After some amazing feedback from my last couple of blog posts via my website I was asked by a close friend to give people a snap shot of something that I have been fighting for over 5yrs now. Something that is extremely common, yet not very well understood in our community. Anxiety.
From the outside looking in everything seems peachy in my life. After a great chat, my close friend asked me: “how does someone like you suffer with anxiety and depression? You always seem bubbly and you seem to have a great life. You’re a musician, life’s good yeah?” To be honest I struggled to give her and direct answer at first. I guess my anxiety built up over time, and only within the last year have I really started to get on top of it. But it’s been hard. I have had to completely trust my family and friends with some hard truths, things I thought I could never say or explain.
I guess the reason why I wanted to write about this was to hopefully make people feel more comfortable to come out and talk about their own demons that they might be struggling with, things that are bogging them down; just like I did. Talking to people I trust has helped me considerably.
If you’re someone who does not suffer from anxiety or mental illness, maybe try asking your close friends how they are doing, because the hardest thing is talking about your issues. So many of us bottle them in and don’t express ourselves enough. We live with this dark cloud of emotion sitting in our mind and it makes us sick…. I have lost some great friends to depression, and I know others who have lost loved ones too. The one thing I always asked myself after it was too late was “why didn’t I ask if everything was OK, or if I could’ve helped in anyway”, and “how didn’t I pick this?” these questions plague you forever.
I remember the day my anxiety started. It hit me so hard I thought I was going to die. I was walking through a shopping centre and this feeling I can’t explain exactly just hit me, like a wave… my heart rate increased and I was struggling to catch my breath. I was extremely scared.
The first anxiety attack I had was intense, but didn’t last too long. Once the feeling finally went away I didn’t know how to explain it to any of my friends, and I felt like I should ignore it. I bottled it up because I didn’t know how to “drop my guard” and show emotion to my family and friends. I thought they might think I was a little bit weird or soft, or something. Five years later and I still suffer mild anxiety, but I am on medication now to help prevent the attacks. I have found that the biggest help for me though this challenging part of my life is the people around me asking if I am OK, or if they can help in any way, being able to actually trust them with my feelings and drop my guard.
For me this blog post is actually really hard to write. I feel like I am letting you into a very vulnerable part of my soul, but too many of us tend to keep quiet about these demons and try to battle them alone. We bottle everything up, hold onto it and try to fight it ourselves. But lets face it, it’s so much easier when we have our loved ones there to help us get through it.
For me my guitar and my love for writing music has been my saviour my whole life. Music has been my outlet, my escape, and at times the only way I’ve felt I could communicate my demons to everyone without being judged or laughed at. My closest friend…
So next time your sitting next to a stranger, how about you take a second to think about what they might be struggling with. Give them a smile. That small token of kindness could help change their day, who knows, it can’t hurt and everyone loves a smile, they feel good!!