My anxiety developed in childhood
Do children suffer from anxiety? What is anxiety? Is anxiety the same for everyone?
You don’t know something is not right if it has always been “your right”. My journey with anxiety started as a child. Anxiety didn’t have a name at that time, but it lived in my tummy. It was like a lion most times, but sometimes it was there just purring in the background.
I may have grown out of it, but unfortunately a very dysfunction homelife ensured “anxiety” gained power until it took on a new persona. This new condition was labelled as panic attacks. I was a high performer and really excelled in most things I did, but I was struggling, and I didn’t know. I thought everyone was like this. On the outside I was smiley and sunny, and everyone loved being around me. However, “fear” came on board and I shifted up a gear or two. My body was hyper-sensitive, and the triggers were many.
No-one knew I had anxiety
I came to a realisation that I needed something or someone to help me, (this was 40 years ago), so I trotted off to the GP and spoke very candidly about my feelings. From what I recall he didn’t think it was much of an issue and prescribed these tiny little tablets that looked totally innocuous. I was to take one a day. Serepax – they every sounded friendly. Fortunately, they hit me like a sledgehammer and after the first packet ran out, I stopped taking them. For me they didn’t assist with the symptoms of anxiety, but they did turn me into a walking zombie with anxiety.
Is Anxiety Mental Health?
Labels around mental health do not help as in the past there has been such a stigma around anything to do with mental health. Many wars on, I think we all now realise that the experiences we have in this lifetime (and for those who believe in past lives – other lifetimes) impact on our way of thinking.
Thank goodness the days of routine lobotomies are gone, but there is still so much we don’t understand and know about mental health. Remember, I am speaking from a place of the anxiety sufferer and I am not a medical professional.
I recall saying to a close friend that I feel “overwhelmed with …….” . She retorted and told me I was the most outgoing confident person she knew. Those suffering with issues like anxiety, mental health, panic attacks or whatever label we have get really good at showing a different outward face to the world.
To stop ourselves from being “caught out” we may hide on our especially bad days or at worse start to self-medicate.
Doctors offer drugs for anxiety and depression
Is anxiety the same as depression? I never felt sad, but the fear I felt was growing daily. I was no longer living life; I was existing and trying to manage my life.
I returned to my GP on a number of occasions and I did try some anti-depressants along the way, but for me they were not the answer as they didn’t mitigate the fear.
Depression is something I don’t believe I have ever felt, but I was being slotted into this category. Anxiety (for me) was fear, paralysation, over-thinking and catastrophising. I couldn’t let go of anything.
What did I do to fix my anxiousness?
I was one of those who walked the alternative path and I still do. Meditation was something in my life, but it was really hard as my head was everywhere. How do you start repairing your health, physical or mental if you can’t take those first steps? I had to break the cycle.
Alcohol calmed me
I began turning to the bottle to get through. Dutch courage they call it and it calmed me and quietened my world. First a glass and then before I knew it, I was drunk, and I would stay drunk because I hated whom I had become.
The funny thing about drinking too much alcohol is that the friend you make in the bottle, ends up being your enemy. I felt sick most of the time until I started drinking again when I would come alive for a while and then crash, and the cycle was to be repeated. Alcohol is not a permanent solution to anxiety, stress, depression or any mental health problem.
Fast forward my crazy world of managing my own mental health
I exercised furiously, I meditated furiously, I tried so many different modalities to kill the fear in me. I read self-help books, yoga, more meditation, chiro, energy healing and more of the same. I tried prayer and I felt I was losing my grip. A marriage breakup, chronic pain and then miraculously something shifted. The familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach was not there.
The fear and the anxiety had gone, and I can’t really tell you how or why. I decided three years ago to stop drinking alcohol at all. I did not crave it and because I had used the alcohol to cope with the anxiety and fear, once these two symptoms lifted, I didn’t want or need alcohol in my life.
Don’t use a Band-Aid for mental health
Awareness of Mental Health
The awareness of mental health today is incredible. Some very brave individuals have stood up and told their stories. Medications may or may not be the answer. Knowing someone is in your corner definitely helps.
If you are suffering with anxiety, depression or any issue around mental health then reach out and speak to someone. Help in all its forms is available and the stigma of being a lunatic is no longer an issue in today’s world of speaking out.
World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
October 10, 2020 is Mental Health Day.
COVID19 may change the way this day is acknowledged but it won’t stop it from being one of the most significant and life changing days for those struggling with their own reality.
If you need help and money is the bar to stop you finding that help the ATO allows the release of money from super under compassionate grounds.
Written by Susan Edwards