The new year is now a surprisingly weird time in the world of Arianne. It marks the one-year anniversary of my mental breakdown; where my anxiety got so difficult I developed agoraphobia so I couldn’t leave the house without having a panic attack. I’ve never been in a situation that has drastically changed my life as much as that day in January 2017.
To say it was probably the most diabolical couple of months of my life would be an understatement. I had to take a year out of college, I wasn’t seeing my friends as much and I couldn’t concentrate enough to do anything I had enjoyed. I just felt numb, but also guilty. Guilty that my family my family were constantly filled with worry, as well as the added stress of the situation. The many pointless doctors’ appointments, the minutes spent trying to just get me out of bed, and the countless times they had to try and calm me down while having a panic attack.
The early days were the absolute worst. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about killing myself. When the life you knew and the person you were is stripped away it’s difficult to even want to exist let alone live. I couldn’t do it though, I’m too empathetic. I just kept thinking about how much pain that would cause my family. I knew I’d rather just be a shell the put them through that amount of pain.
Those suicidal feelings weren’t helped by the lack of support I received from the mental health services. I couldn’t ever tell the doctor I was suicidal, I could be honest about everything else but that. To this day I don’t understand why I didn’t say anything. However, I doubt the words ‘you’re not bad enough for a referral’ wouldn’t have been uttered by the doctor even if I had been completely honest. I also can’t help but wonder how many taken lives that type of sentence has resulted in.
I got through it though. It was difficult, I’ll never deny that. The months of counselling did take an effect. There were some days where I didn’t want to talk to anyone about the weather, let alone talk to a weird man about my mental health. I’ll always regard myself as one of the lucky ones though. There was never a second I didn’t have the support of at least my family. I was lucky to have access to private counselling, which at £30 for an hour isn’t cheap. Most importantly though, I’m lucky because I made it out of that weird place, and I did by living and not the alternative.
I’m back in college, doing subjects that I love and attempting to reach those goals I’ve always had. I’ve got a smaller yet closer group of friends that I know will support me and have made it their mission to understand what’s going on in that weird brain of mine. I’m able to do more of what I love and I actually have the motivation to do so. I also now have the confidence to challenge myself to do things I never thought would be possible for someone like me. Someone who had gone through a huge amount of obstacles in such a short space of time.
If you had told me last January I would be where I am now; I would’ve probably laughed in your face. Yet, here I am; that weirdo who manages to look slightly drunk in every group photo. Recovery is extremely difficult and can sometimes seem completely pointless. The thought of dragging yourself to those counselling sessions, making the most minimal effort and even trying to get out of bed seem like the worst ideas in the world. Looking at it now though, I see how worthwhile that extremely difficult period was. It shaped me into this more refined blob of a human that is writing this. It got me to where I am, and I’m so pleased with that.
For anyone that has been affected by any mental health condition, here are a few websites that could be useful to you:
ThinkTwice – A mental health charity aiming to raise awareness and fight the stigma attached to mental health
YoungMinds – A mental health charity focusing on children and adolescents
Mind – A mental health charity providing information and services such as counselling in local areas
These mental-health links should not be used to self-diagnose, if you feel you have a mental-health issue please go and see a health professional