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My Anxiety Story: Part 1

08 July 2013
I wasn't sure whether I was going to make any posts about my anxiety ordeal but after speaking to a couple of good friends about I thought I'd just jump in the deep end and go for it. No one knows the full story, I've only told people random parts here and there, and I think I owe it to myself as a bit of closure for that chapter of my life.

Another reason I've been so reserved is just pure embarrassment, and I may even delete this post, but hey ho let's go for it...



So back in November 2011, I was part of the debating society in sixth form, and was asked to pair up with a friend for one of the competitions. This was when I was trying to boost my confidence a bit more; step out of my comfort zone, and thought 'why not?' We got the topic through and it was about nuclear weapons, which seemed like a pretty easy topic, but I wasn't very good at the debating part. I never get stressed, but this seemed to really frustrate me.

I took a break and decided to do some research, and started looking into nuclear war and just generally thought - imagine if it happened, and the world just ended. Being the overthinker I am, I thought - imagine if it happened tomorrow, or right now, and was suddenly struck by a fear of dying prematurely. I started questioning everything about the world, and this fear started taking over my head - I could spend a couple of hours thinking and worrying at a time and this soon turned to thinking and worrying all of the time.

Now I don't exactly know how I spent the week worrying and thinking so much, when there isn't really that much to think about, but somehow it happened. It was only at school, when I was distracted by things, that I felt more relaxed, but that soon started to stop working. I ended up getting out of the debate competition because I knew I would crack and end up dying or something, and on Friday morning of the same week I felt a chest pain. I'd woken up quite relaxed for a change but this startled me, and I had another one about 5 minutes later - they were quick sharp pains that went away straight after. The half an hour I spent getting ready and going to school, I was thinking to myself it was the end. I was having a heart attack. It was the only answer.

We had double maths in the morning and I thought I'm just going to power through it, even though my heart was speeding up and at times I couldn't breathe. I also had a couple more chest pains, and I was thinking, yup, this is where it all ends, I don't want it to, but it's happening. When my teacher started explaining the work on the board, I tried focusing on it but I just couldn't. An hour later, I'd had enough and asked my teacher if I could leave 'cause I wasn't feeling very well. I got on a bus to the hospital, which took about 15 minutes, and went straight into A&E. They did all of the tests and couldn't find anything, writing it off as muscle pains.

I felt better, but was suddenly aware that my body could just be shutting down, as after the panicking (which even at this time, I didn't realise I'd had a panic attack) my body just seemed to throw me random ailments like headaches, back pain and stuff like that. I then spent an hour or so a night just researching different diseases and seeing what my symptoms could be. I diagnosed myself with about 30 or 40 different conditions over the course of a month, and booked appointments with my doctor, dentist and optician to check everything was alright.

My doctor suggested seeing a free counsellor in town, I'd realised by this point I wasn't acting normal at all - so I booked my first appointment for after the Christmas holidays. The anxiety had started to take over literally every thought, and the worst thing is I didn't tell any of my friends what was happening. I used to suffer in silence a lot when I was younger - if something annoyed me I'd brush it off and keep smiling 'cause I didn't want to cause a fuss or anything.

I was stubborn. I felt like what I was going through was so ridiculous, I didn't want anyone knowing, or worrying, or wasting their time on me (I already felt like I bored people whenever I talked so I didn't want to start getting emotional on them too.) We hit the Christmas holidays, and with no school and nothing to really distract me I just got worse and worse...
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