I’ve debated over and over with myself whether or not to write this post. There’s something about being open about something personal that is quite scary. But I created this blog post because I wanted to engage with you (my readers) and help people. Hopefully this will create an opening for more people to be raw and honest and to tell their story.
Everyone has a story.
Today I want you to get to know me.
I want to give you a little back story about me and how this all came about.
I try to think back at the exact moment when I first started feeling anxious, like the very FIRST time. Something was a little off, I wasn’t feeling right and at first I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know anything about anxiety… until it happened to me.
Before I begin, I want to state that I grew up in a totally “normal” family. My upbringing was nothing out of the ordinary with Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother.
I was about 18 when my symptoms began. I was working full time as a hairdresser and I had a boyfriend who I had been together with for about 5 years. He didn’t like working and was a compulsive liar. The stress of him would keep me up at night and I started not being able to sleep.
The place where I worked was always full of drama. The other women were always gossiping about each other and I never got involved in it always trying to stay neutral. Although I tried to stay out of it, I was still always around it and it was horrible. It became quite a toxic workplace.
The anxiety began with a heart pounding chest and overall having the shakes. I would feel very edgy and I noticed it would increase as I was nearing my finish time.
I would go home and tell my mum that I felt funny when I was at work and I don’t even think she knew what I meant either.
As time went on those feelings increased. Halfway through my day, I’d be cutting someone’s hair and have to run to the back room as I felt terrified and shaky. After a minute or two I’d go back. As time went on, this would happen more and more often. It got to the point where I would be standing there cutting someone’s hair and I would be shaking so bad I couldn’t even hold the hair in my hand. Clients looked at me like what on earth!? I didn’t blame them, I would have too. Halfway through a client I’d have to leave the salon and go outside. It was too much and I couldn’t handle it. It was scary. Back then I didn’t have the coping skills or the knowledge to handle it.
In was quite embarrassing in front of customers and my co-workers because I knew I was acting strange and they could see it. Over the span of about a year it got to be too much, mentally and emotionally, and I left.
Once I left, my anxiety spilled over into the supermarket, driving, my holiday. I couldn’t go anywhere anymore. I went to see a psychologist which helped somewhat. He confirmed it was anxiety.
All I knew was that I really wanted to get better. My life was getting smaller and smaller by the day. I was changing.
I started to research. I read up on the subject as much as I could. I learned what it was, why it was happening, how it happens and I began to learn coping techniques. After learning all of this valuable information I began to get better. I broke up with that boyfriend and found a job I liked, totally away from hair, in an office environment.
For about 5 years after I was completely anxiety free. It actually went away. I started living a normal life again, going out with not a worry in the world.
I don’t blame those circumstances for why my symptoms began. Because no matter where I was at the time and with who, it probably still would have happened.
Life is full of stress and anxiety sufferers just have a lower tolerance to it. It really is that simple.
Fast forward to today. I’d be lying if I said I never had bad days where it creeps up on me. It’s something about me that I have and instead of fighting it, I just accept it.
The thing that makes it easier is knowing what to do if I feel panic setting in, or not avoiding things that “might make me anxious”. But I am a hell of a lot better than where I was.
I have that positive little voice inside telling me, “No matter what, you will always be okay”.
Having a great support system helps a tonne, but ultimately it is up to you to get out there and make yourself better. It is achievable with the right tools to guide you. I can’t and don’t rely on anyone to help “fix it”. Because they can’t.
This is one of those things where you need to take charge and do it for yourself.
If you enjoyed this post, please comment below and say Hi!
When was the first time you experienced your symptoms? What were you doing and what happened?
Tell me your story.
Image credit: Lukas
Clarity4thesoul is a mental health blog aimed at helping people overcome their mental health and lifestyle issues by providing a comfortable platform where you can be honest, be open and be yourself along with an easy to follow guide to help you towards your goals. It helps you ask yourself the hard questions, it gives you the right tools. We want to see you succeed.