I have never been to a doctor/therapist/counsellor so I am not claiming that I am indefinitely a sufferer of any illnesses mentioned although I am going to say having done my research it is clear I suffered and still to this day suffer with certain symptoms of the following. Anxiety - I'm an extremely anxious person. I naturally overthink and pick at situations to the point of it becoming a much bigger problem than it actually is. Simple tasks can be made into such a huge fiasco. For example; leaving to get the bus - 'will I make it on time? Should I leave 10 minutes before it's due or is that not enough time, what if it's early but then again what if it's late and I'm sat waiting for 20 minutes? Then I'll be late for ____' and then cue the massive panic often leading to an increased heart rate, sweaty palms and feeling sick then running for the bus and regretting it because I have to wait almost 15 minutes for one to turn up. Honestly you'd think that aged 20, after travelling by bus for just under half of my life, I'd be able to time a bus properly without panicking but this genuinely occurs more than once a week and that's only one example. Other daily tasks can follow the exact same pattern and anything that challenges my daily routines or hinders my life in any which way can leave me in masses of tears and panic.
BDD aka Body Dysmoephic Disorder: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance. For example, they may be convinced that a barely visible scar is a major flaw that everyone is staring at, or that their nose looks abnormal.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) - NHS ...
So touching on anxiety I believe that this has triggered my symptoms of BDD. As I've explained from my fitness post *attach link* I've never felt 100% comfortable in my body and I honesty don't think any female, especially in their teens, can say they have. Although due to my anxious personality traits, this heightened my self-consciousness in terms of my appearance to extreme levels, specifically my body - areas such as my tummy, thighs and bum. I've briefly explained how I would pretty much starve and over-exercise to remain thin but there's so much more to it than just that. It became such a problem to me that all I could think about was how thin I looked. What food I would be able to eat to remain thin. I became obsessed. And this shown in my personality - I'm naturally bubbly, chatty and somewhat outgoing when I'm surrounded by friends and family but when I was struggling with these symptoms I became nothing other than a shadow of myself. I was a recluse. If I met up with people I would often try to avoid situations where we ate, conversation was hard because I was constantly wrapped up in my own thoughts... I just wasn't myself and it didn't take long for people to notice this either. People were worried and had a right to be but I didn't want to accept that it was a problem because then I'd have to face the reality of it...
I've finally seen a light at the end of the tunnel and am now on the 'mend'. I still have my bad days where I feel 'podgy' or 'fat' but tbh I don't think that will ever fully go away and doesn't everyone suffer from bad body image days? - I'm just starting to learn how to change my destructive thought pattern and use my experience to become a healthier, happier person.
If you feel like you too suffer with any of these problems, or any other mental illness, please don't sit and face it alone. It's a hard and dark place and nobody should be left to feel like they're a prisoner of their own mind. I'm not saying you have to go and get proffesional help... I know this is daunting and psych's and counsellors have a bad rep for being condescending (which is not always the case but can definitely be the case), but you have people that love you; friends and family. And I can guarantee that even opening up to someone will make you feel that little bit better.
I'm always here to help if needs be. I'm no expert but having personal experience may be better advice than nothing! My Twitter handle is @chloecotgrave and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org - don't be afraid to contact me even if it's anonymously!
I'm hoping that this post will make people realise that mental health should not be treated as a taboo subject - Mental Health problems have such a stigma attached to them yet you'd be surprised at the amount of people that suffer with them. I'll be sure to do more in the future.
All my love,