Hi my name is Steph and I have mental health issues. Now that makes me feel uncomfortable saying that because mental health has such a bad press that needs changing. More specifically, in the past and sometimes to this day, I have anxiety and panic attacks.
At the peak of my anxiety, I wouldn’t leave the house and would spend a lot of time in bed. The reason for the title of this blog is twofold; that it is physically exhausting coping with anxiety because it mentally drains you to the point where you do want to stay in bed all day and because it is tiring hiding the problems from other people.
Living with anxiety is like being followed by a voice. It knows all your insecurities and uses them against you. It gets to the point when it’s the loudest voice in the room. The only one you can hear. It keeps you from doing the things you want to. And points out your faults. The worst part is you know the voice is probably lying but you can’t stop listening.
I wish every day I could pinpoint why I have felt like this but sometimes we don’t always get the answers we want and I carry on with the following quote ringing in my head, “You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it”. I believe in this quote so much that I actually had it commissioned to have on a phone case so I can carry it with me every day.
The thing is with anxiety and panic attacks, it is a very easy issue to hide. I am the girl who walks around with a smile plastered on her face, I am the girl who has a laugh and joke with everyone, I am the girl who helps people out when they need something doing and I am the girl who sits in her room shaking, sweating and feeling like I’m going to die when I’m having a panic attack. Unless you have ever had a panic attack, it really is the hardest thing to explain but I know the more I talk about it, hopefully the more comfortable people will be to ask me questions and talk about it.
1 in 4 people suffer with mental health issues so chances are you know someone who suffers but you might not actually know it.
I have developed many techniques in the past to help me cope and I am a big believer in quotes which I know is a strange coping mechanism but mental health has taught me that not one single person copes in exactly the same way as another person. And the thing that gave me the strength to write about this, because believe me when I say I am so scared to post this because of changing the way people see me, was actually a blog that I read from Beth Button that said: ‘I will never see it as a problem or negative phase in my life, but a part of me that’s made me who I am today.’ That is exactly how I feel and knowing someone else had similar feelings/thoughts makes you get up and start again. The things that I have coped with in my 23 short years on this planet have made me who I am today, I have the strength to want to be involved with NUS, I have the ability to stand up in front of people and give speeches but most of all, when I fall, I know I am strong enough to cope with it. Even if this blog only gives one person the strength to admit to themselves that they have an issue, then I will have done my job.
So I will close my blog with this quote from the late, great Nelson Mandela: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”’
NSoA LT Member Stephanie Palmer