My Experience With Anxiety | Huddle and Cuddle Campaign| Mental Health Awareness

Set up by Sophie over at One Unique, Huddle and Cuddle is a campaign to help raise awareness of mental health issues by using the means of social media. Influencers have teamed up to help this campaign and to spread the word, allowing people to never feel alone by sharing their experiences with you. Huddle and Cuddle wants people to get involved by talking to people, whether it be an influencer, family member or a helpline about their thoughts and challenges they may come across. (ALL LINKS WILL BE LEFT AT THE END OF THIS POST).

I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for a few years and I wanted to write this because I could have done with reading about someone else’s experience when it all started happening to me. I didn’t have anyone sharing their experience with me. So, I thought I would share my experience with you.

My therapist thinks it all started when I was 13 or 14. I always had friends and was always super sociable. I actually enjoyed school before all this happened. I loved doing the coursework and actually learning. Which just shows this can affect anyone, no matter how old they are or what they are like as a person.

Then one day, a friend and I fell out. I didn’t make much of it because friends fall out all the time but a few weeks later, I was going about my day as normal and I started to notice other people at school were looking me up and down and giving me weird looks. I didn’t understand what was going on until I got home one day and started getting messages from people from school accusing me of sending said ex-friend a horrible message. It was later proved that it wasn’t me but the lead up to it felt like forever. I was later apologised to by teachers for also believing the accusations against me.

However, apologies don’t fix everything, and those weeks really affected me. I was having around 5-7 anxiety attacks a day to a point that my lungs actually hurt from trying to breathe through them all. I had never experienced it before so I genuinely didn’t know what was happening to me. A couple of months went by and even though the situation was over, little things started affecting me. Like, all someone had to say was ”we need to talk” and I would have an anxiety attack, a teacher could say my grades weren’t good enough and I wouldn’t care much about it at first and then as soon as I was alone I would start overthinking and I would have an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks pretty much took over my days and I feel like they really impacted me as a person.

It got to a point where I genuinely couldn’t take it anymore and I fell into depression over it, all of this while still trying to keep my grades up and drowning in coursework on a daily basis. Everything got too much for me and I just wasn’t able to cope with it all anymore. So, one morning I decided enough was enough and made an appointment with my doctor. I explained what my attacks were like (I didn’t know they were anxiety attacks at the time) and that’s when the doctor explained everything to me and referred me to a therapist that I would then see at school once a week.

The lead up to meeting my therapist made me really nervous, I had never been to a therapist before in my life so I had no idea what it was like or if they were going to judge me. But let me tell you, seeing that therapist was the best thing that could have happened to me at that time. I think I wouldn’t have been able to cope if it wasn’t for seeing her that one day once a week. She was super helpful and it was so nice to feel like there was someone to listen to me without judgement. I felt comfortable talking to my therapist about things I didn’t feel comfortable talking to friends and family about due to fear of judgement. Those 45 minute sessions were probably the only 45 minutes of my week that I didn’t feel anxious at the time.

It was then after a few doctors appointments and sessions with my therapist that I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression. I was offered tablets to help me but I refused them all. I know that it works for a lot of people, and they can be great, and in fact if you feel like they will help you, you should see a doctor and speak to them about it. But I’m a really ambitious person so in my head, at that time, I was so determined to prove to myself that I could make myself better on my own, without any medication.

And the truth is, 7 years later, I’m here to tell you that I did it. All on my own! Obviously I had a little help from my therapist until I turned 16 and then from that point on wards it was all on me. For the past 4 years I have managed to find ways to motivate myself and keep myself positive. To the point where I no longer show any signs of depression or have depressive thoughts and my anxiety attacks are non-existent. I feel free!

I’m the sort of person that needs to keep busy when I’m alone, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I decided to enrol on a course (that I just finished a few days ago) to keep me busy in my spare time and I also started blogging. Both things have helped me a lot because I love writing. Finding something you enjoy doing and doing it as a job or hobby can really help you stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people, who care about you, love and support you. This is a huge help too!

What helped me through anxiety attacks was this little breathing exercise my therapist taught me. You count from 1 through to 10 but you take a deep breath in between each number. For example; ”1”, deep breath, ”2”, deep breath, ”3” and so on. I felt it really helped me when I felt an attack starting.

I want you to know that you aren’t alone. There are lots of people out there that you can talk to when you’re feeling down without judgement, me being one of them, and that is exactly what Huddle and Cuddle is all about. You don’t have to keep everything to yourself, it really helps for you to talk to someone, whether it be your doctor, a family member or one of us. It does get better!


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