A year on…

Today to the day something big happened. It may not seem as something big for many people but if you’re in the same boat as myself you may be able to relate. No family knows about this, apart from my dad. I didn’t tell him whilst it was happening either, I told him when it was over. A few months after. I was struggling a lot whilst down in Southampton. Being away from family gets worse when you are alone and feel so, so shit.

I spoke to a few friends and they all suggested to use the universities services they provide. After all I do pay £9000 a year to study there, so why not? It wasn’t the issue as such of not using their services, in fact I was all for that. It was more the feelings behind it. They suggested I went to speak to a councillor. A councillor at the end of the day is someone you can go to, to talk about anything and everything. They are there not to judge. They are there to help you get through whatever struggles you are facing.

However, at the time when I thought of councillors I thought of scary times. I’m not sure if that’s because I have been so naive to mental health in the past. I’ve only really seen counselling that happens in movies and on TV shows and lets be honest, it isn’t always positive, or maybe I was watching the wrong things. I had been brainwashed by these types of media that I was frightened to go. I had all these scenarios of what could/would happen. I genuinely had thoughts of; Is what I need help for even valid? Will they think I’m crazy? Will they think that I’m only there to ‘attention seek’? Just as a side track, claiming someone is attention seeking in my book is the worst thing someone can say to you, especially when they don’t know you or even worse if they do. If you suffer from mental health 9/10 you feel alone, even maybe 10/10. You are NOT attention seeking talking out about your problems. No way are you. In fact, you are brave. You are not only helping yourself, but you could be helping other people not feel alone. You are incredible talking out. The stigmas around mental health are SO frustrating when it comes to this.

Anyhow, I went along to my counselling meetings in the hope that the lady can help me. Help me try and get life on track. I’m not sure if it 100% worked out because I didn’t know her and I find it SO hard to open up and that’s the person I am. I even find it hard now to open up to people, to tell them what I feel, what’s going on. I know I was proud of myself for going to try it out, what harm could it of done? I did think it was the best idea for myself to stop them completely after a while.

It wasn’t until I had a moment when I thought I need to stop this. There are people I know who can help. There are. I’m being silly keeping all this inside which is slowly, but surely destroying me. It got out of control that there were nights I woke in the middle of the night with panic attacks and if you know me, even though I don’t sleep a lot whenever I do I treasure it and don’t want to be awoken by this.

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In May this year I really began to use my blog to get all this out. I had my nails done for my birthday in April and it helped me so much with Trich and I finally thought, it’s now my time to help others. I began to write about mental health. Specifically a condition which has taken up 14 years of my life and has little to no awareness about it. A condition which, whenever I write about and click the publish button on my blog, I feel good about writing – even though deep down it makes me feel ashamed. I think it’s more the awareness that I’m raising about it makes me proud. This year alone my little blog has reached 56 countries. That’s countries where people that suffer from the same thing that I have been able to help feel less alone, and there is NO greater feeling than that.

Speaking out about things is SO important and if you can, please find someone whether that be a family member you can trust, a professional like a uni tutor,a manager at work or a medical professional PLEASE talk out. I promise you, you will feel so much better.You will also be helping others, even if you don’t feel like you are. Such a great feeling.

Today I will be celebrating all that I’ve accomplished in a year of going from saying nothing to working on that everyday and getting better. You can do it too, I believe in you.

Getting It Out In The Open..

In my last post I mentioned that at the beginning of the uni year I began to get major panic attacks to the point they were waking me up in the middle of the night. If any of you have suffered from panic attacks before or had one you will know, they are not pleasant. They make you feel scared, almost as though you feel like you are dying, as dramatic as it sounds and really makes you feel so on edge.

I was getting them more and more and decided it was enough. I couldn’t do normal things such as go to bed to sleep properly in the fear that I was going to wake up in a panicked state, enough was enough. I love sleep, although I cannot remember the last time I slept the whole night through without waking at the very least three times. If anyone has got any tips they use to when they need to sleep but cant sleep I will 100% appreciate them!

