Life had spiralled, everything seemed messy but I just figured that’s what happens sometimes. To control the thoughts whirring through my head, I was going out more often than normal, drinking more alcohol than normal, partying for longer than normal. Somewhere along that path, having fun with my friends had turned into a blur of miscellaneous thoughts the next day. Recollection of being a bit of an arsehole and countless questions as to why and ‘fuck, did I really do that last night?’ – even with these thoughts, I continued on. Drinking, partying, stumbling home, throwing up, hiccuping, room spinning, waking up with a huge sense of unease and an even bigger headache.
One ‘morning after the night before’ I was finding that dealing with these thoughts suddenly wasn’t so easy. My heart was racing, my chest felt like a gorilla was standing on it, my arm was tingling – I just figured it was a really awful hangover. I lay down on the sofa, thinking I’d just sleep it off. Every time I would drift off, the only way I can describe it is that I would feel like I was dying, dropping off the planet – jumping from a cliff edge. There it went, my mental stability – bye!
Granted, I panicked – obviously that did not help. I drove to A&E, told them what I was feeling and maybe dulled it down a little as “I LITERALLY FELT LIKE I WAS FUCKING DYING” was maybe not the best opener. The Doctor told me that I had low blood pressure and he put it down to the amount of alcohol consumed the night before. I felt so uncomfortable and dramatically judged. I walked out of A&E with my head hung and generally feeling like I had just wasted the time of an A&E Doctor.
That night, all of the same feelings remained but they were accompanied with horrifying thoughts and the only way I could get by was to move constantly. Whether it was rocking back and forth in the same place or wandering around and around my home. The fresh air helped but clothes made me feel trapped so I’d go outside wearing barely anything and shiver – regardless, I felt better than I did when I was inside. I’d leave the windows open in the harsh December air just so I could lie with no duvet on and shiver in the freezing cold to get to sleep.
I finally decided to get a Doctors appointment and almost immediately he told me it was an anxiety disorder. The thought that all of this physical pain had stemmed from a mental illness was so overwhelming to me. He gave me pills, I took them. I took a pill once a day every day whilst also seeking the help of a psychologist and attempted to get back to some kind of normality. My mental illness had affected my relationships, my career – I had disappeared and I had to figure out how to construct myself all over again. My personality was different, what I enjoyed doing was different and there were a hell of a lot of things that I now couldn’t do because I was just terrified. How had this happened overnight?!
I’m still taking pills, I’m still going to counselling, I’m still rebuilding my life from what I can only describe as the rock bottom of my brain. If I did it, so can you. Seek help – family, friends, therapy, medical professionals – there are even phone lines that are dedicated to helping people with mental illness. They are there for a reason, they are there for you.