I've been starring at this blank page for a while now. I know exactly what I want to write but my heartbeat continues to speed up knowing that I actually plan on publishing this post for all the interweb to see. Hello, I'm Vanese, I am 19 years old and have the biggest love for cats, meeting new people and am forever attempting the world record of how many pizza slices I can consume within 24 hours. Aside from those fun facts, I also suffer with anxiety and panic disorder which aren't so fun.
I was inspired by the latest Jacksgap video on mental health to talk about my own mental health. This honestly is something I'd never talk about because there is a stigma surrounding mental health, which honestly needs to change. I feel like one of the luckiest people because I am surrounded by amazing and supportive family and friends who make me feel comfortable enough to be able to talk about my own mental health.
I've always been a type of person to over worry about different situations but it wasn't really a problem as such when I was younger. That all changed around three years ago when my levels of anxiety started to become quite high and that led onto me experiencing my first panic attack. I may not remember much about the situation but I'll never be able to forget how I felt in that moment. I remember feeling really embarrassed about experiencing my first panic attack and feeling really anxious about the possibility of another one occurring. I thought by just hiding out in bed that everything would be fine, when in fact everything started to become unbearable. Luckily, with the amazing support from my mum and sisters, I booked an appointment at my local doctors and I was told I was suffering from panic disorder. I know that me feeling anxious brings on my panic attacks from time to time but I still do struggle to work out what else causes them to happen.
I was lucky enough to have a GP who I felt really comfortable to talk to. She suggested that I have some therapy sessions to help me try to take control of my anxiety and panic attacks. At first I was really embarrassed that I was having therapy but it's honestly nothing to be ashamed of and I can't describe how much it has changed my life. I can't lie and say that everything is fine now because it isn't always like that. Coming to university was pretty difficult as I am in new surroundings and suffering with panic attacks and anxiety when I'd just started made things quite difficult but I am honestly surrounded by some incredible people who I have no shame in telling them when I'm feeling quite anxious or the symptoms of a panic attack start to come on.
I have since finished my therapy sessions and they really have changed my life. I have learnt things that'll be able to help me even in the toughest of times. I won't lie and say that there aren't times when it isn't really tough, but honestly it does get better. I am in such a better position than I was three years ago. It takes time but I've found that by just talking about how I'm feeling has helped a lot. Whether you suffer with anxiety, panic attacks or any other form of mental health it is nothing to be ashamed of. It in no way defines us as a person. I wanted to write this post because at one point I was ashamed but I am now the complete opposite to that. I want people to know that this is real life and it's absolutely fine to talk about. Statistics show that 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer a mental health problem each year. It's 2015, it's time to start talking about mental health.