Firstly this is not DAY 1 of my Anxiety, This is DAY 1 of when I have been able to publically speak and share my experiences. Will there be a DAY 2? Who knows? What I do know is that MY Anxiety does not have an agenda or follows a stringent routine.
So why the capital ‘MY’……
This is how MY Anxiety impacts on MY life, there are millions of Anxiety suffers around the world but like a fingerprint or DNA, it is unique to the individual.
Some people may agree and relate to what I say, some people may not, that is fine, I am not controversial but at the same time these are MY experiences and not a generic stereotypical attack on Anxiety and/or Mental Health.
When did it all begin………..
I have suffered from Anxiety/Depression for approximately 16 years, the first episode back in 1999 when as a 21 year old I struggled massively with change and being alone. A new job opportunity saw me fly the nest for the first time and move away from my friends and family to an area not far away but far enough for me to feel the difficulty of integrating into a new society. I was young and naïve and my usual positive attitude became soaked up in the sponge of negativity and worry. Simple solution…. pack bags and move home. No, this was not an option, I didn’t want to be seen as a failure. Most nights were spent alone, I struggled to find the motivation to be part of a crowd. My nights involved myself and sitting in darkness, I had very little contact with my friends and family, yes there was mobile phones, just! but communication forms such as Social Media did not exist, even Text Messages, were at the time, unheard of. I was becoming a recluse, trapped in a life that I had pursued but one I couldn’t leave because of my sheer stubbornness. I did however create a wall, a wall that nobody could see through, I decorated the outside of this wall with all the things I wanted people to see and believe while I shied behind it, frantically replacing the bricks whenever I felt I had given too much away. I didn’t want help, I didn’t want pity, I just wanted it all buried under a blanket of denial. The strain of the false feelings and increasing levels of despair accumulated in a failed suicide attempt in 2000. THIS may surprise people who read this and know me, only my family and those closest to me are aware this. I am still haunted to this very day of the picture of my parents face when I regained consciousness, the sadness, the regret and sheer helplessness they had was truly heart breaking. My wall was demolished, I moved back home and I sought professional help.
There is a lot of stigma attached to seeking professional help through counselling, Psychiatrists and even medication, especially in young adults. They feel somewhat embarrassed, ashamed even of having to rely on someone or something to enable to find the right passage back to normality. I was exactly the same, I fought not to be part of this, it was literally the brute strength of my family and friends that got me onto the Professional help highway and I am 100% glad they did.
Taking a brief step back the present, I have to note that this was me then, not now. 16 years of finding my feet, maturing and incorporating MY own strategies with those of the professionals has removed me from that dark hole and I will never be in that situation (yes its a bold statement but it MY statement) again. My life now is full of positivity fuelled by my unconditional love for my daughter and my passion to be the best Father I can be.
Speaking of ‘Father’ I unfortunately lost mine when I was a young child through a Brain Aneurysm, was this instrumental to the events around 1999/2000? maybe, maybe not. I will never look for excuses or reasons for what happened even when people (the professionals) tell me otherwise. The death of my ‘Dad’ never really impacted on me, I was too young to understand or even grieve, to this day I have never grieved for him, does this make me a bad person? I miss him, yes. I regret not having my Dad in my life, yes. Has my life been worse without him, no. Controversial? I hope not.
Everyone who has suffered from Depression and/or anxiety will all have their own reasoning or theories why they have. There is no external person anywhere to tell them they are right or wrong.
I know that sharing MY experiences will not be the worlds answer to dealing with these issue but they are part of helping MY answer.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I do plan on posting more about MY present day battle with Anxiety