The day before a second year university exam: not the most convenient time to have the worst panic attack you’ve ever had. Anxiety, sadness, exhaustion and worry curdled together and exploded inside me. It’s never been that bad before. Bad to the extent I was pulling my hair, gritting my teeth, and shaking all over. Bad to the extent that now, four hours later, I am still feeling weak.
I was home alone, but the loneliness was far more than physical. I was falling into a hole that I didn’t even care if I got out of, just as long as the pain ended. I closed my eyes and waited for the tears to stop. The darkness of my eye lids was comforting and eased my breathing. I managed to send a text to my friend, ‘I am not ok’. Within two minutes, a reply. ‘I’m coming over’.
It seems that it is at times when you think you are at your lowest, you have the opportunity to realise how special the people around you really are. But if you don’t speak first, you might never find out. It takes a special person to drop everything and come round just to make you a cup of tea when you’re crying, and I am lucky enough to have someone like that in my life.
No matter how many videos you share, quotes you tweet; no matter how many Mental Health Awareness day’s there are, some people will never understand what it’s like to suffer from mental illness. And lucky them! They’re lucky enough to have never felt a black dog walking behind them, or like everyone in the room hates them. Some people will say that you’re attention seeking, that you’re pathetic, that you’re weak. But you’re not. You’re fighting a battle no one else can see. And they’ll never see it if you don’t speak out.