This is a question I’ve often been asked, and that I’ve asked myself too. Really, I don’t know? I don’t know if there was ever a definitive moment in my life where I can say – that was it. Has anybody had that moment?
Although I’ve only recently recognised that I’ve had anxiety (since Nov 15), thinking back I’ve a feeling it was always there in one form or another. I don’t remember an awful lot of my childhood, but a small but potentially traumatic event happened when I was very young, which I won’t delve into for respect for that person. But, after that things weren’t quite right.
As a little girl I was always frightened. I was always afraid of being away from my Mum and more specifically my Dad, who I latched onto. I used to cry a lot, over silly little things. I’ve a memory of being in Primary school and my teacher asked me to get something from a drawer but I couldn’t find it, and my first instinct was to cry.
I never went to sleepovers because I was frightened of being away from home. One night I tried staying at a friend’s house (literally a five minute walk from home) and my Dad to pick me up as I was crying and felt sick, I just wanted to sleep in my own bed.
As I got older I stuck to my own friendship group, there were 2 or 3 of us. I always felt people didn’t like me or thought I was weird, but I was happy with the friends I had. It was the same as I started Secondary School, I was very timid and focused on my school work. I did make new friends and get invited out, but I was always very afraid and this is when I remember the trips to the loo (to put it politely) beginning, and the strong feeling of nervousness. Every social event would cause me to feel this way, but I didn’t think much of it or really recognise it.
When I was 14 my Dad had a major stroke and was hospitalised for four months. This was a trying time for my family and I avoided being at home. I never really felt emotional although I love my Dad to pieces, I guess I covered it up more than anything and just was very empty. During this time I started going out and drinking more, covering it up as well as certain teenage troubles I was having.
My motivation for school work dropped considerably, I’d always find myself doing the minimum I could to get by and that’s exactly how it stayed through my GCSE’s and into college. I never knew what I wanted to do in college and actually touched on 7 different A Levels. After skipping lecture after lecture, fuelling my social life and bleeding my education dry; I left with one full A Level and two half A Levels. I had no desire or chance at university and not a clue what I’d ever be doing with my life. This is when I finally admitted I was depressed and started taking Anti-Depressants first.
Eventually, I found a Business Administration Apprenticeship (Nov 13) where I started my career as a Letting Agent. Fast forward that (to Nov 15 when I identified my anxiety) you’ll find me throwing up in the toilet at work desperate never to return.
Sorry for the boring life story this post has become, I guess it’s been kind of therapeutic for me to write it down and really pick apart seemingly little events happening in my life. But, really it was more a point to show that MH struggles appear in lots of different ways and sometimes you may not always realise, simply just suppressing the feelings and emotions.
Mental Health Awareness is so important and should be included in School Education for both children and teachers. I feel early identification of Mental Health struggles could prevent a lot of illnesses developing. Young people need to identify if they or someone they know begins to struggle with their MH so they can be provided with the necessary support they need.
We are so impressionable in our younger years and deserve the focus on our Mental Health as well as our education.