#BellLetsTalk: here's my story

It’s hard for people dealing with mental illness to talk about it because they may feel embarrassed, weak or alone. I know this because that was me. So I’d like to share my story and hope that maybe, it helps one person.

I was always a very anxious kid. I was a swimmer and when I was 9, I was competing and I passed out while swimming. I have no idea why that happened but I became fearful of passing out. It happened again when I was 11, twice when I was 13 and once more when I was 17. By this time, I decided to stop swimming because it only seem to happen when I was swimming. Swimming was my passion, my life and it sucks that my fear took it away from me I spent most of my seventieth year in hospitals trying to figure out why this was happening to me. MRI’s, cat scans, blood tests and after all that still no answers.

My anxiety was at an all-time high. Why was this happening to me. My anxiety was so bad, I didn’t leave my house for a month. When I did leave, I would have awful panic attacks. The doctor told my mother I was depressed and should be medicated but no mother wants to medicate their child so she didn’t. Looking back, I wish she did.

I spent my 20’s anxious, nervous to leave the house. What if I pass out while driving,  or while out with friends. Why do I feel like this. How do I stop it. I didn’t talk to anybody about it because it’s so hard to explain. Oh when I go out I get panic attacks and it feels like I’m drowning and floating and having a heart attack all at once. No one would understand that.

In 2011, I was 26. I was offered a morning show job in Halifax. I moved my whole life in a week from Ottawa to Halifax. I knew no one here and had a new morning schedule that was hard on me. I started having the worst panic attacks of my life.I was having about 6 panic attacks a day. I started only eating take out cause I was terrified to go to the grocery store.  I would shake to the point that I would fall. My body couldn’t even hold me up. I became frustrated and depressed. Why is this happening to me. My boss told me to take 2 weeks off and focus on me, so I did.To this day, I am so grateful to him for not only understanding but giving me the time to fix it. I went to the doctor and she gave me an anti-depressant/anxiety pill…cipralex. I had it for a month before I took it. Do I really wanna really on a pill to make me feel better. Will I feel loopy, drugged.

I finally took it. If you’re looking to take an anti depressant/anti anxiety pill let me tell you, the first week you take it is awful. Your body and brain are trying to balance this new drug and you feel awful. Then one day I woke up and for the first time in a very, VERY long time I felt.. normal. My heart wasn’t going crazy, my head wasn’t thinking of all the worst case scenarios that could happen to me I just felt…at ease.

Almost 7 years later I am still on Cipralex and I wish I have been on it since the first time I was diagnosed. I don’t feel numb and yes, of course I still get sad and depressed but not like I use to. When I have a panic attack, it usually stops at 6 instead of going to 10.

I’d also like to add while I am on an anti-depressant/anxiety drug, I also changed my lifestyle. I started eating better (You will gain weight when taking an anti-depressant) exercising daily and being more positive but I couldn’t of changed my lifestyle without the push of the drug.

I am not ashamed and if you need help, you shouldn’t be either! Talk to your doctor and listen to your kids and take their symptoms seriously!

If you are a child and don’t know who to talk to call the kids help phone 1800-668-6868 I still know this number by heart because it helped me so many time!

Thanks for listening and if you need someone to listen to you… I’m always here!!!!!