Anxiety & Me | Mental Health Awareness Week

I remember her standing in-front of me. She wasn't looking at me though.. she was looking through me. I stared at her and realised what I was doing to her. She was worn out. Physically and sadly emotionally.

2012 was a very memorable year for me. It took me along a path I never thought I would go down. I can only describe it as falling down a very deep hole and every time you scream for help no sound comes out. I was drenched in anxiety, I constantly felt on edge and always felt suffocated. The problem with dealing with matters like this is when you're in the thick of it you lack the ability to be objective. It is only now that I think about who I became that I literally am taken back in shock.

The Mind Is A Battlefield.

To cut a very long story short, I had Vitamin D Deficiency but the doctors didn't detect it early enough. I was having all these physical symptoms, from experiencing something called 'brain fog', to aching legs, chronic fatigue and palpitations and the doctors kept telling me it is all in my head. I battled with myself as I knew what I was going through was VERY real. After months of back and fourth hospital trips and doctors saying it was all in my head, I found myself in a very dark place. I was not only physically sick but I felt like I was losing my mind... I would sit on the edge of my bed 'googling' my symptoms but then the echo of the doctors saying 'Its all in your head' would ring....

I withdrew. I became hostile. I was tired. It wasn't in my head but then again it was..... does that make sense..
The doctor prescribed me anti-depressants. I remember collecting them from the pharmacist and sitting in my car crying. I just didn't understand how I had got to this place in the space of 6 months.

I never took the pills.... I kept them in a draw. Something inside me told me not to.

One day I went into A&E because I felt like I was about to die (which at that stage was a very normal thing for me). I didn't recognise panic attacks for what they were during that time. I always thought I was about to die. They ran all the tests and asked me to wait in a side room. My sister was with me, she was always with me. She would come sit, watch them take my bloods and then listen to them tell me for the millionth time that I was fine.
This time the doctor said 'Ask your GP to check you Vitamin D levels'. My angel in the form of a doctor.

The following day I book an appointment. My GP was fed up of me at this point. He told me 'Your symptoms aren't consistent, have you been taking the meds we prescribed (anti-depressants)'....his tone was so cold and harsh... I ignored him. I was numb anyway. I asked him to send me for bloods again and to check my Vit D levels...

Around a week later I receive a call to come in.. 'Priscilla you have Vitamin D Deficiency and its so low that it's almost undetectable'. I am prescribed supplements. It was over. The pain, the agony, the doubt and worry was to be gone..... so I thought.

This was the beginning of the pain. I was on a high dosage of supplements for 3 months to help correct the imbalance. However despite finding the problem, my brain was still in this weird cycle... I was still on edge, my panic attacks were worse, I still felt like I was going to die and I was still googling, I stopped seeing my friends, I wasn't at work. I was broken. In my mind I thought there was still something real wrong. I believed I was going to die.
I stopped driving. I never wanted to be alone. I never wanted to hear about sick people or death. I even went as far as moving rooms because I thought my actual bedroom was making me ill. I stopped talking to my family. I always went to the hospital. I thought I had cancer. I diagnosed myself with MS. I even went for an MRI scan after convincing the doctors something in my brain was broken. Work became a once in a while thing. I lost grip. I went far into that hole...

Hydrochrondia:  Hydrochrondria is when you spend so much time worrying you're ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to take over your life.
You may have health anxiety if you:
  • constantly worry about your health
  • frequently check your body for signs of illness, such as lumps, tingling or pain
  • are always asking people for reassurance that you're not ill
  • worry that your doctor or medical tests may have missed something
  • obsessively look at health information on the internet or in the media
  • avoid anything to do with serious illness, such as medical TV programmes
  • act as if you were ill (for example, avoiding physical activities)
Anxiety itself can cause symptoms like headaches or a racing heartbeat, and you may mistake these for signs of illness. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/health-anxiety/)


I am typing this and I have tears in my eyes, because that pain, that confusion and that feeling of being lost... triggered by something people could deem to be so minor, messed up my whole life.

I became a shadow to myself and this vibrant, young, energetic woman became a distant memory.

The opening paragraph to this piece was me describing my sister. She along with my nearest and dearest suffered too. That was the first day I recognised I couldn't carry on like this anymore.

Our mind is so precious and it is amazing how thin the line is between being on the surface and being in the hole.

It is Mental Health Awareness Week, a time dedicated to talking about that hole, that dark lonely sunken place. You feel yourself slipping from your own body and become a stranger to those around.. and for some its a very slow burner. You act like you're fine with the 10% of power you have left and once you get a minute alone you're face to face with your demon.

I want to use this time to say I know how lonely you feel and its not an overnight fix. For me the first step was acceptance of what I had become and then being willing to fight to save myself from myself.

I wouldn't say matters of mental health have a 'one size fits all' fix however taking a step towards the light is essential.... Healing is essential.

You can. You will. It starts with your mind.

Talk to someone.

Priscilla Oshunremi


Do you need urgent help?

If your mental or emotional state quickly gets worse, or you're worried about someone you know - help is available.
You're not alone; talk to someone you trust. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.


Image: https://www.stuffmomnevertoldyou.com/podcasts/mental-health-black-communities.htm

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