To cut a long story short, my brain hasn’t felt “normal” since 2014 when I moved away from home to study at university. After an unfaithful relationship and a string of bullying – life really tested me. I felt different and back then, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I spoke to uni about it and I was told “ohhhh, you’ve just left home, you’ll be fine, it’s a different lifestyle change, you’ll feel happy again in no time.” And I suppose I was happy at uni but still, my something in my head felt different.
I noticed that I constantly felt worried about things that would seem ridiculous to other people and I’d never had this problem before! In fact, arrogantly, I used to get frustrated by people who worried about everything. But now I’m one of those people. I’ll get dressed in the morning and worry if people will think I look fat in my chosen outfit, I’ll put my make up on and wonder if people will judge me for the colour of lipstick I’ve gone for and I’ll say something like “good morning” and worry whether I sounded moody.
Everything has changed now and while I’m not a different person, it feels like I have a different mind than I did in 2013.
I obviously googled my symptoms when I first started feeling strange and “anxiety” popped up on every webpage. I spoke to people with anxiety and I could relate myself to every single word they were saying. So back in 2014, I self-diagnosed myself with anxiety. I had a lot of panic attacks back then but now, I have less panic attacks but they’re replaced with constant waves of anxiety and that’s been troubling me for a couple of months now.
After speaking to the lovely Debs at work, (hi if you’re reading *and crying* while reading this!) I realised that my anxiety might actually be worse than I thought it was. I had been to the doctors a couple of times before and it had been shrugged off once and on another occasion “PMDD” was mentioned. So, I plucked up the courage to go to the doctors again because now that I’m in full-time work, I can’t keep ignoring my intrusive thoughts and my constant concerns.
My doctor asked me a lot of questions. It was extremely intense and my voice broke and tears rolled down my cheeks. I bit my lip after every sentence and could taste the saltiness of my tears as I explained exactly how I had been feeling to my GP. She told me I was brave and that made me tear up even more because brave was the last thing I felt. Nonetheless, she could tell that it had been a big step for me to book an appointment and speak to her about everything.
Since, 2014, I’ve assumed that I’ve had anxiety but hearing my GP physically say the words “it sounds like anxiety and depression” hit me hard. She gave me a few options next.
She suggested anti-depressants first but I was reluctant so I asked if I could hear the other options first. She then suggested beta blockers AND counselling and I decided I would be more comfortable with that in the beginning but if that didn’t have a positive impact, I would consider anti-depressants with or without the counselling. So she told me that was fine and we booked a review in 3 weeks time to see how I’m getting on.
She prescribed me with Propranolol. These tablets help with the symptoms of my anxiety but they’re making me feel so ridiculously tired. But I’ll take that over feeling like I’m about to have a panic attack any day! I’m also now on a waiting list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
So, not only do I now have medication, an actual diagnosis and a place on a waiting list for therapy – I have a giant feeling of relief because I’ve finally asked for help and received it and I’m already feeling a lot better just because I finally know what the “problem” with my mind is and I’m getting help to manage it!