Saturday, 26 September 2015

Anxiety: A Late Night Chat.


The time is currently quarter past ten in the evening and I'm sat on my bed surrounded by makeup, hair products, my straighteners and a hairdryer, writing out this post on my laptop. The reason I'm telling you all of this is because I am also sat with a full face of makeup, my hair is done up all nice and I'm wearing a very fancy romper I bought especially for this night. If you haven't guessed by now I should be out with my friends at this very moment. In fact I was out, I shared the most bland pizza from Pizza Hut and I also went to a pub for some drinks as it's my friends birthday in a couple of days. 

I've just got home and you are probably thinking that quarter past ten is a very early time for someone my age to come back from a pub and I have to agree for the most part that you're right. The reason I'm writing this post is to get a few things off my chest, I don't normally get overly personal with you on this blog but today I want to briefly talk about my experience with anxiety. I've actually tried writing about having anxiety many times for you all, but I can never find the right words to talk about it and I always feel like I should be more helpful with my words and I honestly just can't be, because I'm not really getting any better. 

There is a hell of a lot of pressure at this age to do certain things. They mainly involve going out drinking, going to university, getting a job, you get the idea it's all about growing up and being adventurous and independent. The thing is that this pressure changes people because they decide to become the type of person they are being pressured to be, or become the adult they want to be to put it nicely. For me personally I can't physically let pressures surrounding social situations get the better of me, having anxiety means that like tonight for example the noise level and amount of people packed into a pub was just too much for me and I had to go home. And to be honest as much as I try to say I'm not the type of person to go clubbing or drinking anyway, it still makes me feel crap that I can't even be in a Wetherspoons when it's busy, especially when my friends are all suggesting we do shots and go clubbing. 

I was walking down my darkened high street earlier on my way to catch a bus home, looking around at all the closed shops and I was thinking about the way I am. It's really depressing to write out but I was thinking about how I would be if I didn't have anxiety, if I didn't feel stressed all of the time. And to be honest although I thought about that for a while, I'm at a point now where I can remove myself from a situation, take a deep breath and tell myself that this is just how things are. It's like when your bus is late and you know you're going to be late for something, there's no point in getting worked up about it because there is nothing you can do, and that's the thing with a mental illness, it's out of your control. So although you may not like the way it's affecting your life, in terms of what you can't do or how you do something, there's not a lot you can get out of feeling miserable about it. That being said it is perfectly understandable to not like how you are, or the way you went about something because of a mental illness, heck I feel pretty shitty right now because I feel like the people I was with must think I'm so boring for leaving so soon.

However if your friends do make you feel rubbish because of something that is out of your control, then they are not good friends. I took control of how stressed I was feeling and I told my friends I needed to leave because I was not comfortable. Good friends are understanding and don't judge you, I feel lucky that mine were fine with me leaving and told me not to worry and to get home safely. 

Living with a mental illness is a hard thing to do. I feel like despite our society's progression with things like gay marriage, mental illness is still something that isn't treated very well as a whole. The NHS for example here in the UK still do not treat mental illnesses with anywhere near the same degree of seriousness as physical illnesses, for example it took someone I know a year to be seen by a psychiatrist and who knows what they could of done because of their mental health in that time. There is also an issue with stigmatisation and also with self diagnosis with the general public. It's almost like the more people are open about mental illnesses, the more people are sceptical of whether people actually suffer from them or not. 

When someone is brave enough to tell someone they are suffering from depression for example, a very common response to that is for people to ask whether that person has actually been diagnosed or not, even though I'm sure we can all agree that for everyone a diagnosis isn't even particularly necessary or something a person may be comfortable with. I find it so frustrating the amount of people who lack empathy and understanding towards those suffering from mental illnesses, it doesn't even matter if they know you have a mental illness or not, you shouldn't even have to tell someone you have anxiety or whatever you suffer from, if you aren't comfortable doing something then you shouldn't feel judged for having to take yourself out of a situation.

I have to admit that this post has been very spontaneous and I hope my points have come across correctly. I would like to plan a post like this in future and be more constructive, tonight has just been one of those nights where I've needed to just sit down with my laptop and let my feelings out. I haven't particularly had the worst experience with my anxiety tonight and fortunately I didn't have a panic attack. I just got thinking today about those experiences I've had where people haven't been understanding towards me and have made me feel so miserable because of something I can't help having. 

If you take anything away from this post I just want you to know that people who judge you because of the way a mental illness is affecting you don't deserve your time, and like I said if you can't control something like having anxiety just remember that it is just the way things are and that's ok. It's better to be in control of something that by definition you can't control then make yourself miserable trying to pretend it doesn't exist. Forgive me if it's coming across like I lack any kind of empathy but what I'm getting at is that it is better to leave a situation that is stressing you out, then stay and become miserable or even have a panic attack. I know that this doesn't apply to all mental illnesses but from someone with anxiety's point of view that is the only advice I can really give.

Thanks for reading, remember if a mental illness is getting too much for you, talk to someone who will be empathetic and maybe even talk to your GP about any possible treatments. Like I said it's better to take control in some way then let it get you down xx