Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Invisible War - Struggles and Dealing with Anxiety, Depression and Panic Attacks

First of all, I've been contemplating this post for a while now, wondering whether or not I should share something SO personal on the internet, but as my followers numbers increase, I feel more and more inspired to share my struggles, and maybe to help others.



Grazia magazine have been introducing a #BreakTheTaboo campaign, trying to, change peoples views on mental illness, and in doing so have influenced me to finally voice my opinions, myself.

And another addition before I start, this is no way me wanting to get attention, piss anyone off, upset anyone etc. Some things I cannot share with you because it isn't safe to speak about on the internet, for myself and others.

Last year, around April time, as I was close to finishing college, our family suffered from a vicious attack to the front of our house, and living in a bungalow, with my bedroom at the front of the house, I was left terrified, and inundated with meetings with the police, statements being taken, and well-wishers asking how I was. Honestly, despite being a little startled, I thought I was fine, but I started to become a little nervous about going out, and the more I tried to ignore it, the more times I suffered with anxiety and panic attacks.

This wasn't the start of things however. I have been through my fair share of trauma in my life, and I'm not talking whiney, petty things, I'm talking life-changing, monumental stuff. I don't want anyone to begin to think I'm not a strong woman, because me suffering from anxiety is so far out of character, I don't think anyone close to me, or myself, even saw it coming.

It got to the point where in November, I was almost hospitalised for malnutrition and mental illness. Admittedly, I am one of the more severe cases, and many people won't get too this stage, but some do... I had spent pretty much every day feeling fatigued, not sleeping, eating, or even speaking to anyone. At this time, I was sleeping at my Nans because I couldn't face going home, and I'd go into her bedroom about three times every night crying hysterically about what had happened to me, and why it wouldn't just go away. (Looking back on this NOW, I can't remember most of this. I remember small things, but I didn't sleep or eat, I came so close to wearing away, my body stopped wanting to work.)

I had been seeking help, with both my GP and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at this point, but neither had seemed to help much, and I was in such a bottomless pit, it was as if I was so low I wasn't ever going to climb out. Around November time I got put on Citalopram, which was something I was very unhappy about. I dislike tablets, and if I have a headache, I soldier through it, so that was pretty difficult for me. First, I was given a 20mg dose, and this was NOT pretty, I thought I was going to throw up, I felt dizzy, shaky, paranoid and completely unable to sleep. I went in the day after and they lowered it to 10, which also, isn't very pretty for the first couple of weeks, I was left Googling the symptoms and terrified by this little tablet which was going to make me feel like death! Eventually after lots of pushing from my family, I took the tablet, and for about a week, felt uncontrollably sick after taking it, but this started to fade away, and managed to calm my nerves a little.

At the beginning of the year I started a higher level of CBT with someone else, which helped me get out more, and I even went to a gig in Liverpool in March, big change from my bed and practically being carried to the GP surgery, isn't it? And since, I've done so many things which I can hold my head up high, and be so proud of. I've gone back to my usual curvy self, and from losing weight to a size 8, I've gone back up to a healthy 12, and the compliments of my appearance have all returned.

So that's pretty much my experience, slimmed down as much as possible. Now, I'd like to share, a couple little things of meaning, for others, to help you cope, and a couple things that helped me.


Panic Attacks- 

These are horrible things, and until you've had one, you can't understand how horrible they are, as they simply feel like you are dying. You feel faint, dizzy, your chest can get tight, your throat can constrict, and you feel as if you cannot breathe. The only way to cope through one of these, is to concentrate on your breathing, and all the symptoms make you panic more, as their name suggests, but you need to try your absolute best to cut that out. Concentrate on your breathing, and something else... Anything else. My Nan used to talk to me about what she was cooking for tea, what was happening on TV, and as trivial as it sounds, it's something which will take your mind of exactly what is going on inside your body. The same goes for anxiety attacks, but these don't feel as scary as panic attacks in my opinion, so I just dealt with them in the same manner.

Anxiety, Depression and Mental Illness in general- 

First of all, remember.. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. One in four people in the UK suffer from anxiety, and as much as your ashamed, there will be numerous other people walking past you in the street, thinking the same thing as you. And don't try to be alone, it's what I did, and definitely didn't help with improving my condition.

