A little statistic for you…..
Currently over 15 million people in the UK alone are living with one or more long term condition and more that 4 million of these people just so happen to also have mental health issues.
Now if you would have told me 6 years ago before my diagnosis that I would be struggling with not only my physical health but also my mental health, I would have probably told you that you were insane and that there is no way I could be unfortunate enough to have both. Of course I would have been very wrong because here I trying to control a very aggressive Arthritis and attempting to keep my anxiety and depression at bay.
It’s easier said than done and I am only human. I have days where I feel like the whole world is against me and I can’t handle all the pain. Then I have my days where I feel confident and bubbly. They come and go as they please and I have my own ways to handle those days when they come.
My first panic attack and how I handle them now
I first realised that something wasn’t quite right with my mental health when one day 4 years ago, I had my very first panic attack. At the time I was petrified and I thought I was having a heart attack. I had no clue what a panic attack was and why I was having one. I remember calling a friend nearby and telling her that I couldn’t breathe, next thing I know, I’m being wheeled off in a wheelchair and being told to take deep breaths.
Now I’ve almost learnt how to keep a panic attack from happening. I personally like to count to 10 in my head and then count backwards; I do it as many times it takes for me to calm down. Sometimes this works and other times I just have to ride out the panic attack and afterwards I always take 10 minutes to myself to regroup my thoughts and just breathe.
My discovery to depression
Struggling with physical pain for years, I thought it was normal for someone like me to cry and almost distance myself as much as I did. It wasn’t until I was at my all-time low last year, that I decided that I shouldn’t have felt the way I was, I shouldn’t have felt like everyone would be better off without me around. The pain throughout my whole body had become unbearable and I didn’t know how much I could handle.
It was then that I decided to see my local GP and after a 10 minute conversation with her, she diagnosed me with depression. In that moment every feeling I had felt had suddenly made sense. I would always tell myself to snap out of it and that I was just feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t know that a chronic condition like mine could lead to mental health issues. It is hard to have a physical disability and when you throw a mental health issue into the mix, you can often end up feeling lost and struggling to find a balance between the two.
People with mental health issues are the strongest people of all, even if they don’t feel that way. It takes a lot to get out of bed every day and put a smile on when all you feel like doing is hiding away and crying.