So, if you read my blog regularly, you’ll be aware that I suffer from anxiety & panic attacks and I’ve been seeing a therapist every Thursday since the end of August for cognitive behavioural therapy. Today, 5 months on from my first session where I cried so much afterwards that I almost vomited – I’ve been signed off! I sat in my car after my session and said “I’m so proud of you” out loud. I can’t even explain the emotions I felt, it was an incredibly overwhelming moment and I spent the drive back to work reflecting on how far I’ve come. I’ve changed so much and I’m actually starting to feel like my usual self again. I am so happy.
My therapist has helped me in so many ways. When I started my sessions, we established that my anxiety stems from “worry” and “low-self esteem.” I’ve always been a confident, bubbly and outgoing person but deep down, I’m really not confident at all. I compare myself to other girls on a DAILY basis and I constantly try and do things to enhance the way I look. Whether that’s wearing heavy make up, buying new clothes or wearing hair extensions. I’m constantly trying to improve myself, thinking it will make me appear more confident. But it’s not the materialistic things that help you gain confidence. It’s all about accepting yourself, looking after yourself and genuinely loving yourself. So many people have said to me over the past few months: “you look so happy!”and “you’re so much more confident now!” And I’ve never really agreed with them but today when my therapist told me how confident I was and how he’d seen me transition over the sessions, for once in my life… I believed it.
I was in denial for so long about the help and support I needed and I can’t help but wonder where I’d be now if I’d have got help sooner. But, I’m just grateful I had the opportunity to have these sessions and grow so much as a person. I’ve achieved things I never thought I would since starting therapy. I drive on the motorway now, I can go to gigs without thinking of the worst thing that could happen and only two weeks ago, I wrote my car off in a horrible accident and my panic attacks were only induced by flashbacks! I can’t explain how proud I am of the things I’ve achieved, which may seem small to other people and their personal goals.
I learnt so many different coping methods and techniques in therapy which I will definitely share one day but the things that stick out most are the methods that have taught me to be in control, feel more relaxed and reassured me that nothing bad is going to happen no matter what situation I’m in. For example, in my penultimate session, I did voluntary hyperventilation and the thought of this terrified me and I was so nervous but something about triggering the same breathing as a panic attack in a safe, secure environment was actually quite liberating and the same evening I did this exercise, I got myself into a predicament whereby I was almost stranded in a different city with no way of getting home. Now a few months ago, I would have been an anxious mess. But no, I held it together, refreshed my memory of the things I had learnt and I was absolutely fine.
If you really want something… Go and fucking get it. I wanted help, I needed help. I didn’t recognise myself anymore. The sparkle in my eye had gone and I just wanted to stop feeling numb and like something was wrong with me. I’ve been on a journey (still am) and although initially reaching out for help is daunting, I cannot emphasise how much it’s worth it. When I left the hospital room today, I felt like a gigantic weight had been lifted off my shoulder. I’ve achieved something today and I couldn’t feel stronger or braver.
Getting help for your mental health is not you being weak or giving up. It’s brave and it’s amazing and you won’t regret it for a second. I can’t thank my therapist enough for everything he’s helped me through and for guiding me to the light at the end of a dark, dreary tunnel. I’m ready for happiness now and I’m ready to conquer anxiety once and for all.
Onwards & Upwards,