CW: OCD, Anxiety, Depression, Self Injury.
Most people who know me know that I'm fairly highly strung, a bit of a perfectionist, a bit obsessive and perhaps a little too self critical. These things are ok in moderation, often driving me to study conscientiously and juggle 100 things at once but when you become too anxious to leave your room, see your friends, still haven't been to sleep at 4 am, spend 3 hours exercising a day, start crying in woolworths or ruin your exams with yet another panic attack you realise that perhaps this is not so normal and even though you're technically 'functioning' you don't need to live this way.
I have struggled with anxiety and OCD for what I now realise has been much of my life but more severely recently and the last few years the depression has set in as a consequence of this. I won't go into specifics but before I got some much needed help I almost didn't realise how much I was struggling and how much it ruled my life. I think I felt like maybe this was how everyone felt and that this was just normal, because it was my normal. I just internalised my struggles, bottled it up and didn't let anyone in or express how I was feeling.
It took me a few years about thinking about speaking to someone to finally doing it. I am writing this because I wish that I had done it sooner and not let myself get to the point I have been recently. Maybe this was inevitable but I really just want to let you know that even if you think its not that bad, or that others have it worse or that you don't deserve help until you reach crisis point, please understand that you do, and the sooner you are supported, the better.
The first time I saw someone, they asked so many questions, I gave vague and rough answers. It was weird. I wasn't used to it. I never tell anyone anything. But after 4 months of this, I'm getting better at talking. A handful of my friends know that I'm not 100% at the moment. I am getting better at talking to my psychologist and not hiding things (okay confession: maybe not totally but I'm working on it!)
I didn't think that it would help, that it wouldn't be for me but the few moments of insane courage that I had as I made that phone call for an appointment were totally worth it. I've been taken seriously, listened to and I don't feel like so much of a freak anymore. I'm working to stop being my own worst enemy.
So please, reach out to a doctor, a friend, or an online counsellor if you're feeling anxious, down, stressed or lonely it will be worth the nerves and the courage it takes to make an appointment, a phone call or to say something to someone. If you cant get the words out, write it down and hand it to someone (its not as weird as it sounds I promise, I've now done it many a time).
For information, Kati Morton is a great place to start and an absolute saviour. Her YouTube channel is so genuine and informative and a great tool for anyone going though a tough time or in need of some information. Her videos have definitely had a positive impact on me and her other 150,000 subscribers, making everyone feel a little less alone. She's a licensed therapist from California and puts up videos twice a week and often answers peoples questions in her livestreams. Go to www.youtube.com/user/KatiMorton .
In Australia, Headpsace is a great service for anyone 12 - 25 - it is youth friendly and very accessible. The clinicians are all very kind and genuine and always listen. This service has honestly been a lifesaver for me and I am so glad I eventually paid a visit. Although this seems like it may be a long process, I'm happy I've started it. For more information go to www.headpsace.org.au or to speak to someone via online chat (this is a fantastic service but can get a little busy!) go to www.eheadspace.org.au.
Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000. If you live outside Australia, link to worldwide crisis numbers can be found in the sidebar.