Hello my fellow Princess Warriors! It’s a new month, and this month, our focus will be entirely on Mental Health Awareness. Throughout the month, a group of brave individuals will share their individual journeys with mental health issues, and even some coping mechanisms. Some will share their identities, whilst some will remain anonymous. One theme will run throughout, that none of us are ever alone in our battle with mental health illnesses and battles. To kick off this series, we have a brave woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, who will share her intense battle with anxiety, and ways in which she copes and methods you can use too, if needed. Without further ado, this is her journey.
“Lub dub … Lub dub.. lub dub..”
That’s the medically appropriate way of describing the heart beat. Why would I start with that? Because it’s my heart rate that made me realize that I suffer with anxiety, post traumatic stress related anxiety to be specific.
Living alone can be the best, worst days of your life. I say worst because one incident took the best days of my life and made me forget everything I am. From a strong independent woman I became an anxious dependent, what felt like a child.
My privacy was invaded, they attempted to enter my space, but I’m the one at night who can’t sleep. I was showering and saw hands opening my window while others tried to open the door to enter, to rape me. What were they thinking? 4 of them and one of me, divine intervention made me latch the door. I think about it all the time, a latch saved my life. A small latch.
It was months of every small noise at night increasing my heart rate to almost triple the normal amount, being unable to sleep until the sun was up because that way I knew that there was no way anyone could try to harm me, coupled with only being able to sleep when my best friend was with me, before I realised that I needed help. Missed lecturers due to inability to sleep at night as a result of anxiety should’ve been my first clue, but as Indians we aren’t accustomed to know that mental disorders exist.
As a Master’s student I should’ve known but as a female who was told to pray no pictures were taken of me while I was in the shower, I was more concerned about my naked body being seen by another as opposed to realising I suffered with a mental disorder.
It was months later, my mum to came to visit but I felt no comfort. As she witnessed my condition, she convinced me to move back home and I did.
Another few months later, different country, different place, new environment but I STILL continued my routine. One noise at night and there we go, lubdublubdublubdub, night sweats lying frozen despite the heat in the bed.
I was a girl who prided myself in my ability to be independent and do everything alone and I can’t even stay alone any longer. I am now a girl who prides myself in acknowledging that anxiety is now my friend.
Why do I call it my friend? Because I have become so sensitive to noise that I get minor attacks if someone speaks too loudly but I have learnt how to deal with it.
I hope my coping mechanisms can help anyone in the same place too.
1).The first thing is to breathe, breathe deeply and slowly and understand that the anxiety attack is coming but you can breathe through it. Breathe and remind yourself, you are not defined by your anxiety and this is just temporary.
2). Touch/feel 10 things, anything, it helps you ground yourself and realise everything else around you isn’t shaking you are.
3). Music, listen to a song or songs that makes you feel good and sing on top of your lungs, the adrenalin goes and the calm sets in.
4). Honestly, pray/meditate. Meditation can help you learn to control your mind and thoughts no matter how cliche it seems.
5). Acknowledgement, acknowledge that you have a friend and speak about it. There is nothing to be ashamed of. The more you make it your friend, the less scary it becomes.
6). Create a distraction, I created an account on Instagram and used it as a distraction. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I created content to post the next day and there is not a day that I regret it because through my account I’ve met some amazing people. But you can do anything, I also used dance to relieve the anxiety before I decided to go online.
Lastly, if you’re in South Africa, there is a natural self help medication you can use. It’s called Natura and it’s specially for anxiety. It’s helped me sleep through sleepiness nights and I hope it helps you too.
Sending out peace, love and light to all 💖😊
We’re in this together 🙌
That concludes the first post in this series, Mental Health Warriors. We really hope this helps you feel less alone in your battles, or even helps you understand someone who battles with anxiety. Remember, our journeys will always be different, but that does not mean we are ever alone.
If you or someone you know is showing any signs of anxiety, depression or suicidal tenddencies, you can contact:
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group: 0800 12 13 14
Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567