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Friday, 28 February 2014

Anxiety | There is Hope

Anxiety or Panic Attacks are something that so many people experience on multiple different levels. It was always something I struggled to understand/comprehend with others and I never thought for a moment that it could or would be something that I would suffer with. I was wrong. And this post is here just for me to share my thoughts and experience on my personal battle with the beast that is: Anxiety.

For a few years now whenever I’ve felt nervous, scared or anxious about doing something, I’ve been sick...full on, throwing up for hours on end, not just nausea – and thrown in with hot sweats, tears and restlessness I’m really quite the pretty picture.
To be honest when it first started happening I didn’t really pay too much attention to it, I just thought I was a bit weird and tried to cover it up or joked about it if people found out. I mean asides from the seemingly illogical sickness I was experiencing, I was a normal, happy girl – some would say confident, even. And of course, I understand that everyone worries about things, it’s just to the extent that your brains let’s you get to that you need to learn to manage. And you shouldn't think for a second just because someone seems okay on the outside that what's going on behind closed doors isn't real. It really, really is.
It was only recently, when it started to get quite bad that alarm bells rang and I thought to myself ‘this just isn’t, right’. My sickness has always been brought on by fear - for example at the start it would be momentous, new scenarios that focused on me i.e. my driving test or an interview; but just lately it’s started to become what would appear to outsiders more simple tasks, like answering an email or speaking to a loved one about something/anything. Naturally it’s becoming more of a worry for me and it has started to get to the point where I am considering not doing things simply because I know it will make me sick beforehand. We all know that this can ultimately lead to people losing themselves and I didn’t want that for myself.  

So, I took to twitter to ask you lovely lot (because you’ve always supported me, happy times or not) what it meant if I was being physically sick through nerves. Countless tweets came back to me all with the word ‘anxiety’ standing out like a sore thumb. In all honestly I was quite shocked – I thought when you suffered from anxiety it meant that you would have panic attacks, but I had never thought to associate it with my sickness. Silly? Perhaps.

I felt a sudden wave of relief wash over me. If I had anxiety, that meant it could be helped and I wasn’t alone. My second thought was ‘Oh crap, now I feel sick because I’ve probably got anxiety’...thanks brain.

I bit the bullet and last week I booked in to see my GP - this week I had my appointment. I was up at 3am being sick, crying and lying on the bathroom floor looking at the ceiling worrying about talking to my GP about my worries...6am rolled around and I picked myself up off the floor, threw some clothes on (I’d showered before bed, don’t worry ;)) and got in the car.
When I arrived, the surgery was closed...not a great start, but then they’re rarely on time are they! I waited for a few minutes and finally a light went on. I sat down in the waiting room concentrating on my breathing to try and stop me from being sick (which didn’t work, lovely) before she called my name to go through.

I sat down and before she could even say hello I blurted out exactly how I was feeling. Instantly I felt calmer and sat back and waited for her response. She took my blood pressure (which was normal) and then asked me to complete a form of questions, asking how often I feel certain ways and to what extent – once I’d finished she counted up my score and confirmed I was suffering with severe anxiety coming out at a high score of 18/21.

Honestly, I again felt a little shocked and taken aback. Because I hadn’t associated what I was experiencing with anxiety, I wasn’t expecting to be suffering with it so badly. By this point, because my sickness could be brought on by pretty much anything, my GP asked how I would feel about trying some daily medication for the next few months, just to see how it went. Usually, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it, but because I’ve been feeling so emotionally drained by everything I decided that it was probably for the best and there wasn’t any harm at least trying it, just to see.

I won’t go in to the specifics of what I’ve been prescribed as I’m not sure it’s completely relevant – but if you would like to know, feel free to drop me an email and I’d be happy to share further details if need be :)

So... off the back of all this, I’ve been very lucky recently, with opportunities that my blog have lead me to and yesterday was a day I was really excited for, but that I was also dreading. I had two photo shoots, one with Lola and Grace, one with John Lewis and also half a day filming with Clinique for a new campaign. Although I couldn’t believe my luck I was also overwhelmed with worry regarding it. Seeing my GP beforehand was the best thing I could’ve done and it meant that I could actually make these opportunities a reality and face them without the usual fear I experience – and I am SO grateful for that. Honestly, without having made that appointment I don’t know that I would’ve been able to get up and go yesterday. It was a turning point for me and I ended up feeling on top of the world.

