Thanks so much for all of your lovely comments about my pics from Gull Lake- I'm glad you love the beauty of it as much as I do.
This week's post is really difficult to write because it's about something that has been a part of my entire life- whether I knew about it at the time, or not. When I first started this blog, I said I was always going to be completely honest here, even if only a few of your follow me on bloglovin. Although the thought of opening up to you is terrifying, I reckon it might make me feel better, so here goes.
A while ago, I found out that my mum had anxiety. Not that I knew what that meant, at the time.
Before I knew about this, I would sometimes see her sit down crying, wiping away her tears whenever I came into the room. I would ask, "Are you okay? Is there anything I can help with?" Hoping my little self could do something to help her and make her feel better. "I'm fine, sweetie," accompanied by a big hug was about as far as she could go, before bursting into tears again. She would tell me that 'Mommy's happy pills' made her feel better (anti-depression supplements), and that I would understand why she visited the doctors, when I was older.
It took me about 3 years to figure out what anxiety was. And another year until she told be about depression. I started reading novels about mental "issues" (Finding Audrey & Girl Online), as it intrigued me that these things happen to people- and that they have no control over when it will happen, or how bad it could be.
She started telling me about her depression story, and how it, amoungst many other things, moulded her into the strong woman she is today.
Nobody "gets" what a panic attack is. In fact, I'm pretty sure most people don't even know the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack, which is really sad. Being someone who is very close to my mum, I still struggle to understand exactly how it affects her, her life, and the decisions she's had to make because of it. I'm sure that even after hours of explaining, other people (including myself), will never fully understand. Until they've gone through a panic attack themselves, that is.
And it's different for everybody.
This is how she explains it:
"It depends on the reason... You feel short of breath, your heart racing, and there are butterflies in your stomach. You feel as if you are trapped, even helpless, with the urge to cry and scream, without really knowing why. You feel hot, like your body heat is rising, but yet you're shivering and freezing on the outside. I feel like for most people, it's the helplessness that get's to them, as they know what's going on, but are unable to do anything about it. It's like it's controlling you in a way you can't understand."
Panic attacks can last anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes, but this depends on the person (it could be longer). From my point of view, I know that they DON'T WANT TO FEEL THIS WAY. I'm sure that people don't want to feel trapped on the subway train, and that they don't want to cancel a plan with someone because their mind said, "Nope. Not today."
My mum is very good at hiding her feelings a lot of the time, but there are days where it will completely and utterly destroy her. But what she's going through doesn't only affect her, but affects me as well. Seeing her this way makes me feel sympathy for her, even though I know this happens, and that it's completely normal.
Over the years, I've learned how to handle anxiety in other people.
Not to prevent it, but work with the attach and the person, if that makes any sense.
I remember being in a scenario where a girl from my school was having an attach for the first time- she didn't know it was happening, but I could see it. She couldn't make words as she was crying too hard- not to mention there were 10 other girls circled around her.
This was the worst. case. scenario.
Since I've lived surrounded by the idea of anxiety, I knew for one that she was under pressure. I got everyone to leave, and stopped people from asking what was wrong, and telling her to relax (never say this, by the way). I gave her water, told her that everything was going to be okay, and just comforted her by being there and not saying too much.
What I did tell her was:
That she was strong, and that no matter how horrible she felt, things would get better. That I was proud of her, and that it's not the subject that made you feel this way, it's the thought. This is painful, but not dangerous, and that it would be over soon.
I really hope I managed to portray things from a different perspective, and that I made the point across that anxiety doesn't JUST affect the person- but the people around them as well.
That's all from me. I'd love to hear your experiences, if you suffer with anxiety, or if you know someone who does. Leave it in the comments below. It won't only help me to hear your side, but others who read this post as well. :)