I remember when someone first spoke to me about my mental health. I'd had a panic attack in college, something that happened quite frequently despite me not realising what a panic attack was at the time, but this time a tutor noticed and advised me to visit a doctor. At this point I thought nothing of it since I'd put my anxiety symptoms down to a physical issue rather than a mental issue, despite struggling with it for two years already, and so I agreed to book a doctor's appointment the following day.
As I psych myself up to write this, I contemplate how many things I have had to psych myself up for already today...getting out of bed, getting washed, brushing my hair, eating, driving to work, focusing on conversations, meeting deadlines, remembering what I have to do and in what order, and this is all before midday. This has been a part of my 'routine' for the last 15 years and it is exhausting.
But over time, I started having extremely bad anxiety and was becoming more depressed. School was using the little effort I had left. I gave up all my after-school clubs, all sporting events. I wouldn't eat at school or at home.
After a few months, I reached out to my friends about what was happening. But sadly, at that time they just came out with remarks about how I was being ungrateful and it was all for attention.
I felt extremely judged. Their comments made me feel worse.
In March 2018, a week before my 21st birthday, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. The doctor also told me I was in recovery from bulimia, but still showing signs of the behaviours associated with it.