It’s sensitive topic and one I don’t share often but it’s been on my mind a little recently. 2018 was a year that tested me as a person and brought me to the absolute depths of despair. Something happened in this year that shook all the faith I had in who I thought I was and had me questioning everything. I’ve been through difficult things in my life, but this was the event that broke me.
During the Christmas period in 2018 I had a near death experience. I choked on something that went down the wrong way and it was like all the pent-up anxiety from what was happening caused a catastrophic reaction. A “nervous breakdown” which is also known as a mental health crisis happens when the feelings of worry or anxiety build up to a level that has an impact on your daily life.
I felt completely isolated even though my family was there for me every step of the way. I suffered from insomnia, racing heart, sweats, and exhaustion. I couldn’t eat and spent my days rocking and crying uncontrollably. I didn’t even recognise myself when I looked in them mirror. I was hollow and spent so much time at the doctors. During this period, they discovered a lump in my left breast. I guess this is why I am thinking about it so much. I am due for my two years, follow up mammogram. Luckily the biopsy result was benign but it’s always there playing on your mind.
I spent nearly every day for two weeks being ferried to my doctors for treatment. She diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and commenced me on anti-depressants. I believe in these drugs. They change peoples lives but for me they dropped me deeper into the abyss. I was drowning and couldn’t find a way out. I went from being someone who only took Panadol for migraines and tried to cure most things with rest to being admitted to a hospital with a drug bag that shocked the attending doctor. I thank the universe for this doctor every day. He was a game changer. After spending an hour with him my recovery really began.
I fought hard for this Rachel. The one who is brave enough to speak to strangers and trust people again. The Rachel who gets up every morning with a smile and competently deals with everything thrown her way. The Rachel who has developed strategies to help her deal with anxiety.
I owe my recovery to my supportive family, an emergency room doctor, a psychologist, and my own personal drive to not be that person. I know how lucky I am. It could have gone a completely different way. I had to learn how to sleep again. Yes, my body had forgotten how to allow me restful sleep. I also had to master mindfulness. Something that was difficult for someone with a busy mind. Breathing exercises really helped and trying to focus on positive things.
The test was when I returned to work and into the environment that was the catalyst to my breakdown. I managed to do this six weeks into my journey. My psychologist was surprised.
I’ve always been strong. I’m a survivor. I’m not saying I am fully recovered. Each day brings its challenges and I have to employ the strategies I developed to get through.
Are you a survivor? I’d love to hear your stories. Pop them in the comments.