09:18

Overcoming Anxiety


Recently a few of my blog posts have touched on personal issues. Exactly two years ago today marks the anniversary of an event that changed my life. It was probably the closest I have come to hitting what I would describe as my own personal 'rock bottom'. Some people will struggle to understand that statement, as I have a happy home life, a loving family, a boyfriend who I adore... I was studying at university, I got good grades in school... on the outside I was living a pretty perfect text book life, but on the inside I was battling with crippling anxiety- (and it is thanks to my amazing support system that I am now in a place, two years on, where I can talk about my experiences with honesty in the hope of helping someone out there do the same.) J K Rowling once said 'rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life'. And sitting here now I feel the exact same.


I can't remember a time in my life where I haven't felt inferior to somebody else around me, be it in academic achievements, personality, talent, body shape. I am guilty of constantly comparing myself to other people, over analysing myself and my achievements in comparison to those of the people who surround me and time and time again the conclusion of this analysis was that I was not good enough. I went to an extremely academic school, and although I loved my time there, I constantly struggled with the fact that every subject I considered myself to excel in, there was someone else who was just that little bit better. It was not that I had a desire to be the best or to be better than anyone else, I just longed to not feel inferior. It was when I was around 16 that I finally found what I thought was my niche, the talent and passion that I possessed that made me special and made me shine. I fell in love with video art, moving image, film, animation... and actually found out I was pretty good at it. While most class mates were studying towards A-levels in science and maths, with the majority of my year hoping to head to university to study medicine, law, economics, PPE; I was focused on Art and Graphic Design, and had set my heart on being accepted into the prestigious Art School, University of the Arts London, a place where Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Henry Holland and Jimmy Choo had all found their success. The day I was accepted, was at the time my biggest achievement to date. For the first time in my life I felt so proud and excited that I was going to be amongst those who were considered 'the best' in their field, and I had finally earnt my place amongst them.

What I failed to realise was that once I got there, I would no longer feel like the big 'graphic design' fish in the small pond that was my school, but instead I would feel like a very very small fish in a very very big pond. To say I was out of my depth would be a complete understatement. I had never lived on my own before, cooked for myself, looked after myself, let alone done those things in London, a complete world away from what my life at home was like. I took this completely for granted. I wasn't feeding myself properly, I wasn't sleeping properly. The stress and pressure I piled on myself to try and keep up with the reputation I had set led me to a daily routine of work work work. Anything I did which did not involve my sketchbook or camera filled me with an overwhelming surge of guilt and all I could think about was the amount I still had to do, I was carrying a huge burden around with me and I wouldn't let anyone else help me carry it. Eventually, keeping all of this bottled up inside me led to a rapid health deterioration... the panic attacks started- dizzy spells, physical sickness, migraines, shortness of breath... they were horrible periods of my life, and ones that I was ashamed of. How could I admit to anyone that my perfect dream to go to the perfect Art School was not at all the perfect life that I imagined? How could I admit that the one thing I felt like I could succeed in was not making me happy? I had drained myself not only of energy, but of personality. I was a shell of the person that I once was, I felt lost and isolated and didn't recognise the person that I was becoming/ had become. 

The point of this blog post isn't just to share my own experiences, but to try and help others who may feel the same. I had come to the point where I accepted that in order to succeed, these feelings were a bi-product that I would just have to deal with. This is not the case... I eventually admitted I needed help, and more importantly I wanted help. I no longer wanted to be that person anymore, I wanted to be the happy, bubbly person that I was before this journey to 'success' began. Asking for help is hard, I will still admit that it was the hardest thing I have ever done; but it is also the best thing I have ever done. Earlier, I said that being accepted to UAL was the proudest moment of my life. That is no longer the case... my proudest moment was when I finally took a step back and was honest not only to the people I love but to myself. I needed help. I asked for help.... and guess what? I got help. No one laughed, no one judged. 

And now, exactly two years to the day, I am sat feeling happier and prouder than I ever have in my life. I finally feel so content with where I am, remembering that panic is only possible if we allow ourselves to imagine the worst case scenario. Anxiety is a normal human emotion, it is something that we will all experience at some point in our lives. This anxiety becomes and issue however, when it causes an overwhelming fear, resulting in a rush of adrenaline casing panic attacks when your body is in no real danger. I urge anyone who feels this way to seek help, because I did and I am now panic attack free. The journey will not be a smooth one, but I promise you that it can be done with the right attitude and the right support system around you.

You are stronger than your fears.
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82 comments

  1. Such a brave post to share Amy, I really admire you for sharing your story! I have had a similar experience with my health & I also took far too long to get help, but I finally did 2 years ago & I'm a million times better. I felt like I wasn't really "ill" & that I would be judged, but there was no judgement, just lots of support & thats what a lot of people don't realise. I was lucky to have an amazing counsellor who really helped me to understand why I felt this way & how to think in a more positive way. Whilst I'm still not 100%, there will always be days where I don't want to leave the house & still have panic attacks, I also follow the same about how hitting "rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life".

