Friends, I have thought long and hard over many months about writing this post. My aim with this blog has and will always be to give an honest account of all…well almost all aspects of my life, both the good and the bad.
So here goes nothing….
Three million people in Austraila are living with anxiety or depression according to BeyondBlue…..and I am one of them. After spending 6.5 years studying a BA in Psychology, I never in my wildest imaginings thought that I would become one of the three million.
I had always been an anxious person. From the earliest time I can remember, I had always been terrified of high places. It was only during the first year of my studies (around 2009) where I learnt that my fear had a name. I suffered from a “Specific Phobia” known as Acrophobia–the all-encompassing fear of high places. It was also during this time that I learnt that my phobia was also a form of anxiety disorder.
So what exactly is anxiety? Well from personal experience, I can tell you that it’s a whole lot more than just feeling stressed. I mean, stress is certainly a part of it, but there is far more to it than just that. According to BeyondBlue, on average one in four people (one in three women and one in five men) will experience some form of anxiety and in a twelve month period, close to two million Australians will suffer it at some point during their lifetimes.
Another form of anxiety disorder that I also suffer from is known as Panic Disorder. This disorder is most often characterised by sudden, intense fear which manifests as panic attacks. Panic attacks may include; heart palpitations, feelings of dizziness and/or faintness, breathlessness or hyperventilation (over-breathing), chest pains, sweating, shaking or nausea. These symptoms often come out of the blue and while these symptoms are the body’s normal responses to danger, they are often out of proportion to the danger actually being faced and often seem to take on a life of their own.
This video gives a pretty good overview of what a panic attack is and treatment options for those, like me, who suffer from them.
While I myself am not ashamed of the fact that I have these mental health issues, many sufferers still are. The stigma surrounding mental health issues I feel is one of the biggest issues facing health professionals today and one that must be overcome before too many people die. It is my hope through writing this blog about my struggles with these issues, I can help people see that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that there is always help available.