Ok well I said that this blog was going to be about beauty and mental health, among other things. SO I've done a beauty post, so time for a mental health one... I am nervous about putting details of my mental health up on the internet so plainly like this, because, despite all the campaigns and websites and organisations, there is still a stigma. People often say things that they don't always mean to be hurtful, things along the lines of 'She/he suffers with their nerves' or 'You'll be right as rain in no time!' or my all time favourite 'Have you tried not being depressed/anxious/phobic?'.
I think, as someone who suffers with their mental health, their is still not enough information out there. Sure we know the day to day stuff, like you won't sleep as well, you will be tired, you're heart will race, it will affect your work and home life ect. But the real ins and outs of mental health, such as you'll develop things such as irritable bowl syndrome, therapy will drain the life out of you and you'll be flatlined after it, your body will occasionally give you this 'atomic bomb' feeling, which is it shutting down to protect your mind from over loading, these are the things that only doctors and suffers really know.
I suppose now I've given you a very brief over view of the general gist of things, I shall get personal(ooh er!). I have suffered with my mental health from four years old. Yep you read that correctly, four years old. I don't remember being four years old of course, but doctors and my parents have informed me that that is when the trouble mostly started and I pretty much spent the whole time crying, an aspect of my childhood I do remember for a fact. Sadly getting help for a very young child with mental issues in the early nineties was no where near as possible as today, and plenty of adults resorted to the 'bold child' or 'doing it for attention' labels, and let me tell you that does do a lot of damage to the child in question. Luckily, I have supportive wonderful parents who eventually realised that this was not the case and I started therapy around six.
We struggled hugely to get people to understand, especially my school, which was a constant struggle to attend due to the fact that my worse panic attacks seemed to happen when I was in school. People used to ask me what made school so frightening for me, and I really couldn't answer. Along with the panic attacks I started showing signs of the phobia of being or feeling as if I was going to vomit, or other people being sick. I had, and still to this day have very little idea where this phobia came out of. As most of you know, young kids get sick all the time, so this made school difficult on two levels. Eventually three years later I changed school, and it did improve for a while. Fast forward a few years, a move to a foreign country and back, a breakdown which involved self harming and I eventually left school for good just as I was about to turn sixteen. Eventually I saw a good psychiatrist who was able to help me and prescribed me the same anti depressant I'm still on today, it was not plain sailing from there, but it was a turning point.
This year, in my final year of my degree, after being re diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, which was a mis diagnoses, and being treated with too much of the wrong drugs, (lyrica, valium, xanex, sleeping pills, you name it I took it, as it was all prescribed for me), I had a huge breakdown. I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Dublin, and spent the next three months there. I was re diagnosed with sever generalised anxiety disorder,(among other things)and found out my odd phobia, was emetophobia. I will do a post on this phobia again, but if anyone suffers from this or even if you're not sure if you do, google Rob Kelly, this man seems to be the main expert on the subject. To this day I have only met one other person who suffers from this while in hospital, luckily she is also a wonderful girl and we support each other as much as well can. Hi Katie!!!:)
So, hospital was scary going in, I'd never been anywhere like that. I met some of the nicest people I know in there and the other patients were such a help to me. Sometimes we even had a laugh!! But you do see things and hear things in there you will never forget and you realise just how sick some people are.One of the low points was when I went through benzo withdrawals while in there, which was horrendous. This is basically when you have stopped taking the likes of valium ect. and your body is craving it big time. Think of coming off heroin, thats what it does to the body and mind, every day and night, even in your dreams. In fact they say benzos are more addictive than heroin. I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH - BENZOS ARE NOT A LONG TERM SOLUTION !!!! The hospitals themselves have recognised this and these drugs are not treated in the same way there. However, many general doctors will prescribe them long term in large doses, its very hard to come off them and its scary going back to the anxiety but trust me in the long term this is one of the best things you can do for your mental health, and also your physical health. I was suffering with crippling migraines, loss of balance, unable to think straight or complete college work all of which lead to having to have two MRIs and a visit to a neurologist. But I'm not a doctor, this is simply my experience, always discuss medication with your doctor, and don't be afraid to look up your medication on line and ask your doctor any questions you may have. Anyways, rant over. You'd never guess it was a sore spot with me;)!?
So, I'm back home now, I came out of hospital in the middle of February, and living with my parents and taking a break from college. Which is kinda how this blog came about. While living and studying in Dublin I had hobbies and friends and a sense of purposes with my study. But where my parents live is a small town and I know pretty much no one down here and there is nothing to do. My anxiety seems to be higher down here also, which makes me slightly agoraphobic. Apparently its to do with 'returning to the scene of the crime' type syndrome, because I went through a lot of my problems here, I am more anxious while living here. Think of it as going back to a place you were in a traumatic car crash, it brings all the emotions back and makes you upset.
I think part of the point of this blog to me, is to explain what its like to suffer with your mental health and to try relate what I'm going through in a way that people who don't suffer with their mental health can understand, if that makes sense?? Also it helps me to reach out to people, as recovery can leave you isolated (not to mention having to live in a small town!) and sometimes you are so busy doing all the right things to recover, you forget what life is like to live!:) So its really nice to 'meet' other people, maybe connect with other emetophobics and just try get the word out there so people who don't have mental health can understand and can ask questions about it!
|The 'visual' definition of anxiety!|
So I guess thats it for this post. I hope it wasn't too long or boring or depressing! If anyone out there is struggling, please know you are not alone, no matter where you are in the world.