Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Dealing with Anxiety.

A somewhat different post from me today, and I hope that you appreciate my honesty. 

This is not a, "I want sympathy" post, nor is it to boast about the fact that I have anxiety. It is to share my experience with you and if it can helps even one person, then that is my aim accomplished. 

Around 2 years ago, during my first year of university, I began to feel on edge, panicky and forever tense. There was no ease up. I was away from home, away from normality and away from anyone who had ever helped me. I was suddenly thrown into an environment in which I knew next to no one and knew nothing about the city. I felt scared, and alone. 

When it started to effect my university work, I knew I had to take control of this. The way I look at anxiety, now, is that it is like a spoilt child. It will keep flaring up and playing up, attempting to get your attention, until you put your foot down and say "no. I'm in control of this situation". However, when you are suffering from said disorder, this mindset is easier said than done. And in retrospect, I had no idea about how to deal with it, and had I known this then, I think I would've avoided a very dark time. When I began to have panic attacks, I got more and more scared of the disorder. It's like when you are walking home at night by yourself, and even the smallest shadow scares you. Anxiety for me, was,  is like that. The first sign of a panic attack was like the smallest shadow on a dark night. 

Now I'm approaching the end of my degree, and I look back at how I used to be and where I am now, I'm extremely proud of my progress. Anxiety is never going to be cured, sadly. However, you do not need medication to overcome it and control the symptoms. With a bit of talking therapy, a strong support system and relaxation techniques, it is possible to kick anxiety in the butt. I'm now in an extremely happy and loving relationship, I have the most wonderful best friends - both at university and at home - and the most incredibly beautiful and loving family.

After I graduate I plan to go into the fashion industry. As many of you know, if you follow me on Twitter, I have been extremely lucky in having been offered three internships this summer for numerous established companies, from PR to journalism, and I am so incredibly excited. My boyfriend, Nath, is a fashion design student to-be graduate and has pre warned me of the sometimes nasty and intense nature of fashion. I am prepared for this. If you had given me these internships two years ago, I would never have thought I could do it, and now, I'm excited. Obviously, I'm nervous too, but that's natural. However, my point is, anxiousness is not my main feeling - it does not overwhelm me, nor does it consume me. I'm human - I have my down days, just like everyone - but it's how you compartmentalise and rationalise these feelings that truly matter. 
Have you seen Monsters Inc? Yes, the Disney film. I promise I have a point. When Sully enters Boo's door for the first time, and initially, Boo is scared at first, but then she realises that Sully is a big fluffy bear, is no longer afraid and that he can protect her from the bad guys. Anxiety is like that. It is scary, at times. But appropriate levels of anxiety can also be beneficial and somewhat reassuring and helpful. It reminds you that you care about something, or someone. It keeps you on your toes, it encourages adrenaline and fast thinking. 

Keep anxiety in check, keep your mind clear and your heart happy. If you're struggling, I promise, you can and will get through it. 

Lots of love,
Katie x

2 comments:

  1. Thankyou for writing this post. I found it so so so helpful. I'm a first year and right now I'm beginning to accept that I have anxiety. I've had a handful of panic attacks in the past, due to an extreme phobia, but when I moved to university and found it hard to fit in, it got worse. I've avoided social situations and the slightest thing will freak me out spending me into a spin which I find it hard to get out of. I've been aware of the disorder for a while because a loved one suffers from extreme anxiety as well as extreme depression. So it's only recently that I've realised the scale of it.

    Just before my dad was telling me I won't be able to cope with my fashion internship starting next week, because I can't even handle living in Manchester. But I want to prove him wrong. I can do this. I'm not going to let my anxiety stop me achieving my dreams, just like you.

    Thankyou

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    1. You are more than welcome Allie. I was really nervous writing it due to social stigma and what people may think, but you're comment has made it all worth while. I am so glad you have found it helpful. You can achieve your dreams and whatever motivates you to do so will also stamp out your anxiety.

      Take care chick xxx

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