Being in an office environment, sitting in meetings with extroverted colleagues, being unable to hear myself think over the din of small talk and heated discussions over news I'd prefer not to know about...
My personal story with burnout left me living life on a constant knife's edge of anxiety. As if every day of my life had been an abyss of poor choices, and self-loathing. The daily fear battle I was fighting around the impact have on my future was real.
To get a perspective on things: There probably wasn't a president in US history who didn't at some point have to put up with health issues. Indeed, a look back reveals that many presidents had been fighting much more severe and in many cases incurable diseases while in office.
Personally now with that mind-blowing wonder of hindsight, I can look back over the past twenty odd years, if not more of my life and I have to question whether the constant fretting that I seemed incapable of stopping served any purpose whatsoever.
The human mind can be deceiving at times. But if you're suffering from a mental illness, it becomes your enemy. It makes you believe things you don't want to believe. It makes you think about things you don't want to think about. It makes you feel useless when you're not useless at all. It can completely overpower you and it forces you to think negatively. No matter how hard you try to stay positive, your own mind doesn't like positivity and wants to make you suffer.
With the new school term fast-approaching, the 'back to school' narrative is practically inescapable. Supermarket shelves are jam-packed with stationary and television screens blare out the latest offers on school uniforms.
Going public with regard to mental health issues, past mistakes and life errors that most people would probably choose to closet, rather than use as examples in a book to help others was a huge gamble to take, but for me it was a venture worth the risk.
These days I'm hearing more and more about the stress and heartache redundancy brings, so I decided to write a very personal piece reflecting the gamut of emotions I experienced whilst going through this very same process.
The breakdown hit me hard, it was manifested in a powerful wave of dread and fear that came inexplicably, but instantly rendered me almost crippled. Being in any closed in space was unthinkable - transport, impossible.
They give you medication to stop depression and suicidal thoughts, but the medication itself induces suicidal thoughts for the first couple of weeks. For that reason, I'm glad I slept for so much of the time. When I was awake, I'd just be thinking about how sharp the knife was that my boyfriend was eating with.
Life post-overdose had a different intensity to it - I couldn't run from my struggle anymore. I couldn't keep stuff shoved down and carry on regardless. I couldn't neglect my needs because saving myself after overdosing (I called the ambulance) was cementing a promise to myself - I was going to do this.
The extent of mental health problems in UK universities has been laid bare in a new YouGov survey of Britain's students. More than a quarter of students (27%) report having a mental health problem of one type or another. Female students are more likely to say they have mental health problems than males (34% vs 19%), and LGBT students have a particularly high likelihood of mental health problems compared to their heterosexual counterparts (45% vs 22%). For a significant proportion of students who report mental health issues, these problems can make even day-to-day tasks difficult. Nearly half (47%) say that that they have trouble completing some daily tasks and a further 4% say they cannot complete even simple tasks.
If anyone asks this August how my play about fearlessness is going, I happily tell them I'm terrified.
Sometimes it's hard to understand why they're attacking you, and it's bad enough when the keyboard warriors come for you in their scores... but what if a fandom comes for you? What if it's a celebrity you respect? What if someone says something that could really affect your brand? What if they try to destroy you, your business, your puppy, and the horse you rode in on?
I never encountered any abuse towards me, but I have read some distasteful comments about depression and anxiety in general. The important thing is by talking about your struggles, you are ready to deal with it and you are gradually conquering it, and it will make you a lot better.
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