It’s who I am. 

It’s World Mental Health Day!

I generally blog about all things anxiety, so for today I wanted to do something different. 

For almost 2 years I’ve remained anonymous on twitter for many reasons – the main one being stigma. I’m not quite strong enough to deal with people judging me on the mental illness I have, so for me it’s easier to remain anonymous. That, and it would greatly affect my career and sadly that’s still something I have to consider. 

Regardless of my anonymity, I’ve met some incredible people on twitter who I would class as friends and I’m so pleased they’re prepared to trust me, or rather a picture of a Buddha head. 

Although I’m grateful of this, it does mean I’m not able to tell a full story. I can tell people how well I’m doing (or not in some cases), and how I face up to certain anxiety triggers, but I can’t explain what I’m about, and how anxiety fits into my life. 

So for this post, I wanted to share a bit about me to show that anxiety doesn’t have to mean no job, no family, no friends, no social life. Anxiety is just part of my life, it doesn’t control it. So although I’m still going to keep my identity a secret for reasons explained earlier, here’s a bit about me, to show that anxiety isn’t the be all and end all:

So i’m a 30 year old (and very unhappy about it) guy living on the outskirts of Sheffield in my own home with my Girlfriend. We’ve lived together for 2 years and I actually bought this house half way through my anxiety journey. Ive been with my girlfriend for 4 and a half years, and I developed anxiety after around 3 months of being together and she’s stuck with me, so to say she’s my rock is an understatement. I developed an anxiety and panic disorder around 4 years ago, after several quite stressful events in a short space of time that seemed to throw my world off its axis, including a family drama, a car accident and passing out at the opticians (yep, that happened!)

Ive been in the same job for 7 years working my way up to a business director in an advertising agency, 4 of which have been part of my anxiety journey. It hasn’t been easy, but fortunately, as I’m the boss (ooer) I can create a role that suits my illness and highlights my skills. 

I don’t have a large group of friends, but I put this down to anxiety stopping me from making an effort. 

I have a small close family, one myself and the GF are trying to expand and have been doing so for a year (more fun for me than her if I’m honest), so keep your fingers crossed it will happen for us. I love to cook, in fact cooking helps me wind down, the more complex the recipe is the better to help reduce my anxiety symptoms. I also love to draw but am not particularly any good. I love to go out for meals, and do fun stuff like bowling, going to bars and having a dance and listening to old classic albums on vinyl. 

So you see, anxiety can come into your life and feel like it’s taking over, but that doesn’t control everything around you. I have an incredible family who are so supportive (I know this isn’t always the case and for those people in so very sorry. A good support network is so important). I hold down a good job which at times can be stressful but I manage to cope (most of the time) and I try to lead a normal life. 

Please spread the love today, it’s important that people who still hold ignorant views towards mental health are educated and the stigma fought against so people like me can become open and feel free. 

Mental health doesn’t define the person, the person defines the mental health. 

It’s not what I am, it’s who I am.

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