DEEP BREATH CHAR..
I’m about to be so honest because I am finally feeling strong enough to speak openly about my experience of anxiety in the hope to prevent as many people as I can from experiencing what I did in 2016.
I’m not going to lie, i’m nervous because as much as I rant and rave about being open and HONEST about feelings and issues, I struggle to be honest about myself. It’s so important that we share our stories, struggles and moments of change so we can help others around us.
Ok so, long story short, without too much detail. I suffered with debilitating anxiety for around 10 months of my life in 2016. I lost 7kg in weight, I struggled to eat, I had around 3 panic attacks a day for 2 months and some days I couldn’t leave the house let alone a car. It was out of NOWHERE, and absolutely destroyed my quality of life for what felt like a very long time. My hands would shake consistently and I’d have to hide them under the table when out for meals with friends or on DATES, which was embarrassing. My heart raced a million times faster than it should and I lost all desire and enjoyment for food, activities and sadly life itself.
I spent my summer, at age 21, indoors terrified of everything.
I told next to no one, apart from very close family and a few friends. I suffered in silence with the fear that no one could possibly understand this paralysing daily fear I was experiencing. I didn’t want anyone to view me differently or to think that somehow what was going on was made up.
I forced myself to socialise when I felt up to it, meaning I went on dates with no food in my stomach (because anxiety made me feel too sick to eat) with the fear of an on coming panic attack at any moment. I gave myself a get out claus of any situation, If I thought I was going to have a panic attack I would tell the person I was with that I felt faint. I thought that masking what I was struggling with mentally with a physical problem would make the way I was feeling more acceptable. I would have given a limb to climb out of the hole I was in.
I wanted my life back desperately and I was terrified that if the people around me knew that I was struggling with a new unexplainable fear that they may turn away from me.
I became the queen of pretending that I was all okay and it worked, for the most part, however looking back I know that the people around me would have given me more love than I could have possibly needed. But when you’re in that headspace you feel isolated and helpless.
Fortunately, I reached out for help. I got CBT therapy which SAVED ME. I cannot recommend it enough, it absolutely 100% recharged my life and gave me tools to deal with what had hit me like a steam train.
I had reached the end of the summer, about to go into my third year of university and I was considering dropping out as I didn’t think it would be possible to handle the stress of London with the level of panic I was experiencing every moment of every day.
But I did it, I found my way back to myself. I worked harder on Charlotte than I ever had before. I found a drive within me because I so desperately wanted to live through it and knew that there was so much more planned for my life than the fear and anxiety.
I want to share with you all exactly how I did it, how I reformed and reshaped my life. How I went from being terrified of leaving the house to running around London in and out of meetings, performing and taking cross atlantic flights with absolutely no anxiety whatsoever.
It was the most life changing experience I have ever had and has given me so much insight into not only myself and the way my brain works but it has given me a greater understanding of those around me. So much so that I want to dedicate a lot of my time to making sure that no one has to experience what I did.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to share little parts of my story with anxiety and exactly what worked and didn’t work for me. How I got into that frame of mind and HOW I GOT OUT OF IT (YAY)
The whole reason I have set up Self Love London is because the most powerful part of my healing was learning how to love and accept myself. I want to share how I have come to this level of love and how I plan to continue it throughout my life.
To be continued…
P.S. Thank you for taking your time to read my experience and for those who are experiencing anxiety, THERE IS HOPE AND THERE IS FREEDOM FROM IT, I promise.