This was all I ever heard. Because we don’t talk about it, we think we’re alone. It was such a massive relief when my sister asked me if I wanted to seek help, as this was the first time someone had suggested to me that it was okay to get help.
I remember waking up, devastated to realize that the thoughts and feelings were still there. One day at uni I ran out of a lecture in tears, terrified that someone would notice. I was hit by a wave of intrusive thoughts and feelings of panic. I was so fed up that this anxiety kept coming back. Having struggled with this for over a year, I honestly thought I would never feel “normal” again. I just wish I could talk to my 19 year-old self, and tell him that with the right support, he could be feeling as good as I do today – that would’ve changed so much. Although my anxiety still comes up, I am learning what works for me, and how to stay well.
At the time I didn’t realize there was a headspace centre less than a kilometre down the road. It was so hard trying to find the right help, even with both my parents support. No one ever told me that headspace could help – It took my parents and I months to find someone who could support me.
As soon as I sought help, I suddenly realized that my anxiety was very treatable and that I wasn’t alone. Many of my closest mates were struggling with similar issues, but we all thought we were “the only one” as no one spoke about it: there is so much power in simply challenging the stigma, and having the conversation.
I feel there’s this engrained social idea in our culture that speaking about our mental health issues is a sign of weakness. We need to help change this culture by reminding our mates that although speaking up is hard, it is really a sign of massive courage. I worried that my friends and family would see me as weak, ‘soft’, and think less of me. As soon as I spoke up, things have been getting better every day.
Thanks for reading,
Published 17 October 2016