I’ve had ups and downs in my mental health for a good 10 years now, it started with depression in my late teens, which I was able to self medicate for a year or so with alcohol and silly behaviour.
The alcohol stopped having the desired affect after a while and then the anxiety slowly crept in like the slippery snake that it is.
I had a couple of big panic attacks which put pay to some major life choices, like moving away for uni and getting an office job and my own apartment in the city.
Since then, I don’t often have panic attacks, but more a general state of anxiety that spirals out of control every so often when stress builds to a point where the physical symptoms cause me to have trouble sleeping.
I had never properly experienced insomnia until about 3 years ago, but it has to be the symptom I find hardest to deal with as it’s knock on effects just exacerbate everything.
Also, sleep is usually one of my favourite things to do! It’s a release and a chance for my body and mind to heal. Food is another of one of life’s little pleasures that is snatched away when my anxiety at its worst.
I’m in one of those phases right now, Christmas was tough for me and in this moment it’s hard to imagine feeling calm or cheerful again, but I know I will. So far my track record of recovering from set backs has been 100% after all.
I’ve tried all sorts of treatments and am still learning what does and doesn’t help, the only thing I know for sure is that you have to keep moving forward no matter how hard it is, or however slow the progress. I’m not sure I’ll ever have an anxiety free life, but that doesn’t have to mean an unhappy life.
Illustration by Sozzij