talk to and services do not always have the time for this.
My friends often understand when I talk about social anxiety and depression as most people have some experience with this, but they can’t relate to the strange sensory hallucinations I get. However, they are still willing, for the most part, to discuss it and this does help me. I know it's hard for them to get but they accept that it's real to me.
This afternoon, I took part in the final rehearsal for a gig and during this my vision sharpened, brightened, I started to sweat, people’s faces start to distort, I felt like running away, I couldn't bear to be there. I started to have paranoid feelings. I talked it through with one of my peers, so we went to a quiet nearby café and he sat with me, we had a cup of tea. I explained that when you’re in a massive panic attack it feels like it'll never end. I stayed in it, talked it through a bit and I was able to get home safely.
I wrote this blog because I think we can all relate to times we felt vulnerable, judged, unsafe, or down. I think the more we share experiences the more we realise there is more unites us than divides us, as I discovered this afternoon.