I hadn’t told my family about this and still only told my dad literally two weeks ago. I go to uni over 100 miles away from home and theres nothing worse than the feeling that your parent(s) are worried about you. I told close friends and thats it. I didn’t even tell the people I am living with, so if you’re one of them then I’m sorry. I kind of like to keep this stuff to myself but its about time I helped another person out who may also need it and are afraid of whats happening to them. I’ve been so open about things on my blog recently and honest so, nothing is going to change there.

I went into my universities student hub. I knew where it was and I knew they were there to help but never actually went. Now was the time. After all, I pay fees to go uni, I may as well use their services. I emailed them first, I didn’t feel confident enough to go in face to face and talk about whats going on, things are just so much easier through email, for me anyway. The replied pretty quickly with an email back basically saying I would benefit going to their counselling sessions.

This was a pretty scary thought to begin with. Counselling? Am I worth it? Are my problems worth their time just sitting listening to them? Would the counsellor think I’m being silly? You know, all the questions that fly round your head. I however replied with I would like to try them out. I was put on a waiting list and within a few weeks my first appointment rolled around.

At first we had a twenty minute appointment where we literally sat and spoke if it was going to be beneficial to have these appointments. It was the typical environment, a little room, chair opposite each other and not much else. She talked me through how she would be there to help me find strategies to help with these panic attacks and to get right down to what was causing them. To me this sounded perfect and she put me on a course of eight sessions – if I needed more they would be available. They were an hour session fitted around my already existing university commitments and once a week. I was lucky to have mine on a day off so I didn’t need to worry about lessons.

When I went to my first session I expected it to be awkward. I never knew the woman and to just open up about life problems and all that was quite difficult. I don’t have a major issue with trust but somethings I’m like – errrrm. You know many things I have just kept to myself and not really spoke them out loud. I’m quite a closed book unless you know me. I’m working on it everyday which is why I’m writing more about this on my little space on the internet. Not everything, but enough to help people out if they need someone to know they’re going through a similar thing.

I didn’t open up as much as I could of done on my first appointment, I briskly went over what I thought was giving me these panic attacks and major anxiety, and getting me down. We figured it was more likely balancing uni work and work together along with life. I was working as much as I could through a very busy uni semester with work thrown here there and everywhere. I had to take a step back and think, why was I down in Southampton and not back at home, and that was for my degree. I have to work to pay bills, rent etc just like everyone else, but overall university, my degree was the number one reason I am at uni.

I began to make plans/schedules. Scheduling time out for me time. Time I can go and enjoy myself and not think about university or work. Just time to chill out, watch my favourite TV show and not feel guilty. That was another thing on the list, feeling guilty if I was doing something that wasn’t university work. I would feel like whilst I was sat binge watching Netflix episodes I could be doing this, this and this for my degree. Together, with the counsellor we decided a few hours a day I could have me time. It felt a lot better writing it in a diary than just doing it spontaneously.

I managed to do this in the week that I wasn’t seeing her. I then went back and said how I thought the schedule really seemed to help. Although, I didn’t stick to it everyday it was still there as a basis. I was honest and told her. I wasn’t going to keep things back and was 100% honest the whole time. We talked through the schedule and how it was working which was fab. There was something though that wasn’t making me feel – right. I still felt pretty down most of the time and whilst I was there I wanted to address that too, find some sort of strategy.  I knew I’d find it difficult because I always find it hard to speak out unless I know that person.

I just wanted to get things fixed as much as possible. The counsellor asked questions and more questions and as much as I wanted to answer them I just couldn’t. I stuck to the schedule however for this week and I was getting better at it the more it went on. I was feeling a little more better about balancing everything.

 

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(Insta: MentalHealthDaily_)

Overall, university counselling was so beneficial. The fact they fit around your already existing timetable is so good, and that (mine) was based in university. So convenient. I’m grateful for my counsellor for helping me out the most when I needed it. I just wish I had opened up more, maybe sometime soon.

I hope this post gives you some confidence, if you’re struggling with anything to go out and get help. You are not alone. You may feel it in the dead of the night when you’re awake trying to forget these thoughts, but you’re not. There are people that can help you, willing to help you. You don’t have to go it alone.