Saturday, 29 August 2015

Mental Illness Journey

I was inspired by Anna to write about my journey with mental illness, after reading her well written blog post about her depression, and where she is now. You can read her blog post here.

     I had some unfortunate events that happened to me as a child, that still have made an impact on me today. I'd rather not go too deep into them, but after the storm, I thought everything was okay. I didn't think anything would effect me long term.
     When I was 16 years old, I was home alone while my family was out shopping. I remember walking into my room and suddenly my throat closed up. I got very hot, and my mind was cluttered. I was shaking, my hands started getting numb, and I was hyperventilating. I remember being able to feel my fast heartbeat in my head. I look back on it now and think of how stupid it sounds, but I honestly thought I was about to die. I went into my bed, waiting for this feeling to stop. It was exhausting, so I fell asleep after an hour. When I woke up, I had that feeling multiple times that day. I talked to my mom about it, and we did some research. I decided to go to the doctors the following week. The week before I went to the doctors was the longest week of my life. I was nervous, all day, and I couldn't get any thoughts straight. I would get that horrible adrenaline feeling, and I would even experience physical illness. My doctor diagnosed me with general anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. In case you don't know, panic disorder is diagnosed when you have panic attacks coming out of nowhere. You may not have a trigger at all, you could be as calm as you can be, and a panic attack would come along. She prescribed me medication, and said that it was going to make me extremely drowsy. She told me to take a quarter of the medication before bed, because if I took a full one I could sleep through my alarm. That medication actually had no affect on me, I would take a full one during the day. My doctor prescribed me a stronger medication, and this is where things went horrible. This medication had horrible side effects on me. While it might be perfect for someone else, it just didn't mix with me. I started getting horrible urges and feelings. If you have anxiety or depression, you might know that those two things come hand in hand. I got severely depressed. I lost a lot of weight, I skipped so much school, I was too nervous to ever leave my house, I stopped eating, and worst of all, I lost the amazing relationship I had with my family because I hated life, and I took it out on them. I can't thank my dad, mom, and sister enough for putting up with the nightmare I was. I was also applying to be a graphic design student, which required a portfolio. This also was a lot of stress, I found myself crying while painting (sounds hilarious now). I managed to graduate high school with amazing marks, and get into my graphic design program. The summer before college, I met my boyfriend, Karl. I was never going to tell him of my panic, anxiety, and depression because I didn't want to scare him away. But because it's a huge part of my life, I felt I had to. That summer, I was anxiety free. I never felt so happy. Having Karl come into my life was such a positive change, that I was never anxious. I thought I was cured, and I was ecstatic. Karl got together with me not knowing much about anxiety, and he went above and beyond to help me. He researched more about the illness, he was patient with me, and he listened to what I had to say, now he's an expert on what to do when I have a panic attack. Thank you, Karl. You didn't have to do that for me but it means the world that you did.
Actual photo my cousin snapped of Karl hugging me while I was nervous!

    When I started school, things started to go downhill. I used to love art, but doing it for professors, until the deadline, and projects I didn't want to make, made something that was once a hobby, a nightmare. I went back to being anxious 24/7, and would have multiple panic attacks at school. I thought the best thing to do was to leave school. When I left school, I was stuck at a horrible job with a horrible manager, which made leaving my house hell. My very supportive dad said, if she is making your anxiety worst, then quit. So I did. I was also in therapy at the time, which was one of the best things I've done for anxiety. My therapist became a person I loved seeing every week, and she agreed that I had general anxiety disorder, depression, ocd, and panic disorder. The only reason I'm not in it now was because I missed a couple of appointments because of things going on, and I was too scared to call back (ironic, huh?). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was the best decision I have ever made, and I would definitely be going back to it. I learned so much about myself. This part of my life is where my depression was worst. I started abusing the medication I had to make me sleep all of the time, because I didn't want to be awake. I was nervous all the time, having multiple panic attacks. I had a huge hospital scare, and that was a huge wake up call, and I decided I needed to take control of my life. That was about a year and a half ago.
     I still have my ups and downs with anxiety. I might have one really bad week, but I don't dwell on it because I know that week isn't going to last forever. I also have my amazing support systems, my mom, dad, sister, and boyfriend who are so great and have come along way with understanding what I'm going through. 
     Right now, I'm on medication. I have developed my own little tips and tricks that help me when my anxiety is through the roof, and I have also learned from other people suffering. If I can say one thing, its that please don't keep quiet. My whole journey with anxiety, I thought I was meant to be embarrassed of it, and I suffered in silence. Opening up was the best thing I have ever done. It was terrifying, but the amazing feedback I have gotten have overwhelmed me with joy, and inspiration to write more. I was once at rock bottom, but I'm so glad I have never stopped fighting, because my life is amazing right now. I'm starting school again in September, and I'm ready to kick ass at it. I see a bright, successful future ahead of me, despite my anxiety.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Get to Know Me: 25 Questions Tag

Since I'm pretty new to this whole blogging thing, I thought it would be a good idea to write a bit about myself. I have got nothing but positive feedback on this blog so far, so I'm very inspired and excited to continue. I didn't know where to start about myself, so I decided to take the easy way out and just answer the 25 "about me" questions I've seen floating around blogger.

What is your middle name? Clara, named after my grandma.
What was favourite subject at school? Anything art related, communication technology is where I found my love for all things digital art, like graphic design, animation, film, etc.
What is your favourite drink? Alcoholic, pinot grigio, always. Non alcoholic, Dr. Pepper or green tea Arizona. I'm also a tea addict, and get headaches if I don't have a cup of English breakfast tea.
What is your favourite song at the moment? It is, and forever will be Video Games by Lana Del Rey.
What is your favourite food? Too many to list...nachos, bruschetta, butter chicken, poutine.
What is the last thing you bought? Probably food, but if we aren't counting that, I went on a huge clothing and product shopping spree recently.
Favourite book of all time? I love 1984,  The Great Gatsby, Game of Thrones, and I've always been obsessed with the Series of Unfortunate Events.
Favourite Colour? Grey, boring.
Do you have any pets? Not anymore, sadly.
Favourite Perfume? Viva la Juicy (basic, I know).
Favourite Holiday? (past) My visit to Ireland on my 17 birthday, or when my grandparents got my whole family a huge house in Florida. (Future) Would love to go to Germany.
Are you married? I'm only 20!
Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times? Too many to count. Ever since my first year alive, I've been to Ireland multiple times a year, most of my family lives there.
Do you speak any other language? There was a point in my life where I was learning German, my mom speaks it and we would sit in the car, listening to instruction CD's. I got pretty good, I don't know why I didn't keep up with it.
How many siblings do you have? One sister that is 15 months older, she also happens to be my best friend.
What is your favourite shop? Top Shop, ASOS, H&M.
Favourite restaurant? Sushi Time, downtown Toronto! Or Jack Astor's.
When was the last time you cried? Pretty recently, I lost a family member a couple of months ago, and I still get really upset thinking about it.
Favourite Blog? The Wonder Forest. An amazing graphic designer.
Favourite Movie? Kill Bill and Sucker Punch.
Favourite TV show? My boyfriend and I are really into Game of Thrones. I also like Desperate Housewives, Bates Motel, Doctor Who, and Modern Family.
PC or Mac? Mac for art/every day things, PC for gaming things.
What phone do you have? iPhone 5s, hopefully switching to Android soon.
How tall are you? 5'4-5'5...I think.
Can you cook? Yes! I'd like to think so.