Part Three – A New Chapter

Posted in Mental Health, Personal

Part 1 | Part 2

After I started beta-blockers at my doctor’s recommendation, things improved for a while. I started to feel more able to attend my classes (and made a friend!), I was able to go out again with my boyfriend and I reconnected with an old school friend. It started to feel as though I had my life back on track and things became more positive.

But I became really dependent on my medication and felt like I needed it to go out anywhere. I would have panic attacks about not having my medication in my bag or panic attacks when I was close to running out of tablets because they became my crutch to leave the house. My largest allowance was up to 6 tablets a day and I would end up taking the full dose in one go on longer days of classes because I couldn’t attend any other way. I felt awful. As it was beta-blockers, they slowed down my entire body responses. My GP explained that they weren’t affecting my mind, but stopping my body’s response to the anxious thoughts, so whilst my head was panicking, my body was relaxed. But that feeling overtook everything and honestly, I don’t remember much of my third year – it’s all a blur. I just had that constant hazy, lifeless feeling going through each day, and as my heart rate and fight or flight responses slowed, I became too exhausted to function. I ended up spending most of my time at home in bed and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything because of the complete exhaustion that gripped me every day.

One day, I couldn’t take the tiredness and exhaustion anymore. I felt like a zombie, and I hated feeling that I wasn’t in control of my situation anymore. I stopped taking my medicine. This was something that always terrified me because my doctor told me I couldn’t stop taking them or else I’d have the worst panic attack of my life and so I had always been terrified of that.
I didn’t have a huge panic attack. I started to practice mindfulness in place of the medicine, and I became obsessed with colouring in instead of the alarming calm the medicine made me feel. I got the same effects from a bubble bath and deep breaths and I started to feel more positive in a real way this time. I think this was due to the huge support my family and boyfriend provided me, but also the new-found confidence I had in myself as I had managed to make a new friend and had started a new job. I wanted to make a new chapter for myself and I deliberately didn’t tell my new managers or coworkers about my medication or troubles or anything. I could be anyone I wanted because none of my new coworkers knew anything different and so I painted myself the life that I had been jealous of for so long. I didn’t tell my new friend any of this either, which was harder as university was, to some degree, the root of my problem. I would sit beside her in lectures, taken over by panic, but determined not to let it show.

I found that having water with me constantly really helped to calm me down, and I made sure I would sit close to the doors in lecture halls so that I could leave if I needed to. For some reason, I never needed to.

I haven’t had a panic attack since.

I have no idea how I managed to push myself to stop the medicine and sit through the panic (it does fade after 10-20 minutes), but I managed. I was just so sick of myself I guess. I felt like I was letting my family and my boyfriend down, but I also seen all the other girls at uni with their lives SO together and always out and always confident and everything I wanted to be and I just felt like I had to push myself there. Starting a new job at this time definitely helped (although I nearly cancelled my interview because I was so anxious about having a panic attack/making a fool of myself/being sick etc). My mum had to talk me into going that day, and I’ve been there ever since. It helped me to play the part of an anxiety-free life because eventually I started to feel like that could be possible again. I still get anxious from time to time in certain situations, and there are some things I still won’t do (like go out drinking/clubbing/be in taxis) but there are so many things I can now do that I don’t mind missing out on those things.

*This post is part of a series* // 116 123 // 0300 123 3393 // 0300 304 7000 // 01708 765200

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  • Reply Eve Morgan

    People may seem like they have it together but most of the time they don’t! Uni has never given me a panic attack, but I have had countless nights where I’ve cried and broken down. It’s great to hear that you have control over your panic attacks now, keep it up! 😊 x

    March 13, 2017 at 8:48 pm
  • Reply Corinne & Kirsty 🌸 (@corinnekirsty)

    Drinking is overrated and getting drunk prevents your to function during the weekend. You’ll just feel horrible so you’re not missing on much. I never experienced anxiety but I get it must be really hard to live through crisis while being at uni, which remains quite stressful. You’re really brave! I hope you series hekp other people suffering from the same condition. Thanks for sharing xx Corinne

    March 13, 2017 at 8:48 pm
  • Reply sazsinclair

    This is such a brave and honest post. It was so nice to read on and see you hadnt had a panic attack. Hope youre enjoying life and so much respect for you sharing such a personal aspect of your life💗

    Sarah |

    March 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm
  • Reply rob2605

    Really relate to your blog post again as I always seem to 🙂 So glad that things are a lot more positive for you now too x