    L x

    www.loulabeth.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much Laura! It's so nice to get support from people out there, and I'd love to be able to help others in the same way! It's crazy how many people are suffering in the same way yet no one is brave enough to admit it. I am far from 100% myself, but the difference in me is unbelievable. I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year, and hopefully see you soon!! xxx

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  2. You're so inspiring.
    I'm currently suffering from bad anxiety attacks as well as depression and it's difficult to find a way out, even when you;ve hit rock bottom, which I too have experienced a few times over a number of years.
    Well done on overcoming your problems and setting a pathway for others like me to try to face their problems too.
    Offbeat Emily x

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    1. Thank you!! I really hope that you find a way that works for you xxx

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  3. So proud of you - such an honest and brave post! Seriously am happy for your outcome to the journey you had, that must have been terrible. I wish I was as brave as you! <3 xx

    nessiehere.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. Another really inspiring post - I have also suffered from anxiety in my past and it was only after I got to the stage where I was struggling to leave the house, was being sent home from work on an almost daily basis and had let my relationships with my family and friends deteriorate into nothing that I realised that I really did need to get help. I found that I was terrified of actually getting help though, I'd lived with these feelings for so many years and prior to that I was very depressed, so I didn't know how feeling 'normal' felt and I was actually scared of it. But I'm so glad that I did get that help because now I'm living a life that although isn't the one I want to live, it's infinitely better than the one I was living! I have purpose, motivation, a clear indication of where I want to go and what I want to achieve and a career that I'm developing day by day and there's very little that could make me happier xo

    LJLV | UK Personal Style

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    1. Thank you so much Lucy! I was terrified too, its a scary feeling knowing that you wont have it to clutch on to any more! I'm so proud of you for the changes you've made xx

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    2. Aww thank you lovely :) I'm equally as proud of you, it's a huge step but really getting help for it is a massive achievement for us both! xo

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  5. So proud of you!! And went through the same thing when I started Uni. Panic attacks and anxiety are so crippling and it's really important that those suffering know they're not alone. Thanks for sharing your story!!
    Also, I followed you on Bloglovin :) xx

    http://haileysworkshop.blogspot.ca

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  6. I want to thank you for posting this! I relate to so many things in your story, so I understand how hard it can be to open up about it. I'm so happy you're better now and enjoying life much more thoroughly than before. I have to constantly remind myself that asking for help is not a weakness, it's a strength as two fighting a war is always stronger than one. xx

    http://kendradaale.blogspot.ca

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    1. Thank you so much! It's unbelievable how many people are experiencing the same thing! xx

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  7. I think the point you've made about asking for help is true in so many different cases. I think if there is something in life that you are struggling with or is getting on top of you asking for help is an important step, whether it's from a professional or from a loved one. Thank you very much for sharing.

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    1. I completely agree, you're welcome lovely xx

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  8. This is so great of you to share. I've struggled with depression and anxiety for such a long time, and blogging about it has been important to me since I started getting help and healing. I wish you all the best.

    www.jordynmyah.com

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    1. thank you... i wish you the best too xx

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  9. Such an inspiring post. I went through a similar thing when I first started university and reading this blog post was actually like re-living what I went through. I went to an academic school where it didn't matter about who you were as a person, it only mattered about grades and because of this I put so much hope on getting to university and starting a new life that when I actually got there, it all crumbled. I wasn't making friends, I was struggling with the one subject I had loved since I was a child and I too hit rock bottom. It is so comforting to know that your are not alone and other people go through similar things and that help is always out there. I am now in my final year of university, with a group of close friends who I owe everything to and, yeah sure I still have anxious days, but it is nowhere near as bad. I also loved that J.K Rowling quote. Such a lovely post that really has brightened my day. xo

    EmsAlice // Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Thank you so much! its so nice to hear from other people who have experienced similar things themselves. Your journey sounds so similar to my own! xx

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  10. This is so important! I had a similar experience, I decided rather than studying a levels, I would pursue my dreams of becoming a make-up artist. I got accepted to a college in central london, and I was so happy but being away from everything I knew and was comfortable with increased my anxiety and I finally realised I wasn't even enjoying my course... I'm still on it, but I'm soon to return to a levels, later on in the year and I am pursuing my dreams!

