Thursday 15 May 2014

Mental Health Awareness Week 2014
This week marks an important week, Mental Health Awareness Week and this year they are focusing on Anxiety. 

How does this affect you? Around 1 in 6 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem like anxiety each year, which has steadily increased over the past 20 years (Mental Health Website). 

I've suffered with mental health problems from about the age of 13 when I was put on anti-depressants and had to go to sessions with the child mental health clinic at my local hospital. I'd say from a young age with a lot of bullying I've always been a little on the 'dark side' of life. I've tried so hard to block out the ages of 13 - 18 that I'll be honest I can't remember much unless someone tells me things and it brings back memories or I look at old pictures and it triggers little memories. I still to this day, on a daily basis, battle with depression and anger management but I've been learning to deal with it and after 7+ years of it I'm starting to be able to mask how I really feel to the outside world. More recently I've suffered with anxiety, I would like to think no more than the average Joe but I've found since I've started university it has only got worse and even some of my friends have mentioned it to me. 

I had my first panic attack when I was at work about a year and a half ago, my heart started beating so fast I though I was going to have a heart attack, which only panicked me more, I felt dizzy, couldn't breath or stop crying and needed to sit down. At my work there is a mini hospital like clinic where I was taken to in a wheelchair where they hooked me up to a ECG, everything come back clear but the doctor explained it was likely a panic attack, I was emotionally drained for the rest of the day and had to ask my father to pick me up and take me home. I could honestly say I would not wish that on my worse enemy. 

I believe stress brings on my anxiety. I get worried and start to panic over the littlest things, I often lose sleep over it, more recently whenever I get anxious I get itchy, I scratch my body, mainly my hair till it bleeds or I'll pull my hair out, I've also been grinding my teeth a lot and I don't even realise I do it until it is too late and I am in some kind of pain. I am lucky enough to live in London and be very close to Guy's Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital and Maudsley Hospital, all of which I have at some point been under the care of. Last year both my GP and doctor I've seen at the hospital recommended CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) but I lied and wriggled my way out of going, I now honestly wished I never and need to go and ask for a referral again. I know not many people get the chance to get help and I need to grab hold of this opportunity with both hands and give it my all to try and overcome this before I get older.  

The mental health website explains that some of the physical things that might happen are:

  • Rapid and / or irregular heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Weakened / tense muscles
  • Sweating
  • Churning stomach / loose bowels
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth

Anxiety also has a psychological impact, which can include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling depressed
  • Loss of self-confidence
I know it is easier to give advice than take it but here are a few tips that I find help me get through and attack quicker:
  • Take deep breaths, slowly - in through the nose out through the mouth.
  • Take a nice cool bath and relax, switch off the outside world.
  • Speak with someone, or blog. Even if the blog post never get posted. My blog was once filled with drafts that you'd never see but I expressed myself and got all my thoughts out.
  • Seek medical help, your GP can point you in the right direction, if they don't listen ask to see a different GP. 
  • Ask your GP for CBT, CBT teaches you how to deal with how you are feeling.
  • Contact a mental health charity, when I was about 16 I remember emailing them and felt so much better having a 3rd party give me advice.
I was a little worried to share my story but I know that my story could help someone think about how they can change their life. 
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  1. This is a really informative post with loads of information - it's good to hear you're taking control and finding help. Hopefully this post will help others do the same. Well done for being so brave and honest about it.

  2. It's so good you are able to speak about your own experiences with the intention of helping other people :)

  3. Woww I didnt know that there is such week as mental health awareness week.. interesting.. :D

    Anyway, want to follow each other ?
    Do drop me a comment if you have followed me ya, I will definitely follow you back ! :D * Pinky swear*
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