It’s mental health awareness week so I thought I’d take the time to share my story quickly.
I think I’ve always suffered with anxiety throughout school, but just never understood what it was or why I was feeling that way. When I left for university in 2016, it seemed to escalate the feelings I was already holding and led to me struggling.
I’m not going to go into it in detail, because it’s not one of my best memories, but it got to the stage where I was sleeping in the day, never leaving the flat and hardly ate. My parents saw that I was struggling and helped me realise that I didn’t need to stay in a situation where I was mentally unwell just because I thought I had to finish my degree. It was the lowest point of my life, and I’m glad that I had supportive parents willing to take me out of the situation and help get me better.
I came home, moved back in with my Dad and got a job. Looking back now to 2017, I still can’t get over how shy I was, and how much of a shell I’d become of my former self. I went to the doctors and got some medical advice, they put me on a prescription to help which took me a while to get used to but greatly helped over the past few years.
Now, I’m doing a different course at my home uni and still working the same job – I’m so much happier. My confidence has come along greatly by volunteering and making new friends, I don’t just feel like the old me, I feel like a new me. I know now about my anxiety, so I feel as though I’ve learnt new things about myself – including how to recognise the feelings and how to deal with them. I’m off the medication now as well, which has been a struggle lately due to the lockdown but I’m doing much better than I was a few years ago.
I still can’t get over how far I’ve come, I’ve flown solo and moved in by myself, I’ve started university again and just finished my second year. I still have bad days and struggle with my mental health a lot, but I also know how to reach out to people that care about me and focus on self-care.
I’d like to end by saying that if anyone out there is struggling, they can always reach out to me – it’s so important to know that you shouldn’t be ashamed about how you’re feeling and that it is okay to struggle and have down days, but just reach out to people who care about you.