    March 13, 2017 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply Lola

    This is such a great post. Dont think those girls had it together, I was one of them and a seriously didnt. I tried to ooze confidence as I was always ashamed. Ashamed of my life, my lifestyle and how I felt. I was literally on self destruct and would do anything to not consciously be in the moment. That always turned our worse as a panic attack drunk is not a good thing. I am glad your getting there just remember baby steps dear. 🙂 x
    Lola Mia //

    March 14, 2017 at 11:14 am
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      Thank you! That sounds so tough, I hope things are better for you now 🙁 thank you gorgeous xo

      March 14, 2017 at 10:30 pm
  • Reply Lauren Hodgson

    I find this really inspiring, that you managed to do so well despite being told that you would suffer from no longer taking your pills. I’ve really struggled with Uni, and unfortunately I’m only in my first year so there’s a long way to go! I’ve moved out of student accommodation, and I’m happier, but some days I’ll drive in and cry in my car, or get home and feel so lonely because I haven’t really managed to fit in. But, I’m getting there – hopefully I can start feeling just as positive as you soon too! I really enjoyed this post, thank you for sharing!

    Lauren |

    March 15, 2017 at 8:51 am
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      I’m so sorry that you aren’t having a good time, I totally get the loneliness part – I felt like I was the only one in the world who was struggling but it’s totally not true. I feel much more positive than I did before but I still have a long way to go – I still can’t wait to graduate and be done with it forever haha! I’m always here if you need to chat, the one thing I learned is that it’s really important to share how you’re feeling with others because it really helps to make you feel better. I hope it gets better for you soon, thanks so much for reading ❤️

      March 15, 2017 at 9:11 am
  • Reply ktkinnes

    Uni is honestly one of the best and worst things for people. I can’t remember the last time I felt fully in control or happy, but at the same time I’ve made some incredible friends. It’s great to hear mindfulness and colour are helping you. They seem to be great things to help!

    March 15, 2017 at 10:35 am
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      It definitely has its ups and downs, just feels like way more stress than it’s worth sometimes! Thanks so much for reading!!
      Yeah colouring in is so relaxing, I love it xo

      March 15, 2017 at 11:44 am
  • Reply Tiffany Rawling (@TiffanyRawling)

    Uni can be amazing sometimes and other times awful, I think everyone has their ups and downs with it but some more than others and it can have a real impact on mental health, that’s what happened with me too! I’m so glad mindfulness has helped you and colouring is great isn’t it? It really relaxes me 🙂

    Tiffany x

    March 15, 2017 at 12:34 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      I love colouring in, I have so many colouring books – it’s so relaxing! xo

      March 15, 2017 at 2:14 pm
  • Reply Tine (@tineathome)

    Glad things are going well for you, can’t imagine how horrible it must’ve been to live in a haze for so long!

    March 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      It was such a horrible feeling, but glad it’s gone now! Thanks so much for reading xo

      March 15, 2017 at 9:01 pm
  • Reply Rebecca (@radishsociety)

    As long as you’re taking care of yourself that’s what matters xoxo

    March 15, 2017 at 7:28 pm
  • Reply Chelsea Anne

    This is such an honest and inspiring post. Life can be stressful at the best of times, without studying thrown into the mix! Glad things are looking up and take care of yourself x

    March 15, 2017 at 10:42 pm
  • Reply Sonam Lotay

    I’m glad you’re feeling positive and well done for taking things into your own hands. You just need to make sure you’re taking care of yourselves and it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to put yourself in clubbing situations etc. Hope hope things continue looking up for you

    March 16, 2017 at 9:10 am
  • Reply Jordanne | Thelifeofaglasgowgirl

    Sometimes it can seem like others have everything together but really you’re only seeing what they let you see. It’s good you made a decision to come off your medication and it worked for you & you’re feeling better for it. My beta blockers have had the opposite effect, I can function better on them and I’m a much better mother on my medication which for me is everything. It’s strange how everything effects others differently but it’s great that you’ve found that colouring and such really does help you.

    Jordanne ||

    March 16, 2017 at 10:15 pm
    • Reply clairelouiisexo

      That’s true! I’m glad they seem to be really helping you, they just didn’t agree with me for some reason. I still take one now and then if I need to but overall, I feel much better without them! xo

      March 16, 2017 at 11:29 pm
  • Reply Part Two – Losing Friends and Keeping Secrets | clairelouiisexo

    […] Part Three – A New Chapter […]

    July 5, 2017 at 10:45 am
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