Everyone fights their mental health battles in their own way || Beauty Talks With Meg

Credit: Emily Coxhead (illustrator, designer & writer)
In the autumn of 2015, my friends took me to my local Subway as I’d been having a particularly bad day. I could feel something rising in my stomach, but not knowing what, I merrily went along in an effort to cheer myself up and “snap out of it”.

Taking the first sip of my ice-cold Coke, I felt fine. Then I didn’t. I shouted out in a sudden panic that rose from nowhere. And so began my first ever panic attack. My whole body was numb, my pulse racing, my head felt fuzzy and confused….I thought I was going to die. It took me ten minutes and a whole bottle of water to calm down and get back down to earth.

Since then, I’ve had a few panic attacks over the years, which vary in size and intensity. Alongside these panic attacks came waves of anxiety. Although it has been so up and down over the years (and a very emotionally abusive relationship didn’t help things), my anxiety isn’t at the point where I feel the need to be on medication, and it doesn’t affect me to the point that I can’t function long term, like it unfortunately does for others. If it were to reach this point however, I would definitely seek medical help. In this present moment, I am doing okay. I am the happiest and most comfortable with myself I’ve ever been, even if anxiety hits me like a tonne of bricks from time to time.

Credit: Beauty Talks With Meg (it's a picture of me!)
Saying all of this and not having a diagnosis doesn’t mean that anxiety doesn’t affect me. Sometimes I’ve had to call up sick from work because I’ve been worrying about my health, or triple check with my boyfriend that it’s definitely okay we go to the cinema because we really don’t have to, even though he’s said yes every time I’ve asked. Sometimes I’ve snapped at loved ones because I’ve been worrying so much about a situation that I get frustrated if they don’t worry along with me. I’ve burst into tears for no reason in the middle of changing the bedsheets (who wouldn’t really! What a chore!) and needed my mum and boyfriend to change them around me whilst I cried.

I’ve seen many people tweet or voice their view that without a diagnosis, it’s wrong to say you have anxiety, but I simply don’t know how else to explain these symptoms. Anxiety does creep up on me at the most unexpected of times, and I wish I didn’t have these feelings of worry and overthinking. But everyone fights their battles in their own way, and for now, I just have to employ self-help tactics. I constantly battle with the thought of therapy, but with long waiting lists and the high costs of going private, I just stick to talking it all out with those closest to me.

Now you’ve heard enough about me, so I’d like to end on this: everyone fights their mental health battles in their own way. There should be no discrimination within the mental health community. There is already enough conflict in the world without an internal battle. Whether you see a therapist, take medication, have had your first appointment with a mental health professional, or you simply can’t get a diagnosis…we are all in this together and there is no right or wrong way to deal with your mental health. No one has it “worse” or has it “better”; our mental health is personal to us and the more support the better.

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