Although the discussion about mental health has opened up tremendously in recent years, I still find talking about my mental health very tough to do. I’m worried about what people think, I don’t want to sound like I’m over exaggerating and I don’t want to lumber other people with my problems. It’s a struggle.
I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression for years now, I didn’t speak to anyone for a long time. But I recently went to the doctors and they confirmed that I have a serotonin imbalance. If you didn’t know I’ll try to explain it simply – serotonin is the happy chemical in your brain and when people lack that chemical, that’s when they start to suffer with their mental health. After this diagnosis, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could accept that something was wrong.
My anxiety stems from different things, some days it’s worse than others and sometimes it’s like its not there at all. A lot of my anxiety comes from worrying about what people think of me and worrying about my future to, something I literally have no control over…or very limited control over.
And then depression, well aside from the serotonin imbalance, when my anxiety gets bad, I tend to sit and over think my anxieties which heightens my depressive states. It’s hard to explain.
I wanted to talk about one of my biggest anxieties, finally open a bit and encourage others to do so too.
I hate being on my own. I think a lot of time, I come across as quite independent, especially to those closest to me and to be honest it isn’t hard to keep that persona up. However, I hate being alone. It sounds silly but I rely heavily on my family and boyfriend for company and I don’t even think it dawns on them, the extent I do rely on them.
Another thing, which has increased how lonely I’ve felt, is since moving back home from university, I’ve lost a lot of friends. All my university friends are busy with third year, whereas I’m on my placement and being 4 hours away doesn’t make visiting easy. And then friends I did have back home all have new lives of their own, apart from a select few.
I’ve found this incredibly hard to adjust to and frequently work myself up into a state that people don’t enjoy my company. When in fact we all just have our own lives to get on with.
Over the next year, I slowly want to force myself into situations that do make me uncomfortable, like going out on my own. It’s funny because I do enjoy my own company, but the prospect of going into town on my own makes me feel ill and I’m not sure when that started happening, but I’m determined to conquer this.
I also want to force myself to make new friendships. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little circle of friends at home, but building new friendships isn’t a bad thing. I’ve already started to make a conscious effort to make friends with other bloggers and it’s beginning to make me feel like I am worthy again…silly as it may sound.
I think the trick for me to overcome all these seemingly silly things that heighten my anxiety is to stop overthinking them. The best piece of advice my Dad has given me since I opened about my mental health, was to treat the anxiety or depressive episode like a little annoying brother. If you retaliate and fight against it, the situation will get worse. If you stop overthinking it and try to ignore it, it’ll leave you alone.
Another thing he said that really stuck with me, is that a depressive or anxious episode isn’t forever. The best way to tackle mental health is to address it, realise it doesn’t have to last forever, and carry on about your day.