Hi lovely people.
I’d just like to say something quick before I need to start my study for the afternoon (I need to finally stop procrastinating!!)
On Thursday night of last week, my mind set completely switched. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know about it. I was having such an incredible week, there was literally no reason for me to break that night, but I did. It was so out of the blue and it gripped me so hard and so suddenly that I had to stop everything I was doing and just cried.
I did end up mustering the strength to look after myself very basically – feed myself, have a shower, wrap myself up in warmth, allowed myself to lay in bed. I was floating in and out of reality. All of a sudden, emotion would overcome me and I would lie there shaking and bawling my eyes out. That would last for a few seconds before the numbness overtook and I felt literally empty. I felt like I was losing my mind, losing all sense of who I was. This vicious cycle went on and on for God knows how long, until I finally sank into complete numbness, staring vacantly at nothing, feeling nothing in particular. The good thing about this complete absence of feeling meant my mind didn’t have the strength to conjure up any nasty thoughts, so I drifted off to sleep fairly quickly.
The next day, I woke up feeling a little better, though I could still feel the little monster wrapped around my leg, weighing me down. With 2 tests later that day, I chose to “push through” it. Got out of bed. Made myself smile. Hoping keeping active with both my mind and body would drive me out of this depressive episode. Sometimes, this is all you need – just a little boost and you’re good to go. And whilst I am proud of myself for getting out of bed… in the state I was in, this wasn’t the way to go. I needed to rest.
I found this out the hard way later on that morning. With each minute that passed, my mind set was rapidly deteriorating. Exhaustion gripped me – not from lack of sleep, from lack of motivation and feeling. My teacher in period 2 noticed and kept asking me if I was ok, after repeatedly pushing him away. Until I just snapped. I broke into tears.
My beautiful friends also noticed and did their best to comfort me. They encouraged me to go to the nurse, and one of them carted me away to go and see her, and – bless their souls – just in time too, because I was on the edge of a panic attack. I had pushed myself too far. I should have listened to my body and my mind’s warning signals. I ended up sitting on a bed in the nurse’s office, my face a mess as I started to cry uncontrollably. My whole body was trembling, I was hyperventilating, my head was spinning, my heart pounding. I was genuinely scared it would beat out of my chest.
My dad ended up having to come to pick me up. I felt so ashamed, sitting there in front of the nurse and my dad, unable to calm down. The nurse was so lovely though. She had witnessed one of my episodes before and stayed with me, helping me to gain my breath back. But, it didn’t stop the shame and guilt that swept me up. I think people tend to forget that although I am so open about my struggle, I am still ashamed of being so exposed and vulnerable to others.
As I said, I ended up having to go home. I missed my 2 tests, and a new wave of shame swept over me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t prepared for them; I was ready to sit them, knowledge-wise! It was my mental state that forced me to step down. I felt as though that maybe my anxiety was just an excuse for me to get out of things. I started to worry about what my teachers and peers thought of me. What if they thought I was just trying to have an unfair advantage over everyone else? Oh, poor Breanna, we should all pity her and exempt her from her classes whilst her peers have to do what she can’t.
And you know what the nurse told me? I hadn’t said any of these thoughts that overflowed from my mind. I was too distraught. But it was as if she read my mind. With my father’s hand on mine, I felt the warmth that traveled from her gaze on me, even though I couldn’t bring myself to meet her eyes. She said… “Breanna, we know you. We know that you would never suddenly just take time off if you didn’t absolutely need it. Because you’re a pusher. You push through things even when it’s detrimental to you. And even though that’s a beautiful trait to have, sometimes you need to just take your foot off the pedal a bit. It’s ok to rest. We all understand.”
This brings me to what I wanted to say today: sometimes, anxiety just has no reason. It can grip you so hard and suddenly, and there is just no explanation. There doesn’t always have to be a trigger.
But just know… it is never your fault. It is never an excuse. No, it’s not an excuse… it’s so much more than that. Anxiety is real and it’s valid. No one should ever feel guilty for this. No one should ever feel responsible. IT. IS. NOT. YOUR. FAULT.
For those on the receiving end, who witness someone who is in the same state that I was in on Friday, please direct any thoughts of them with compassion. We are so swept up in the stigma of mental health, the negative representation of mental illness, that some of us fail to understand anxiety just HAPPENS. It all happened so quickly for me on Friday. That morning I was smiling with my friends. Not even an hour later I had spiraled into a complete anxiety attack.
I apologise if this post is a little all over the place. My thoughts are a tad scattered. I am still a little stuck in the aftermath of my shaky experience from Friday. I just hope this brings across the message I wanted to deliver… that anxiety is not selective over when it presents itself.
I hope you are all well today. And if you aren’t, please reach out.
So much love to you all ❤