I started suffering with anxiety after I had undergone a medical abortion in March 2016, my first symptoms of the mental illness was my constant fear of my imminent death, sometimes triggered by headaches or muscle pain, but a lot of the time it was something that was constantly on my mind: watching a film, on the bus, in a lecture, at work, eating, drinking, on holiday, it was a worry that had taken over the majority of my mind all of the time. Yet something that did surprise me about this was that I wasn’t afraid of dying, I was afraid about how it would affect the people around me, would my family be alright, who would tell them, what would my friends do, would my dog go on without me.
It wasn't only severe hypochondria that I was suffering with I then started to suffer with intense social anxieties. Friends that I’d had for years I was suddenly constantly worried I wasn't saying the right things, or that they never really liked me. The friends that got me through my abortion I felt only liked me because I was their other friend's girlfriend. I was always concerned about what I was saying rehearsing how I would walk into a room and say hello, listing off different conversation topics I could have with the different people that were going to be there.
I wasn't myself, I was a pushed down, rehearsed, nervous, over-thinker, and I was in constant fear that I wasn't liked along with the constant fear that I was about to die. When I was on holiday in Walt Disney World Florida with my Dad and 2 Sisters is when I think I hit my lowest point, nobody I was with knew about the abortion and they didn't know about my anxieties (my family would always refer to me as a hypochondriac and I wasn’t in the place to explain how bad it actually was) I couldn't go an hour in the "happiest place on earth" without feeling I was going to die in some sort of way.
When I got home from this trip I started taking medication, these helped me incredibly with the physical panic attacks which then helped to stop the constant fear of death that came with them. After 8 months of being on the anxiety medication I took myself off them, I suffered with mild panic attacks as I had gone off them "cold turkey" (not advised) but after a month I felt more like myself, the fear of death for the most part has gone. I think I’ll always be somebody who over-reacts to something medical, but this I feel has come from being almost 3 months pregnant and not noticing, and then when I did; everything that could have gone wrong dealing with a pregnancy/abortion medically did.
My social anxiety is something I am still struggling with on a somewhat daily basis, on one hand I have friends I have never felt more comfortable around and who I can be my true self with, but I do still have people I can't quite relax around and still maintain that fear of judgement and rehearsing what I'm going to say, I’m trying to decipher if this is my personal issues or their friendship isn’t right for me. I have become a lot more open about my experience and my illness with my friends and family members which has given us a new stronger relationship, but unfortunately it’s still something a lot of my family don’t really understand and don’t try to.
It's an issue so much in my own head that's a constant mental battle along with the battle of trying to get people to understand.