    I hope everything works out well for you, I wish you the best of luck, and thank you for writing out this post! :)

    Love Hira - , http://www.theartofexisting.co.uk/ xx

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    1. Aw well done for carrying on! Thank you so much lovely, you too xx

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  11. Thank You for sharing your story with us - I feel like with me, my anxiety comes when I feel the need to keep control of everything around me and also feel the desire to never disappoint anyone in doing so. It ends up draining me emotionally, mentally and physically... I found that finding a method of stress relief is very important whatever that may be....... I wish you all the best, and thank you for your on-going support :)

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    1. aw youre welcome :) I have the same thing with control. thank you lovely xx

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  12. well it is really nice that you have all going for the better now! i know how strong these negative feelings can get and I'm feeling better by just being myself and knowing I don't need to do anything at all to be important. plus thank you for your kind comment on dress me daily blog. much love XX :)

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  13. Beautiful post, as women we put so much pressure on our selfs to be perfectionist, which constantly makes me anxious too. I can really relate to this post.

    Annie B x

    http://anniebtalksbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/5-reasons-why-i-love-elemis-papaya.html

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  14. Can relate to this in so many ways, I went to a super academic school too and never felt good enough and started having panic attacks from the age of 11 when I joined. I didn't know what they were until I was about 14, but it really changed my life when I realised what the issue was. I still have panic attacks but only a few times a year now, compared to almost every day.

    vvnightingale.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. aww I'm glad you can relate! aww that's awful, how horrible that you had to go through that for so long! xx

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  15. Wow, I felt like I was reading about myself as I read this post. Thank you for sharing your personal journey, Amy. I think it's so important for anyone struggling with anxiety and perfectionism to know they are not alone.

    xo,
    Ashley
    http://www.teajambread.com/

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    1. You're so welcome lovely, I'm so glad you found it helpful xx

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  16. Thank you for sharing this post... I am going through the same atm... I am in my third year at Uni and I have no energy or motivation but at the same time I feel extremely stressed... I've become a mere shadow and now my dog is in hospital... I feel like the world around me is falling apart but I hope that one day I will be able to write a blog post like yours and be happy. Thank you for your courage <3

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    1. I know that feeling all too well, I still feel like that all the time, I wouldn't say i am 'recovered' but i am definitely a longgggg way into recovery. I really hope that things turn around for you soon, you really deserve them too! I hope your dog is ok, im sending so much love xxxx

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  17. This is a wonderful ode to turning things around for the better. I'm so happy for you.xx

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  18. I remember hearing about that university when I was looking for a kind of fashion summer school course but sadly I dont leave near london and im 16 so I'll have to wait. I loved this post, thankyou for sharing it! Hope you're doing well x

    owlsinthesummer.blogspot.co.uk

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  19. Great post, I love reading about people's experiences with anxiety, as it is something that I struggle with as well. I agree that negative emotions should not be a by-product of success, and I am really glad that you seeked help and found it. It's great to know that you are happier now :)

    Vievelle

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  20. Thank you so much, this is a beautiful post :')

    annaboho.blogspot.co.uk

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  21. Such a lovely written post, I really enjoy ones were you are able to get your feelings out and I think you write them in such a beautiful way!!

    http://rosabelleblogspot.blogspot.co.uk xx

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  22. This is a really lovely post. I think that a lot of us out there have had issues with anxiety but it's such an isolating problem, we often forget others feel the same. This could literally have come out of my mouth. It really helps me to remember how important it is to be kind to others, and to yourself. Finding a fairer voice and being less critical really helped me rationalise some of my problems. And there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Glad you got there.

    Lisa xo | otweek.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you lovely! It's comforting to actually know how many people feel or have felt thesame at some point! xxx

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  23. Anxiety runs in my family and in the past few weeks I've started experiencing it. The physical stuff is the killer for me, shortness of breath and nausea is how mine manifests. Congrats on asking for help, I see that in my future.

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    1. aww i really hope youre ok soon!! xx

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  24. Thank you for writing this post. I have suffered from anxiety for a very long time. It is so bad sometimes I feel ill at the thought of leaving the house. It is not a very nice feeling. I also have very bad depression which doesn't help matters. I hope in time I can find a way to overcome it.
    I am glad to hear you are feeling better now and that by writing this post it will help others to know this as well.
    All the best.
    Kelly.

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    1. You're welcome lovely, I hope you found it helpful! xx

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  25. I absolutely adore your blog, thank you so much for checking out mine!!
    www.thatflourchild.blogspot.ca
    xxx
    Rachel

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  26. Great post. Anxiety and Panic Attacks are one of those horrible things that a lot of people don't understand until they either experience it themselves, or know someone who has. Well done for raising awareness of this. Sounds like you are getting back on track, all the best for 2015! xx

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  27. I don't really have much to add to this other than this is a fantastic, well-writen post and you should be very proud of it! x

    Magpie Jasmine

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    1. aww jasmine thank you so much! Hopefully see you soon xx

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  28. wow.. thank you so much for sharing this, and allowing others to learn from everything you have gone through! This is post is so inspiriational and touches me personally. I too have been that girl where I would strive to be the best at everything. Sometimes not everyone understands anxiety/panic attacks until they have gone through it themselves or know someone who has. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It's stories like these that touch close to other girls hearts where they are able to relate and learn from your story! I'm so happy to hear that you were able to overcome this, and I know that 2015 will be an even greater year for you! I love reading your blog posts they are always so well written and always have a great moral to the story! Thanks for leaving such a sweet comment on my blog btw!!

