"I realised somebody needed to intervene in my downward spiral "

"i let myself drift away from friends and family. I had extremely toxic coping mechanisms"

for over 10 years i have lived with severe anxiety and high functioning depression for which i take propranolol and sertraline. my days are up and down. sometimes i am too drained and exhausted to do anything, others i am okay, i have had days where i can't leave the house because i have had several consecutive panic attacks, and i have had days where i have organised social gatherings and been the life of the party. Initially I was too ashamed and too down to ask for any help, and i let myself drift away from friends and family. I had extremely toxic coping mechanisms, from self harm and food restrictive dieting, to isolation and distancing. I spoke to and about myself so horribly, and was constantly putting myself down. i wasn't really living and a lot of days i didn't want to.

One night i ended up in an ambulance taking a close friend to hospital after she tried to kill herself. this shook me to my core. i realised somebody needed to intervene in my downward spiral, and i realised that that person was me. i booked into the GP, I contacted close friends, and organised a meeting at university. i accepted the prescriptions, and signed up for cognitive behavioural therapy, i also opened up to my amazing personal tutor at uni, who immediately offered support and also explained to me the pec form procedure for deadline extensions.

"my biggest learning points included the importance of being open and honest with friends,"

My cbt training taught me great ways of managing the effects of my anxiety and depression, by helping me understand my personal triggers, helped me alter my thought process, and offered me ways of managing my issues through grounding and breathing techniques among others. one simple thing i have always remembered was, in an anxiety provoking situation, don't ask "what is the worst thing that can happen" because if you tend to catastrophise situations, then you can think of a thousand things that could go wrong. instead, ask yourself 'what is the best thing that can happen?" aside from that, my biggest learning points included the importance of being open and honest with friends, knowing your limits and when to say no, accepting that getting deadline extensions at uni was not the end of the world and it didn't make you any less of a person, and that it really is okay to not always be okay. there are people that can help and people who care.

Opinion On Medication: Medication for mental health is right for some people, and not for others. it's really down to the individual. your GP will always advise you and help you to choose the best course of action. i did suffer with some minor side effects including nausea, but my body adjusted. mainly i think the stigma surrounding using medication for mental health needs addressing and challenging. if it helps you, then i am absolutely in support of medication for these issues.

Opinions on Therapy: I went to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and it really helped me see the world from a different perspective. However, CBT really is only helpful if you at a point where you want to recover, and you are willing to put in the time and effort to give it a try. It is a nerve wracking process opening up to a stranger sometimes, but know that they never judge you. Also, if a face to face meeting is putting you off, you can organise telephone, email, or skype chat therapy sessions now, which makes it less daunting. i used skype chat (no video/audio) for mine, and i really did see a difference. Sometimes a mix of therapy and medication is a good option.