When I was about 9 years old I started having quite bad tummy aches that became more and more frequent with time and because of that my mum thought it would be wise to go see a doctor. The doctor did some tests and then diagnosed me with ‘stomach ulcers’ (small ulcers that form on the lining of the stomach or small intestine). When we asked how or why I got them the doctor asked me if I had ever suffered from anxiety because it can be known to cause stomach ulcers. Now as a 9 year old child I obviously had no idea what he was talking about and didn’t really care either. All I wanted was for the pain to stop so he gave me some medicine and off we went. It was only till about 3 years ago that I realised what the real meaning of ‘anxiety’ was.
When I used to tell people ‘I have anxiety’ they would often brush it off and see it as me only trying to be dramatic or trying to make my life seem a little bit more ‘interesting’. Because of that I simply stopped talking about it or telling people about it. My anxiety comes in waves. It often gets worse when I’m tired or stressed and is usually brought on by me feeling like I have no control over a situation. And sometimes it just comes out of nowhere.
I do sometimes have panic attacks, luckily mine are probably as mild as they come and not frequent at all. Although mild, panic attacks are scary and very painful. The feeling of not having control over your breathing or your body for those 30-40 minutes that the attack is happening or even the fact that you become very nauseous for no apparent reason within a matter of seconds is probably the most scary part. The pain comes in when your chest tightens and you have problems breathing normally. This has only happened to me a few times and it usually comes out of nowhere. Because my parents don’t even believe that I have anxiety, I stopped bothering to tell them anything about it and I did my research and found ways of dealing with it on my own. I spoke to my school counsellor a few times which didn’t seem to help or make me understand anxiety any better, The school nurse would let me lie down for a few minutes when I felt extremely anxious which luckily only happened a few times while I was at school and any time I’ve had a panic attack while at home I simply locked my door and turned off my lights and waited for it to pass. The only thing that really helped me over the past year or so when my anxiety was at its worst was talking to my psychology teacher who helped me understand that I do in fact suffer from anxiety and helped me come up with ways to deal with it. I spoke to her via email because I didn’t want to do it in school and have people being nosy and asking what we were talking about.
This is not something I ever talk to anyone about due to the fact that I prefer to deal with things on my own and any time I do talk about it, people think I’m joking. Nobody but 1 or 2 of my friends, my old school nurse and my old psychology teacher really know just how bad my anxiety can actually get. I don’t know why I’m anxious or why I happen to have anxiety, it’s just my personality I guess and I guess it will probably never go away but if you’re like me then it helps to know that you’re not crazy or you’re not the only one who feels like this which is why I wrote this. We are part of a generation that has more people suffering from anxiety than not and because of that, we should talk about it more. Share stories, share experiences and share ways to make living with anxiety that much easier for the next person.
Sending you lots of good vibes,