    Xoxo,
    Roxanne Carmen
    http://www.myfashionontherox.com

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    1. thank you so much! That really means a lot to me... I completely agree! xx

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  29. Hi Amy, this is such a well written and touching post. Personally I faced anxiety issues for a very long time since 2012. I always thought by pushing those emotions away and not thinking about it that I will be fine. So I battle with my negative emotions for years and neglected my mental health. But because I didn't dealt it properly, instead of letting out, I ended up bottling up so it build up and it is really terrible after a nonstop of series of terrible things happened to me. I'm still trying to find ways to help myself. My country isn't a place for acceptance of therapy and psychiatrist. Plus it was quite an expensive amount to spend and I couldn't afford to. So I begin to stay home, avoid people and try to stay in my own bubble to recharge. I'm not sure how I could get help, because I don't even know how to start, or how to talk about it. I am not even sure of it myself. I don't have much friends and they are all too busy and I feel like even if I managed to speak up, they won't understand and I don't even know how too. But your life story is really very inspiring. I'm glad you are at a better place in life right now and hope you will get to even higher grounds. I love the quote from J K Rowling as well. Thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog too. xo

    Love, Angelus
    angelus-officially.blogspot.com

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    1. aww thank you so much! I thought the same, and I really hope that you find the correct help soon! Thats so sad that therapy is not accepted in the same way. I hope you find someone who you can talk to about what is going on, I really hope you find happiness soon xx

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  30. I'm not sure how you stumbled across my little blog but I'm so glad you did. If you hadn't, I would not have known about you and all you're doing here! No doubt this post took a lot of self-reflecting and I applaud you on sharing this. Everyone goes through struggles in life, but how those struggles affect us is up to us and how we choose to deal with them. Your struggle is one that many can relate to on some level because we have all felt inferior to others and it can be so difficult to not compare ourselves. The quote, "Be better than who you were yesterday" keeps ringing in my ears. Have a happy day. :)
    Ashley

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  31. Such an honest post - anxiety can be a horrible thing to affect people daily.
    I know what you mean, it can be easy to always compare yourself to others and become obsessed with it - but it's good to take a step back and be proud of your own achievements and focus on yourself.
    I'm glad you are more content with yourself and are proud of all the things you have achieved so far!

    www.saturdays--girl.blogspot.co.uk

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  32. Love this post, it is so helpful!

    http://lychee-bubbles.blogspot.co.uk/

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  33. I am so happy I am not alone. Thank you Amy x

    http://lilliemysel.blogspot.com

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  34. Thank you for sharing this!! So glad to know others out there feel the same, you are so brave for reaching out for help!! Xo

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  35. So honest and inspiring - thanks for sharing this Amy xx

    The Belle Narrative

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  36. First and foremost you are one brave lady! While I myself don't suffer from anxiety, I have friends that do and I know how hard it is for them to communicate their anxiety sometimes. I am also glad to hear things are looking up for you and I hope that continues.

    Brittany

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  37. This is so lovely! Thank you for sharing it, you're such an inspiration! xx

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  38. This post is beautiful, Amy! I bet a lot of people will be able to connect with you on some level, with the overwhelming emotions you've experienced. I adore the J.K Rowling quote too. I think confronting your anxiety and reaching out for help was really brave of you, a step that so many people are scared to make. I hope you inspire many people with this post :)
    xxx
    Tasmin | Grandiose Days

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    1. Hey can I just say thank you for posting this. It has made me feel like im not the only one who has been in the same sort of situation. I struggle with anxiety everyday and sometimes I cant go to some of my classes (im in high school) because of my anxiety and have to sit doing my work else where. You are very brave to post your story I have thought about posting mine but as of now I am still struggling with my anxiety so I decided it is better that I don't but you never know in the future I might.
      Becca
      http://lovefashionandmakeup14.blogspot.co.uk/

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    2. aw youre so welcome, i really hope you manage to overcome your struggles <3 xx

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  39. Spent my afternoon reading through you're posts and all I have to say is you are truly an inspiring person. Definitely someone who people should look up to. I myself can relate to this post as I too suffer and have suffered with anxiety since I was about 14 and most recently had reached my darkest days, so I understand from experience exactly how you feel. But reading your post is just inspiring and knowing that you are now in a happier place and openly speaking about your problem is amazing too - and must feel it with the responses you have received. Good on you! X

    http://www.cautivarbyll.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. awww that comment has made me smile so so much! thank you so much lovely, im so glad i helped you in some way xxx

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