Picture the scene…
On this day last year I woke up with a feeling of dread. I showered, got dressed and looked in the mirror wondering if I had made my outside look too put together for what I was about to tell someone was going on inside. I stood for 10 minutes in the middle of Alexandra Square in Lancaster, waiting for a friend to meet me and take me to the doctors because I couldn’t go by myself. I had to go by myself. I sat in the waiting room trying to imagine how on earth this was all going to happen, picturing what the doctor might look like, wondering what she was going to say and how we were going to start this conversation. I sat in the chair next to her desk, pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from my pocket and started reeling off symptoms which I thought made me sound like a loon or attention seeker…
– I’m scared all the time
– I shake, I can’t breathe, I feel sick
– I feel like I’m a burden to all of my friends and I’m losing them
– I feel lonely all the time
– I wake up every morning with butterflies in my stomach regardless of what may be happening that day
– I can’t concentrate
– I can’t sleep
The list went on…
Never had I ever told anyone this, not out loud anyways. Usually I am really good at keeping a strong ‘front’ and that was what I was convinced I would do today but I completely broke down, my voice cracked and my hands started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t even get to the end of my list because I knew I would cry and I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried in front of someone.
That was when she told me I had anxiety and depression. In some ways it was a relief because that was what I was expecting to hear but in other ways it was terrifying, I was actually mentally ill, I was one of those people! I was given leaflet upon leaflet and offered medication, of which I took because it felt like the only way out.
That was one year ago today…
Today I am sat at my dream marketing agency, doing a job which was basically made for me and makes me extremely happy. I have successfully moved to London, carved a life for myself teaching dance to a lovely group of children who make me smile every Saturday, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones and continuously proving to myself that I am so much braver than I thought. I haven’t a clue if I am any better, if the medication is working or if a change in environment is what has caused these changes but I can definitely look back on the past year and be extremely grateful I’m not still lying in the bed in my attic room, unable to even think about moving let alone doing anything.
Motto for the day: things will change if you try hard enough. Even if it scares you.