With these illnesses you do need to seek help, go and see your GP before things get as bad as they did for me. Tell your friends and family, they will help more than you realise. And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is ideal for most people, they will just help you set little goals, and change the way your mind looks at things. An issue of mine was being an absolute Negative-Nelly, and Steve, my CBT advisor, told me numerous anecdotes which now help me whenever I feel anxious or nervous. There are lots of books on CBT available too, which help a lot, and are similar to what the advisors would tell you, so if you're too nervous to speak to someone, I bought this, from Amazon, which is very helpful and guides you through exercises to help improve your lifestyle. (The picture below describes depression perfectly, it's something that you cannot see, but it IS there, so it isn't something to be taken lightly, or ignored.)


Don't forget that everyone needs positive energy too, so do the things that make you happy, read a book, listen to your favourite artist, watch the most fun film on your DVD rack (Despicable Me, cough...). And despite the fact that this wasn't something I could do because of my lack of eating, and fatigue all the time, exercise is a brilliant help for people with anxiety, because the chemical Serotonin is released whilst you exercise, and it's a known "feel-good" chemical, thus making you look good, and feel good!

You may feel like the whole world is going on around you, and that you're missing out on everything, which will only get you down more, so don't let it. Keep on going. You can do it, the exact same way that I did. Hard work, determination, and even more hard work.

I now want to just say, how brilliant my family and friends have been throughout my struggles, I didn't realise just how loved I was until this, to everyone that stayed up with me till silly o'clock, watching shit on the telly, and running to Tesco to buy me my favourite chocolate brownies. As much as the illness made me dislike them for no apparent reason, (I was so rude, I feel ashamed.) but looking back, I couldn't have done it without them. And to everyone who supported me, thank you.

I hope that this post has helped you understand a little more about anxiety and depression, or maybe helped other people's opinions on it. This has been quite hard for me to share and write, so I hope very much that this can help others.

Lots of love.
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24 comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I think we can all relate, if not on the extreme level, than on some small level. Everyone has felt this way at some point or another ,esp women. Thanks ♥

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    1. Thanks for commenting. Its quite hard to open up about it, but yeah that's exactly want I want, people to be able to relate and feel more comfortable discussing these things. Us gals have to stick together!!

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  2. Oh my goodness...poor you :(
    It was really brave to open up like that.

    Both my dad and my sister have been attacked right outside their homes- so I know the trauma it can cause.

    CBT and medication can deffo be really random in their effectiveness- but until you try them you don't know how much they can do for you.

    (CBT did zero for me...I'm like the Queen Of Negative Nellyness!!)

    Hopefully you feel a little more back on track now and can continue to get over what happened bit by bit :)

    Keep strong, lots of love
    x

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    1. Thanks sweetie. Your comment was lovely. I do agree, it's one of those things, but so many people are sceptical! I will, and so should you. Have a great weekend lovely xxxx

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  3. Great post, it's always good to read an honest, personal post. I'm sorry that you had to go through such a horrible experience. I've been suffering with anxiety/panic attacks for about 11 years now and the last time it flared up badly for me was when my late Grandad got taken ill suddenly and he was in Intensive Care which was just horrible to witness. My anxiety was so severe that I thought I couldn't swallow (I know, it's pretty weird...) and I ended up losing weight because I couldn't eat or drink properly. I have never taken tablets or had therapy but I've come very close a couple of times. I hope you feel better soon :) Keep strong! xx

    Curls and Swirls Beauty & Lifestyle

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    1. Thank you Kat. That must have been truly awful for you, I cannot imagine. It's a terrifying experience but feeling less alienated helps so much, I think. I just hope that people can feel inspired from my experiences. I hope the same for you too. Thank you xxx

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  4. This has really touched me. I think you're very strong for sharing this and this post only makes me admire you more. You truly are a beautiful person Molly xxx

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    1. Thanks so much Zoe!! What you've said to me tonight really has made me so glad to have posted this, and made me feel so strong. You're just as beautiful yourself! Xxxx

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  5. You are so strong and courageous for having fought through all of that and for writing this post! Although we've only talked a bit and I've never actually met you I feel like I know you and I truly care for you - crazy as it may sound! Keep holding your head high and kick those damned stuggles' asses ;) You are gorgeous and I know you'll do great things in life no matter what might challenge you! xxxx Em

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    1. Thank you so much Emilie - you truly are a kind, beautiful woman. Such a lovely, and reassuring comment xxxx

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  6. Molly, this is so inspiring. I've dealt with anxiety in the past and still have issues with panic attacks every now and again. You're so strong, don't ever forget that!

