There’s such a stigma around having a mental illness these days, if you suffer with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder you’ve probably been called an attention seeker before. It’s like we can’t talk about it without having a negative correlation to us.
I think I need to put this out there because I think that more people need to be aware of mental illnesses, especially more older children (ages 9-13) need to be aware what they’re experiencing so they don’t feel confused or ‘abnormal’, like I did.
It all started around year 5. Our class was made to go swimming every week, and I used to hate it so much, I didn’t know why. In the pool I was in the shallow end very nervous, I used to grip onto the side and i was so afraid to let go because it would make me panic over the fact that I had no control.
I had no idea that I was having tons of panic attacks throughout year 5/6. I had them in PE and swimming mostly, even in the playground at dinnertime.
I had no idea, I felt like an idiot, I felt stupid and weird, and it was scary because nobody knew but me. I didn’t wanna tell anyone either because it was embarrassing. Plus, what was happening? How could I even explain it?
I remember standing outside actually being sick at the age of 10/11 at the thought of having to go swimming and have a panic attack. I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me. I remember my teachers even asking me snide questions making me feel like crap. Why don’t you wanna go swimming? Why don’t you like to go outside and do PE? They probably just thought I was lazy, hahaha. I think the ‘open area’ of the court or the swimming pool, and just knowing I couldn’t just get out for an hour made me freak out.
Has anyone else had this experience?
In year 10 (when I was about 14) I remember in my science class sitting there, on a science stool and I began to have the same feelings I had had years ago. The feeling came back to me, I was absolutely PETRIFIED.
I couldn’t stay in there, I had to get out. At this point, I kinda knew I was panicking, so I told my friend. Which , embarrassingly I had to leave the class with everyone staring at me – knowing what was going on.
I remember seeing multiple counselors and even seeing a hypnotherapist and nothing changed. I’m still receiving support now (almost 17, in college) and I’m just hoping this doesn’t carry on into adulthood.
This is only part of my story, let me know if you want me to delve in deeper!
Do you suffer with anxiety or panic attacks, what triggers them? Let me know – let’s talk.
(If you want to talk to me about this on twitter, feel free to message me – hanorourke)