What I’m trying to say is, take control. Even though it can feel impossible and you feel completely lost and that no-one can help. They can. I totally understand that GP’s can be truly awful, but it’s in your hands to find the right GP that works for you. I went through 5 different doctors before I found one that I felt clicked with me and was actually invested in my wellbeing. I know it shouldn’t be your responsibility or worry, but sometimes life throws you lemons, in the shape of GP’s, and it’s utterly changeable and we shouldn’t not face a problem just because we think our GP is rubbish and won’t be able to help. Keep searching and you WILL find the right one, and it will be SO worth it.

My anxiety is something I’m still coming to terms with and of course, I don’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life so it’s a situation I’m going to have to really keep on top of and learn to cope with myself going forward. I mean, I don’t even currently have personal coping mechanisms, which are very important with a condition like this. But for the moment, I am thankful for the help I’ve received, from you, my family and my GP – it’s meant that I can address the situation head on, and learn that there IS something that can be done, whether it be a quick fix or not it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter if your anxiety is mild or extreme, you can still get help and even if you get one knock back, someone telling you you’re being silly or overreacting, don’t listen, remember me and the thousands of others that are making a change and be strong headed about it, there’s no shame in being forceful with your health – it’s the most important thing, ever.

If you don’t suffer with anxiety but know someone that does, Zoella wrote a very detailed, insightful post on the different effects it can have on someone and how you can potentially help them cope, which is quite relatable across the board :)

The next step is to see how my medication helps (or potentially not) - which is scary enough in itself, but I'm fighting my demons and saying, why the hell not. And also research possible solutions or therapies that can help me overcome this on my own, in my own time. I know that this works on a completely individual basis and what works for some might not work for others, but I would be so grateful if anyone reading this that suffers with anxiety has any tips that help them deal with it or any therapies in particular you’ve participated in that have made a change.

I was really apprehensive and nervous to post this, because obviously, it's very personal. But I found that when reading up on blogs about these sorts of things, there wasn’t much out there for someone who’s literally just discovered their anxiety and I thought it might be helpful to share with you guys, just so you know you’re not alone and there is always a positive in reaching out and asking for help.

If this is something you find interesting or helpful I’d be really happy to continue documenting my journey and sharing how I am progressing/improving (hopefully!). Let me know if this is something you would like to see :)

I hope I haven’t bored you too much and thank you again, for being the reason I took that step and asked for help because it’s already made the world of difference to something I just didn’t think could be changed. It's going to be a long journey, but I've started it and that's the main thing. And if you have felt or are feeling similar to any of the above....


Rachel C said...

great post, so glad you are taking the steps to help YOU!
You also deserve all the opportunities coming your way!
When I first seen some of your pictures recently my first thought was, wow she looks like she is from a magazine!


Sophie Louise said...

Thank you for doing this post! I've had pretty bad anxiety for a while, but I'm currently not ready to go to my GP. This post has made me realize I kind of need to go and I hope to within the next few months. I hope you start to feel better soon and I'm glad you were able to take part in all those amazing opportunities without feeling awful ♡



Jo said...

This is a wonderful post Megs. Firstly I am SO glad you've found help and I can imagine even writing this blog post was daunting but almost therapeutic. You've always come across so confident but I think it manifests itself in different ways, and of course we don't see you when you're lying in a mess on your bathroom floor (that must have been awful). You deserve to be happy and to enjoy the amazing opportunities you have (which you've earned!).

I recently went to the GP about Anxiety too. I wouldn't class myself as suffering from it but like you I had a weekend where it got too much and I went along to a few things checked out all at once. I also took a test and I got the same mark as you - I've subseqently been told to go to therapy AND to take medication, but I'm just not sure so I'm having some time to think about it. I just don't see myself as being 'bad' enough to warrant having so much help.

From my own recent experiences I think you are very brave to start changing your life (for the better of course) as it's so hard to break habits and thought patterns. I really hope life just gets better for you from here and hopefully you'll start to create coping mechanisms which means you'll be under complete control without medication. The only way is up!

Thank you for writing this - on a selfish note it feels good not to be alone and I know so many of your readers will find comfort in sharing this with you, especially those who, like me, are in a similar boat!

Sorry to go on...it's just a topic I feel very connected with (and have even considered writing about it on my own blog, though I am not brave enough yet).

Well done for getting this out there and for getting help - you're so fabulous anyway so goodness knows what you'll be like at your full potential! Big hugs.

Jo xxx

Ala said...

A very inspiring post, for putting yourself out there and willing to help others in a situation you've only just found yourself in. x

Laura Gay said...

This was such a good post, I'm glad you did it. I can imagine it being very cathartic!

