Stories, skills, and positivity- to anxiety sufferers from anxiety sufferers.
I had a lot of trouble thinking of the best way to get my story from my head to the paper, but I figured the best way would be to just write down everything I can.The first thing I want to say is that even in the darkest moments of your life when you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, or OCD please push on. I promise you it will get better. Hopefully you can take my story for example and find the motivation to keep going.
Having anxiety you ask a lot of “what ifs.” But it is never the good “what if’s”. It is always the ones that jump to the worst conclusion. You may tend to do things more than once, which is where a bit of OCD comes in. You make sure the door is locked 4 times, check behind the shower curtain twice or for me, I would always make my bed before I went to sleep.
Looking back on my anxiety story it all started when I was little. Growing up I always had the worst stomach pains. Starting around age four. A lot of the time I was barely able to move or wouldn’t eat anything. In grade 7 we finally decided to go to the hospital to determine what could be happening. There were a lot of visits before they finally came to the conclusion that it was anxiety that was causing the awful pain. Soon after that, I was admitted to a psychologist just to double check that anxiety was the culprit. The next referral was to an active relief doctor. What would happen is my stomach muscle would get so tight that it would move out of place and his job was to move it back into place which would make it feel better for a bit less than a week.
In grade 7 I had also started to self harm. I believe this was a combination of such high anxiety and depression. This went on until grade 9 when the active relief just wasn’t helping enough for the stomach pain. I ended up going to see more doctors, and a lot more hospital visits until I was finally diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder-more commonly known as G.A.D. Going into grade 10 was one of the scariest things I had ever done, despite the fact that my mom worked at my school. I had to have everything ready to go a month before, and I had a panic attack when I found out we wouldn’t be getting schedules until the first day, because that absolutely killed me inside. The self harm continued into grade 10 and stopped briefly when a girl in the grade above me committed suicide. In that moment I knew that I needed help. I went to my guidance counsellor crying that day and she brought my mom up immediately and filled her in on the unexpected information that her daughter was suicidal. That night I spent 7 hours in the emergency department of the Children’s Hospital.
I knew that I needed help because I knew that I could have been the one to end my life. At the hospital visit they referred me to a team. This team consisted of a social worker, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and a nurse. I met with this team a few times, and we made plans for the future and getting me on medication. Once I was on medication I started seeing a psychologist weekly. That soon turned into a year long teen group I went to once a week. The group was one of the best things that had happened to me. It felt so good to feel supported and I had an amazing psychologist. The hardest part of the whole thing was having my parent's support, as they thought (and continue to believe) that I was perfectly fine. Throughout grade 11 this all continued. Visits to the psychologist, medication and a bad break up ended in an eating disorder. I got referred to a different team for this but I refused help and denied that I had any disorder. I lost a lot of weight and continued to self harm, but very slowly I was starting to see the light.
Grade 12 was my shining light. I slowly got rid of the toxic friends in my life and became closer with people who actually cared about me. I was in band and choir and worked hard. To this day I am still on medication and see my psychologist when I need to, and get my stomach all fixed up. I still have panic attacks but way less, I still self harm and don’t alway eat as much as I should but this is all to a point where I feel more in control and I know what I need to do if I need help. I also have an amazing support team of friends and doctors who have helped so much.
I graduated high school this year with honours, great friends and a crazy supportive and awesome boyfriend. Anxiety is still a huge part of my life, but I know how to deal with it now. I know how to calm my self down, breathe properly, and control my self. To all of those suffering with anxiety and depression. Please remember, push your self through. Even if it takes you an hour to get out of bed one day, you got out of bed and thats enough to keep you going.
Depression is full of ups and downs, and a lot of the time you just feel numb. No emotion and you don't know why and it can be so hard to tell people how you feel and why you aren’t “just happy” but you never need to explain yourself to others. Just take care of yourself. It is always okay to reach out when you need help, because I know there is a possibility I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t get help.
Looking back it was so clear that anxiety was the problem. I was always asking “what are we doing next” I would need a plan for the day to each hour. I was never good in big social groups or with people I didn’t know. Today I still need a plan and yes it still drives me crazy when people say “we’ll do it later” but today I am 100 times better than I was two years ago. Always keep going, and as someone once taught me that has kept me going, always remember to ‘Smile More.’
10/21/2015 09:45:08 pm
can't tell you how much it helps to hear your story. thank you so much for sharing!!!!!
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Katie McLean holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and bases her anxiety aid in personal experience, as well as techniques that have been passed on to her by counsellors, friends, and fellow anxiety sufferers.