Background

I've called this 'Background' because it's my background of what I've been through to where I am now and I will be updating this daily on my path to dealing with GAD.

Ever since I can remember I have always suffered with anxiety more than anyone I know, but it has always been manageable and I've been able to hide it. I'm unsure of what was that trigger or cause of my anxiety was or if there was any and it is just part of my personality. For so long I've been in and out of doctors surgeries and the odd visit to the hospital trying to find what the problem was, because deep down in me I knew something wasn't right with me, every time I would go they would just blow me off and give me some form of medication and not have been any help what so ever. I've been wrongly diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome multiple times even after telling them that wasn't the problem, also having an Overactive Bladder, I've been given anxiety medication which doesn't help, it just creates more problems and I've also been prescribed Antidepressants which I would not recommend to anyone dealing with stress and anxiety.

Now up until about 8 months ago this was always a manageable part of my life and I'd accepted it as part of who I am and then 4 months ago things started to get difficult. I experienced my first Panic Attack whilst at university on a night out in February 8 months ago, I had no idea it was a Panic Attack at the time and it scared the life out of me. I was in a club and this low mood came over me almost making me feel depressed with bad thoughts filling my head, I started to sweat more than usual and become very agitated, with all the negative thoughts and the loud music I became very claustrophobic and had to leave but didn't tell anyone why. I decided to walk home to clear my mind but I was unable to, these thoughts had taken over and no matter how positive I thought nothing was happening, I made it back to my accommodation in the same state I left the club and alone in my kitchen all I wanted to do was cry but the tears wouldn't come, I was basically sobbing without the tears and scared of what was going on, by this point I'd gotten my self more and more worked up and my body was telling me I needed the toilet desperately and that I needed to be sick and neither was happening. Here I was sat on the toilet thinking I was about to be sick any second with my stomach in pain and all these negative thoughts in my head and this is when I became suicidal, thoughts were crossing my mind of how I could kill myself and end all of this suffering I was going through, how could I get the roof? could I get hold of a gun? what was the sharpest knife I had in the kitchen? what pills did I have to OD on? This was possibly one of the scariest moments of my life and I felt so alone and had no idea what was going on and no one to turn to. After a little while it started to subside and I decided to sleep the rest of it off.

After that experience I told my self I could never go through that again. The only person I spoke to about this experience was my mum and she has been my support all the way through this and maybe not always understanding but willing to understand and be there for me. I decided I needed help and I had been passed on this Talking Mental Health leaflet and you had to go online and print off a self referral form and send it off or it can be done online. Click here for the Derbyshire referral form. I had the form for several weeks and didn't want to send it off, as much as I wanted the help I was scared to do so, it was almost to me accepting that something was actually wrong with me so I kept putting it off. It took me a while to get everything sorted due to having to change surgeries back to Derby from Sheffield but before long I had my assessment at the hospital. I found this very comfortable, I'm not saying it will be for everyone but I find it better to get stuff off my chest and being able to get stuff off my chest and receive help without someone passing judgement was great for me. It was only about an hour long and you work through a sheet where you are asked questions to determine what help they can give to you. I was very modest with what I was dealing with and there was certain stuff I didn't say because I didn't see it as a problem at the time and there has been stuff that has arose since then. After completing the assessment, I must say it is very informal as well just a conversation if anything, the women decided I needed Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and I was put on a 7 week group CBT class.

Up until my CBT things became very difficult for me, I almost wasn't able to live my life. I found it very hard to get through day to day life because of my anxiety and I still am now. I was having a lot of time off work because I couldn't mentally and occasionally physically as well couldn't be there. It's put a lot of my relationships to the test and I find it very difficult to form new relationships during this time and I feel as though I've pushed a lot of people away. I'm currently off work on sick leave because I'm emotionally and mentally exhausted and was close to having a break down.

The CBT has been very effective so far, I'm currently 4 weeks in and it has taught me all about anxiety, what is it? why we have it? and how to deal with it through breathing techniques, mindfulness and relaxation techniques. But it was only on the 4th session, now this is 8 months on from the first time I really thought something was wrong with me, that I actually got a name for it. I have a Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It was such a relief to finally know what was wrong with me and I could finally do my own research and take steps towards helping it myself outside of what the therapy helps with and there are things to do to help it. The group therapy started off with about 10 people and now as the weeks have gone on were down to only 4 and I used this opportunity to open up with what's going on with me and from doing that Tony (my therapist) was able to tell me what was wrong with me and he can now help me a lot better and although the CBT is very good he wants to refer me to one on one counselling/therapy.

I've come a very long way from where I once was to where I am now and I've still got a long way to go but you've always got to remember that you won't be like this forever and there are people out there who can help you and want to help you. It was astonishing to me that after 19 years of my life I'd never heard of a Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and that goes for all mental illnesses, for some reason people over look them and don't take people serious with them and that's something I want to change.