As part of Mental Health Awareness we received the following article from Ross Tate. We at SickeningGlasgow were lucky enough to meet Ross at New Year and he happens to be the nicest, most genuine person we have met in a long time. Here Ross shares his story of coping with anxiety.
Anxiety has been my enemy since having my first panic attack five years ago. I had been a student at Glasgow and was doing some late night studying when out of nowhere I felt terrified and completely frozen in my seat looking at the screen and seeing nothing but letters. I watched the clock as time passed for over forty minutes and I couldn’t move. When I finally felt I was able to leave my chair I walked home and cried along the way. It became the beginning of a difficult time. Being a very outgoing and confident person, having a panic attack was a set back of mammoth proportion. The following years saw me get my first full time job, my first flat and get married but also were years filled with bouts of severe anxiety.
Before I suffered from anxiety I will be really honest and admit i did not understand what it was, what the impact was and frankly, didn’t really believe it was a real illness. I perceived it as a bit of a self indulgent, first world problem. So when people misunderstand my anxiety, I try not get angry, I try to explain what I am feeling and hope they never have to feel it.
Anxiety is different for all people, but for me, it’s the feeling the world is coming to an end. My heart races so fast and so hard I worry it will stop, my breathe becomes short, I feel dizzy, a knot forms in my stomach and my head becomes filled with sheer terror of something terrible about to happen. I shouted, I screamed, I cried, I began to act erratic and became a huge problem to those around me. Anxiety began to cripple my sleep, my job and my relationship. I was becoming volatile and making poor decisions trying to find happiness and avoid anxiety which was simply ruining my every day. I was devastated that I was losing control over my own life to something I could not even see.
A year and half ago I made a GP appointment. When asked what I wanted the appointment for I lied as I was simply too embarrassed to be another one of ‘those people.’ I was met by a locum who I have never seen since which is a shame as she had such a positive impact on my life. She listened to what was going on and offered me different routes. She talked me through anti-depressants and having seen the impact on my Dad’s behaviour growing up I automatically rejected it as unsuited for me and instead settled on propanol, which is essentially a beta blocker. Tiny round white pills which looked so insignificant had the effect of getting me back on my feet. I started off by addicting myself to them taking the maximum number each day and then some which inevitably lead to a fairly epic crash involving booze which i’ve written off as a lesson learned. Then I tried to give them up completely which only brought back my anxiety worse than it was before I started them.
I now know what works for me to have a healthy mind. I eat healthy, I try exercise a minimum 3 times a week, keep booze intake down and keep propanol nearby in the event my enemy visits.
I’m not cured, i’ll never be cured but i’m really lucky because I had courage, I spoke to my GP, I spoke to my partner, I spoke to my boss, I spoke to my friends, I even spoke to total strangers of what was going on with me. I have my confidence back and whilst I expect the sensation of the world ending to hit me, I also expect to know what to do and stay on my feet.
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