I’ve completed lots of Q&As before but I’ve never done one that solely focuses on my mental health and so I thought I would give it a go. I hope I answered all of your questions – if not ask me in the comments at the end!
Do you have any rituals or objects that you rely on in a panic?
I wouldn’t say that I have any particular rituals or objects that I rely on during a panic. However, I do tend to ensure I keep a selection of medication on me incase I begin to feel unwell. This medication is usually comprised of; painkillers, Imodium, indigestion tablets and some mints. If I don’t have these things on me I can tend to get a little anxious in case I begin to feel unwell and don’t have anything on me to help.
Logically, I know I could quite easily find a shop and buy some, however having the items already is almost like a safety blanket. I can take the tablets and not have to try and get myself through the process of finding them somewhere and purchasing them. Sometimes when I’m anxious I find it difficult to get my words out and so the idea of having to interact with someone to purchase something would only add to my anxious state.
I guess the short answer to this question is that I keep certain objects on my person to prevent my anxiety from becoming too bad. At the moment this is something that I’m happy to allow myself to rely on as I know there are bigger problems to tackle first.
Who is your safe person?
From reading other people’s blogs, etc… I’ve come to realise that I’m not so different from everyone else – we all have that one person that can keep us calm. My boyfriend is my ‘safe person’. He’s seen me at my worst and knows what to expect and so I don’t have to try and hide how I’m feeling in fear of making him feel awkward. Because of this I feel the calmest with him.
With other people I feel as though I somewhat have to shield them from my anxious state because they won’t know how to cope with it.
Does anyone else feel like this?
What advice would you give to someone suffering with their mental health?
The best advice I can give anyone is to speak to someone. Once you start learning to talk about your mental health you’re already on the road to recovery. If I’m feeling a little bit fragile one day I’ll talk to my boyfriend about it and I often end up realising that how I’m feeling is not unusual and I can cope with it. Mental health isn’t something we have to fight alone – don’t be afraid to tell other people how you’re feeling.
Another piece of advice that I would give someone is don’t compare your recovery to anyone else’s. Our struggles with mental health are all very different and so our roads to recovery will be equally as varied.
What misconceptions have you come across?
There are so many misconceptions surrounding mental health that it’s difficult to know where to begin and so I’m going to stick with two that are quite personal to my experience. I’d love to hear the most common misconception that you’ve come across – let me know in the comments.
Struggling with Emetophobia is really difficult as very few people truly understand it. I know to most people getting a stomach bug is how I feel about catching a cold – it’s annoying but just something that happens in life. However, to me catching a stomach bug would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. I think people often assume I’m being overly dramatic and they say oh once you’ve been sick you’ll realise that there’s nothing wrong with it. Unfortunately, they’re the ones that are wrong. I wish people would just listen to what I have to say about suffering from Emetophobia and just accept that that’s how it affects me rather than them telling me how I feel.
Some days depression rears its ugly head again and I find it difficult to complete even the most mundane tasks. On these days people see me as being lazy. They don’t see the internal fight that I have going on that’s taking every inch of my energy.
How do you get through a difficult period?
When experiencing a difficult period with my mental health I tend to retreat into myself and just hope that the days pass by quickly. There’s no easy fix for when things get difficult, from my experience it’s about safe guarding yourself and getting yourself through it.
As I begin to feel a little bit better I like to go through my photos and look back at all the happier times and remind myself that they will happen again. I’m lucky in the sense that despite my mental health I do have a lot to look forward to, I’m only at the start of my life and I have high hopes things will get better. Perhaps in 20 years time I might feel differently but for now I just keep reminding myself that things will improve and I won’t feel this way forever.
What do you wish people knew about mental health?
I think it’s too much to ask that everyone understands mental health. We all know that if you haven’t experienced something yourself then it can be difficult to truly understand it. All I ask is that people accept that it’s real and many people struggle with it.
You might not understand it but just accept that what people tell you about their experiences is true. Build an understanding based on an attempt to educate yourself and read about people’s stories – the whole mental health community will be grateful for your attempts to understand. Remember you don’t have to fully understand something to respect it.
How do you cope with a panic attack?
There are different levels of a panic attack. When I’m at my worst I just want to be left alone. I then try to concentrate on my breathing and embrace how I’m feeling – there’s no point fighting it as it will only prolong the experience. Once I begin to feel myself relax a little I move on to trying to distract myself.
Distracting yourself is a very personal thing as it depends what you enjoy doing. Sometimes I will watch something or if it’s late at night my boyfriend and I play cards. Playing a game forces you to focus on something outside of your body and therefore distances you from the panic that you were feeling.
I’d love to hear what you do in the middle of a panic attack – let me know in the comments.
If there’s any questions that you’d like to ask me then drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!