I didn't realise I had anxiety either until I went to the doctor for what I thought was something pretty simple. I too am on medication and I'm actually terrified to be taken off it because it is helping me so much day to day and that's actually how I'm helping myself deal with anxiety because I'm learning that if I put myself in a situation that I couldn't normally deal very well with, with the aid of the tablets, deep breathes and positive thinking I am beginning to feel less daunted. I've also let a few of my closest friends know whats going on so they can keep an eye on me in some situations which would normally get me worried- if it gets too much I do remove myself.

I was told that the important thing to remember is that having anxiety is not a weakness, its just a point in your life where you need a little bit more help and you will be better off after as you will have had the experience of feeling like this.

Again, well done on posting about it. I hope that you will begin to feel better soon.
Laura xx


Stella M said...

What a lovely, insightful and inspiring post. I've been having anxiety attacks of late and I can completely relate. Well done for being brave and seeking a solution the only way is up.

Thankyou for sharing with us something so personal.


Hannah Louisa said...

Great post! I always find it really comforting to know I'm not the only person with anxiety! Medication has made all the differnce though so hopefully you'll feel loads better once it starts to kick in. Challenging every negative thought with a positive one really helps and try to rationalise, which I know is hard! There's also a great book called the tapping solution, it sounds mad but I found it pretty helpful. Also cutting out caffeine helped :)
Hope everything works out for you!xxx

Leanne Webber said...

This is so insightful!
My GP has also speculated that I suffer with anxiety and reading this is such an eye opener!
So inspiring

nailsandteapots xx

Hannah L said...

Great post! I've been putting off making an appointment like this for so long, reading this has definitely made me realize how important it actually is to take care of ourselves and just suck it up and go! Thank you for being brave and putting this out there, only good things can come of it so well done! Keep us updated on how you're doing please :)


Hannah Melvin said...

What a lovely post. I have been suffering from anxiety for as long as I can remember, and it can be the scariest thing in the world. I'm glad you have been to the GP about it. I now go to counselling to help me cope which is helping no end.
It's really important people talk about mental health issues and not hide away from them. You should take a look at http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/ if you haven't already :)
I have been on Setraline for anxiety and I'm now on Propananol which helps wonders with those moments of panic. I really hope your medication works for you and definitely think you should post about it again :)
Hannah | twoforjoy | xo

Lorna mai ltd said...

I was reading someone elses blog last night about her anxiety. I think its great that people are now talking about it more and sharing experiences. I have more depression than anxiety, but of course to look at me I look absolutely fine and I hate the way some people tend to think 'well what have you got to be depressed about?!) not really realising it isn't really anything to do with circumstances.
I found this very interesting. Thank you for being so brave.


Sara Chergui said...

That's such a lovely blog post, thanks for sharing !
Giveaway on my blog, win a Vichy skin care product !

Emily Fletcher said...

This is a lovely post, thank you for sharing, I know posts like this are always daunting to make. Like you, I had suffered from anxiety for a long time without even realising it - it was just one time that I thought to myself "you're having a panic attack, you have anxiety". I think it's a good idea to share things like this, not only do people know little about anxiety, it tends to have a stigma attached to it too. Thank you!

lolakate said...

Hi my lovely, I can relate to this post on so many ways. I am glad the GP helped you and you were able to do all of those amazing things :) I started off on medication which didn't help me, it wasn't until I saw a cognitive behavioural therapist that I started to get my anxiety under control. Last year I saw a hynotherapist for my fear of flying who used something called 'pstec' on me, my fear of flyng completely went away and I have to say my anxiety has pretty much gone all together now apart from the odd flare up! You should definitely look into it :) In the mean time PLEASE do not hesitate to tweet me if you ever want to talk/need some advice xxxxx

Laura isherwood said...

What a lovely post - it's good to see someone sharing their experiences of it. I have anxiety mildly and it can be seriously hard to explain to people (and seriously scary to talk about)

Well done :)


Zoe Newlove said...

So proud of you moo!!! LOVE YOU! xxxxx

Jessica Brown said...

Sorry to hear about how bad your anxiety was, but you definitely did the right thing and it sounds like you have the right attitude! I've suffered with an anxiety disorder for years so feel very free to send me a message if you need any advice (I'm sure you have tons of it anyway, but just in case). xxx

Emma's wacky world said...

Thank you so much for such an honest bloog post. I suffer from a milder form of anxiety, but it still makes me sick occasionally. Your post is really truthful, so well done for putting your feelings out there!
Thanks for the advice and the motivation


Awkwardgirl x said...

Thanks for posting this. Lovely! :)


Shereeeen ♥ said...

Great blog post my lovely. I'm happy you've finally got some answers as to why you've been feeling the way you have and I hope you start to feel a lot better. Wishing you all the best :) X

Celina said...

