#MentalHealthAwarnessWeek | My Journey So Far

If you have been reading my blog for a long time then you will know that I have suffered from mental health for a few years now. It's something that I am not ashamed of at all and something that I talk about openly. I suffer from anxiety which can be social anxiety or panic attacks. I thought that I would do a timeline of my mental health over the past few years. Sometimes all it takes is time. I must make it clear that I am in no way shape or form a mental health expert these are just my own thoughts and little ways that I deal with my own mental health. 

Before 2014
Growing up I didn't show any signs of having any mental health issues until around 2012. This was the time when I was starting my A-Levels which I found a lot harder than my GCSE's. I also had a lot going on in my personal life which made a huge impact on my mental health. It was from then on that I knew I was suffering from something but I wasn't quite sure what it was at the time. Back then mental health was just starting to be spoken about a lot more. 

This year was when my anxiety really kicked in and I started to realise that I would begin to overthink the simplest things. Things such as speaking to someone new & ordering something at a restaurant. They were the easiest things to do for others but for me, I hated the thought of doing them and would often get my friends to order things for me. 

2014 was also the year that I started therapy I was 17 which meant that I was eligible for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) through the NHS. CBT is when you talk to a therapist who helps you manage how you feel and think. They help you to change the way you think and behave. CBT is often used to treat anxiety and depression as well as other mental and physical health problems. At this time none of my friends or family members had any sort of mental health issues and not many people spoke about it online which made me think a lot of the time "Why me?". 

I would say 2015 was one of my worst years in terms of my mental health. I had a lot going on in both my college and personal life which made my anxiety a 10/10 most days. I started to find that my anxiety would spike whenever I had anything major going on in my life. It would appear for about 4 or 5 months and then it would ease off until something big happened again. 

I had one of my worst panic attacks in 2015 which meant that I had to swap shifts with someone at my work because I got onto a packed tube which is never a good idea when you are feeling that anxious. One thing I learned was that the tube is one of my biggest triggers when it is busy. Luckily London has many other transport options that I was able to use. 

In a way, I had to convince myself that it would be absolutely fine if I went on the same line again as this was the most direct route to my work. For a few of the journeys I began to feel just as sick and thought to myself "I can't do this" once you have that thought in your head it's hard to ignore it. I found out that an ice-cold water bottle is something I always needed to have. If I feel like I'm going to have a panic attack I usually hold it against my face to cool me down. 

During 2015 I also started to learn how to take care of myself after a panic attack. I would make sure that I did all of the things I loved like watching my favourite TV show or eating my favourite food. I also made sure to reduce the amount of stuff I was doing such as putting blogging and filming videos as my last priority until I felt myself again. 

I would say that 2016 was also another year where my anxiety was not good at all. Towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 I started to rate my anxiety on a daily basis. If I was feeling below a 5 then I knew I would be fine for the day but if I was above 5 I would make sure that I had things in my bag to make my mind at ease. Things such as a water bottle, chewing gum, taking deep breaths and using the Calm app. 

On days where my anxiety was sky high, I would try and reduce what I had planned on that day. I would also avoid the tube at all costs as I knew that it would make me feel even worse. Having a panic attack on the tube makes you feel so vulnerable and helpless as you can't really do anything until it passes. Of course, I get off the tube and sit on the platform but you still feel all alone even though you are surrounded by tons of people. 

In 2016 I had also finished my therapy which meant that it was down to me to work on my mental health unless I paid for private therapy sessions. I often forget that anxiety is a mental thing and that I can reduce it by telling myself that everything will be okay, you are not in any physical danger or there is no need to be anxious.

This was one of my best years so far when it came to my mental health. I can't remember having any major panic attacks. Of course, there were days where I felt really anxious but not as much as before. I had worked so hard on my mental health for the past 3 years which meant that I finally knew what triggered it and how I can reduce this. But most importantly how to deal with it when I do feel really anxious. 

2017 was a big year for mental health as it was widely spoken about. Even the London Marathon was renamed "The Mental Health Marathon" as that was the big focus for that year. I also spoke to a lot of other bloggers and YouTubers who suffered from mental health as well which really helped. When you know that you are not alone you feel a lot better instantly because others are going through what you are going through.

If someone had told me in 2014 that in 3 years time I would feel like myself again I don't think I would have believed them. The difference between my mental health in 2014 and in 2017 is incredible.

This year has been good so far there have been times where I have felt really anxious and I have had a few panic attacks on tubes which I know could always happen. However, in terms of my anxiety, I am in a really good place at the moment and I am having more good days than bad. I know that this can change at any moment which is why I'm taking my anxiety day by day. 

My biggest challenge this year is when I go away on holiday for a week. That is when I will really see how far my mental health has come. It could go either way really but I am positive that it will be okay and that I will have an amazing time in Hong Kong. 

Why I Wrote This Blog Post
I think it is so important to talk about your mental health. It doesn't matter if you have never had any mental health issues before it can happen to anyone. The slightest change in your life can affect your mental health. It's so important that we talk about it now more than ever. Mental health has become a huge thing from the pressures of everyday life but also the impact that social media has. 

A lot of people still don't understand what it is and how it affects people. There are so many different mental health issues such as depression, suicide, phobias, eating problems, Schizophrenia, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Personality disorders & Bipolar disorder. Anxiety is just one of many mental health problems that people face. Just because someone looks fine on the outside or they smile a lot does not mean that they are not suffering on the inside. If you are suffering then you are not alone as there are many people who are facing the same problems. There are so many people that are willing to help you with your mental health. 

If you have never suffered from mental health but you know people who do think about how you can help them. Sometimes the smallest thing like going around for a cup of tea can make a huge difference. If this blog post helps at least one person then it was worth it. I can really say that this is one of the most important blog posts that I have written so far and one of the most important ones I will probably ever write. 

I would love to know your thoughts on mental health. I'm always available to talk to anyone who just needs that someone to talk to. You can contact me through Instagram (asiajade04) or through Twitter (asiajade4).

"Mental Health Is Just As Important As Physical Health. Remember That." - Unknown

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