    I've nominated you for the liebster award, go over to my blog to check out what to do next! http://sparksofserenity.blogspot.co.uk/ Charlotte x

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    1. Thank you SO much Charlotte. As I just said in my tweet, keep strong. We're all stronger than we realise when we put our minds to it. x

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  7. I believe you are strong with the way of letting us know what you went through. It's a very difficult thing to do, to speak out. And it shows a bravery that not many people have. A bravery of which I'd love to achieve. Do you feel any better with telling us? I've always wondered. It's great to hear that you eating well again as well and looking greater than ever.
    Hope your keeping well :)
    Michaela x
    http://kaylahigg93.blogspot.ie/

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    1. Thanks Michaela, I just hope to inspire other people and help others understand that they aren't alone, and can do things to help them fight one of the hardest wars they will probably face in life. I do feel better after sharing it, I feel stronger than ever thanks to the love and support people like yourselves have shown me. And numerous people have said I have helped them, which is just so incredible for me to know, it really does help me get through every day. Thanks for commenting Michaela. Hope you're well xxx

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  8. I've recently bought a car after passing my test 3 years ago and the first time I drove it I had a panic attack. I'd never had one before but afterwords I was really nervous about driving and even sitting in the passenger seat of someone elses car. Luckily I just drove bit by bit and now I can drive on my own at quieter times, but it's so scary thinking that something might set off a panic attack!

    This post is great, when I had a few panic attacks I had absolutely no idea what to do, I felt like it was silly so didn't want to go to a doctor about it. I wish i'd seen this post then, it would of made me feel a little more at ease!

    I can barely imagine what it must have been like for you, well done for getting so far and stay strong!

    Hannah x

    www.bananabeautyblog.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh Hannah that sounds truly awful, I cannot imagine being so fearful of something we rely on on a day-to-day basis! Glad that you're fighting it though, it's something we can all do. Keep fighting and being strong Hannah. Life truly is precious and you seriously have to just grab it by the balls (so to speak) and make the most of everything you have!! Molly xx

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  9. This is one fantastic post! Although I have luckily never suffered from any of these, I have friend who have, and it's hard to see them go through it. It's great to see you have done a post about this, I hope it will inspire others who need that little (or a lot) of help to get the courage to come forward and ask for it, as this can often be the hardest step!

    For this post alone I am definitely giving you a follow! Well done on everything you've achieved so far, I hope you keep going in the right direction! xx

    Hmm maybe...

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    1. Thanks so much Emma. That was a lovely comment, and yes I hope to inspire people to be comfortable discussing it, and in getting help! X

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  10. This post is amazing, i really respect you for writing this! It's amazing how many people go through something like this and don't talk about it, and it can really help just doing that! Stay stronng! x

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  11. your story is very similar to mine, its so nice to know that there are others out there with the same struggles (even though i wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy. how are you now? i finished my second stage of CBT in late May and have had a few little set back since, sometimes i think im back where i started but i do feel now that my therapist has given me the tools to over come this. im currently doing a series on my blog about my story with anxiety. id love for you to check it out

    thanks for sharing, and stay strong.

    i always tell myself - 'Fear is only a feeling, it cannot hold me back' :)

    Sophie

    xxx

    http://eskaybeauty.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I agree! I still often have days where my attitude sticks at "everything can piss off" but, whereas I used to let it take hold of me, I know try to overcome it, and often come out of that mood easily enough. I'm glad to hear you're getting better though, I believe everyone can fight it if they put their minds to it. Such a lovely quote Sophie, I'll keep that in mind. Thank you for your lovely comment. Keep fighting, keep strong! Molly xx

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  12. Molly this is such a lovely post seriously. Inspirational - I'm so sorry to hear what you've been through and I hope that you manage to keep dealing with things how you are. Will definitely be following your involvement with charities etc (I've read your above post). Great post love.

    Lauren xx | Lauren J

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    1. Thanks Lauren. The support is what keeps me going, so thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope you have a brilliant weekend xx

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