When you’re in a good place it’s easy to forget how far away rock bottom was. There are two low points I replay when I think about how bad it once was. Each stretched over several years of my life. My freshman year in college started off being the best time of my life. I couldn’t wait to continue with my sophomore year. But then out of nowhere, I started to become upset and nervous. I remember lying in bed and crying to my mom, telling her I wanted to come home. The tears wouldn’t stop. I was never an emotional person, so suddenly having this push of sadness and anger was really confusing.
During winter break of my sophomore year I told my mom I didn’t want to go back to the school I was at. To this day, I can’t tell you why I didn’t want to go back. Though there was an underlying feeling that I didn’t belong there. I didn’t deserve to be there. My friends suddenly felt distant and I closed them off. I transferred to a closer school and suffered through one semester before I dropped out.
I had my first panic attack at nineteen. My heart raced, all of my senses ran on high speed. I couldn’t think. I felt as if I might pass out. Time moved slow, I couldn’t get out of it. Trapped. Trapped in panic. This became the norm for me. Every day I would have at least one episode. I would wake up worrying about when the next one would hit. I couldn’t figure out what was triggering it or what was wrong with me.
I didn’t get help. I didn’t know I should get help. It was embarrassing. I felt I was letting my family down. I didn’t think my friends would understand. So, I stayed quiet. I suffered in silence. Even when someone reached out I clammed up.
If I could look at that girl today, I’d tell her things will get better. Actually, they get much worse because I didn’t get help until I was older. Things got much worse. This was just the beginning. I’ve spent half of my life letting anxiety run the show. It doesn’t anymore. I got help, I’m working through it.
The stigma of mental health issues caused me to suffer in silence. I won’t do it any longer. As mental health awareness month wraps up I’m here to beg any reader who makes it this far in my blog to consider your own mental health carefully.
What works? That’s a hard question. For me, it wasn’t one answer but several I’ve picked up through trial and error. I kept trying though. I found a good counselor and added in a lot of self-care.
Take the smallest steps, they really do add up. Don’t live half your life thinking about how long ago rock bottom was. It was last year for me. Not as far away as I’d like it to be.