As someone who suffers from anxiety, I really appreciate this post. It's so hard to talk about it, I know. I get anxiety thinking about talking to someone about anxiety, just like you! The worst thing is knowing that so many people don't suffer from anxiety don't relate and don't really care. I've been to stop doing something that I had no control over thanks to anxiety and I just wasn't able to stop. I've been told that my actions are attention seeking which again, I do not have control over in the moment. It's terrifying and awful to hear discouraging words when experiencing a panic attack or some form of reaction to anxiety. Every day, I tell myself that things will get better and that I am not alone. Even if people in my life turn away from me for being different, it's okay because someone who can understand will reach out to me. I have hope, anyway.

Feel free to talk to me any time about anything if you feel comfortable about it. You are not alone! :)
Celina | The Celution | Bloglovin’

Kristine Hannah said...

Thank you for sharing a wonderful post. I also suffer from anxiety/ panic disorders and I'm glad that I'm not alone with having to deal with something like this. I got to the point of my anxiety where I stopped going places because I was often afraid and anticipating another panic attack. But like you, I had managed to say enough is enough and sought for help.

I actually read and watched Zoella's entry and video about anxiety and the book she had on the picture really helped me a lot. I also got therapy and it definitely get to the root of the issue. Something that has definitely helped me in terms of anxiety or calming down has been to meditate which really calms me down at night when I am anticipating something. I would love to hear your progress and I am definitely rooting for your recovery and finding ways to overcome it! I wish you the best!


Christina L said...

So great to read that your getting help and being positive! It took me years to seek help! Plus so happy to hear you have exciting opportunities in your life and its not holding you back. Really hope it gets easier for you, xxx

Natalie B. said...

Thank-you so much for your pure and brutal honesty. I have suffered with severe anxiety since I was a child and am now 50 years old. I've taken medication and I've done therapy. I'm not on medication currently and I owe that to a couple of different things. 1. I learned my triggers and have created a life that is as free of them as possible and 2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy really worked for me. It taught me how to change my thoughts and views of people and situations. It's VERY good. I wish you well in your journey to becoming a person who lives with anxiety and not a person who anxiety lives with. Make sense? You're becoming a survivor and not a victim. Big Hugs

claire (jazzpad.) said...

Owwww lovely, reading this really brought back a lot of memories for me. I had severe anxiety at uni too but am much better now - it does get better! I struggled with people telling me to "calm down", which does not help at all! But you've done the right thing talking to someone and taking control :) Cognitive behavioural therapy might help? I went on a course for 6 weeks and it really turned me around from what I was, without medication too, which I was a bit nervous about. Good luck, and you have lots of support here and at home I'm sure :) <3 Claire @ Jazzpad

Emma Williams said...

I've suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for 5 years now and I know it's difficult to explain how it effects you to people who have never experienced it so hearing other people's stories (as horrible as it is that so many people suffer with it) does really help. I had cognitive behavioural therapy when I was 15 for 18 months and it helped massively, although it's started to creep back now I'm in my last year of uni. But cognitive behavioural therapy worked so well for me that I'm now almost finished with my psychology degree so I can train to practice the therapy and help out other people suffering from it. Every cloud has a silver lining I guess, even if we don't realise at the time!

Hope all goes well!


Becky said...

Hi, I too am taking medication for anxiety and I'm really glad to hear so many bloggers speaking out about it. I was thinking of writing my own post about my experiences. One thing that helped me a lot was a book called "Don't sweat the small stuff."
Hope you feel better soon (it usually takes a couple of weeks for the pills to work!)


hannah mallon said...

hello love :)

I just want to say you are so brave for writing this, be proud of yourself because you are amazing for sharing your experience. I suffer from really bad anxiety and could really relate to this post, i'm currently in DBT therapy which is very helpful it's just hard to get control of it at times. I find distractions help sometimes, chewing chewing gum has helped me from having panic attacks while i'm out and about and mindfulness. Some days I can get a hold of it others days it defeats me and I can't leave my room for days on end. I suppose the key is to take it day by day and baby steps as they all add up. I'm rooting for you and I wish you the best <3


Rosie W said...

Thank you for writing this. I sometimes get sick before travelling, and had to cut my 21st birthday celebrations short in Paris because I was throwing up in the toilets at the Moulin Rouge. I even spent our first day in San Francisco last month being sick all day, but I made sure it didnt stop me from seeing all the things we were booked to see. I've been scared about seeing a Doctor, I think I've always been 'too proud,' but I really am thinking I should now. Thank you again x

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