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” Don’t Forget To Breathe!”

So I’ve been having panic attacks and anxiety for the past two years, which to many people that don’t have anxiety, it may not sound like a very long time, but to people who do have anxiety, they will know it feels like a LIFETIME.

I’m not going to bore you with every little detail of the past two years (mainly because I can’t remember all of them…), but what really had an impact on my anxiety levels was how people treated you once you explained why you couldn’t go and sit in a silent but crowded exam hall, or why you feel panicky walking down the street on your own. People who knew or dealt with anxiety themselves couldn’t be more supportive, there have been (many) times when my mom has just sat and held me while I’ve sobbed and wailed for however long. And it does help. Sometimes you really don’t have the energy to fight the anxiety and show it who’s boss, and you just want to curl up in bed with Netflix and food, and when someone tells you that it’s okay to do that every once in a while, it’s music to your ears. It doesn’t mean your weak, or you’ve let it beaten you. It just means that you’ve acknowledged it’s there, and you’re going to deal with it tomorrow, but for today, Brad Pitt is calling your name through the television screen (oh if only).

But people who don’t know or understand what anxiety is, can sometimes over or underestimate a situation, making it (A WHOLE LOT WORSE) a little difficult at times. But if you have no idea what anxiety really is or how it can affect people, PLEASE (and I mean this in the nicest way possible) do not tell us how and what to do. I even had one person tell me that I needed to ‘’just get over it’’ if I wanted to succeed with something I was finding difficult to overcome. Sure, just get over it. Why didn’t I think of that? Yeah, breathing through a panic, talking over it counselling really does help, and I highly recommend it for anybody who is struggling, but it isn’t just a case of doing a few weeks of stress-busting and it’s disappeared. It will be different for every person, and for some it may be a very rare occasion that they feel anxious, but for me personally, it’s there every day, even if it’s tiny and in the very back of my mind, it’s still there. And even though it scares me, I do my best to do one thing every day out of my comfort zone, even if it’s walking down to town or talking to somebody on the phone, to stop the anxiety getting too big for its boots.

Yes, there are days when I curl up in a ball under my blanket and have a little cry, and let the anxiety wash over me, but I refuse to let this take over my life, I may have to find other ways of doing things, but you can be sure that I will be doing it, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes. I’m not ashamed to say I have anxiety and neither should you, it does not define who you are, it’s just another part of life making us learn to be that little bit stronger and tougher.

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