These photos were taken just hours apart. I know the second one may be shocking, and certainly not the kind of picture anyone would be rushing to share on social media! However, I'm posting it because I know months ago, before I was diagnosed with anxiety, I thought I was the only person in the world who felt the way I did.
For me, anxiety comes with shame. In school, I wanted nothing more than for my struggle with anxiety to go unnoticed by my peers and teachers. You could not have paid me a million pounds to admit it to anyone; all I wanted was to seem just like everyone else. Even now, it makes my cheeks go pink when I am reminded that I, so used to identifying as smart, capable and “normal”, have a disability.
There is something unsettling about the ambiguity of mental health. The brain is of course steeped in mystery; a complex organ we have less understanding of than any other organ in our body, the core to one of life’s greatest mysteries – life itself. Fear often always follows the unknown, the misunderstood and from experience fear has always followed mental health.