Friday, 16 May 2014

Guest post- Georgie's experience

The second of my guest posts comes from the wondrrful Georgie who has a brand new blog here
with some wonderfully well written and insightful mh posts (and I'm not just saying that cos she's my friend and I love her loads honest :p). Anyway, always I mean to write a brief intro and always I end up rambling on, so here's Georgie:

As Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close, I’ve finally managed to find a spare moment to write a blog post for one of my best friends, Katie. My name’s Georgie, I’m 21 and I’ve very very very nearly finished my Psychology degree (literally 1 exam left now). My blog is called ‘We’re All Mad Here…’ I haven’t written that much yet but my posts do have a strong mental health tone to them. I am quite passionate about raising awareness and trying to help beat the stigma around mental health. Anyway, enough about that, let me talk to you about my experience with anxiety, particularly the struggles I have had to face whilst at uni. I first noticed my anxiety when I was about 15, around the time that my depression started (in fact, I’m pretty sure they came hand-in-hand). I distinctly remember one time when my anxiety was really bad. I was meant to be meeting my friend in town but I felt like I couldn’t leave my house. I rang her up and started having a panic attack. I had no idea what was going on, no idea why I felt like I couldn’t leave my house. It had never bothered me in the past – sure, I’d have moments when I was on my own when I would be anxious, but it had never stopped me from doing anything. As the years went by, I got better at controlling my anxiety and better at ‘ignoring’ it. I tried as hard as I could not to let the anxiety win and stop me from going to school or out with my friends. Of course, this was helped by the fact that I had to go to school, even if I didn’t want to, because otherwise the school would ring my parents and they’d know I hadn’t gone. When I came to uni though, I had my own freedom, I suddenly didn’t have to explain why I wasn’t in or let anyone know that I wouldn’t be at the lectures. I used to spend a lot of time sat in my room, watching TV and ignoring the outside world. I made one good friend on my course and was too nervous to really speak to anyone else unless I had to. Second year was better, I was more comfortable in myself. Now that I’m in my third year, I’m much more confident in myself. I have a beautiful and wonderful group of friends who are there to support me when I am having a bad day. But anxiety doesn’t just leave you. It’s not like a cold where you have it for a week and then it goes away. It is constantly there, always lurking at the back of your mind, ready to make yourself doubt your own thoughts and feelings. I can walk through a street and think everyone is staring at me and thinking how ugly I am. Or I’ll say something and constantly be worrying about the way in which I’ve said it, whether I’ve said it in a way to offend others, or if I’ve made a fool of myself. If I’m meeting a friend for a coffee and I get there early, I’ll worry that they won’t show up, even when I know that they will. Anxiety is irrational and you are aware that it is irrational but you can’t tell that voice to be quiet. Sometimes you can ignore it but even if you ignore something for a long time, it doesn’t just magically go away. All we can really do is try and push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, to do things that may be anxiety-inducing but in the end will be rewarding. Still, it can be very hard and don’t even get me started on how tiring it is! But we have to push on because maybe somewhere in the not-too-distant-future, things will look a bit brighter and be a bit easier…!

Ps. Sorry about the picture Georgie dear!! :p. X