A few mornings ago, I woke up with an anxiety attack.
I felt my pulse racing. My head felt like it wanted to explode. I tried to peel the skin off my face because I thought it was a burden. I punched my pillows. I banged my alarm clock. I just felt that the whole world was closing in on me and my breath was just leaving my body. I wanted to crawl into myself and die.
This has been happening to me most of my life, however, for the past few months, my anxiety attacks have increased. I would be so crippled by my anxiety, my depression would take over, I would start to lose interest in the things I love and I would start crying for no reason. I know that there is nothing wrong with the way I feel but right after this attack, I felt guilty for feeling this way. Like my anxiety was a burden for everyone else in my life. I know that is not the case.
I am not perfect. I know that. I don’t have to meet this ideal of perfection. But that is expected from the human race every day. We are made to feel guilty if, for once, we decide to think about ourselves for a change. After I calmed down after my attack, my parents suggested that I call out from work. That was my first instinct but the guilt overwhelmed me again. Calling out sick felt like I was letting other people down, that I was being selfish about thinking about my health.
But that shouldn’t be the case. Lately, I feel that my mental health is continuously sidelined in favor of work. My job doesn’t completely dismiss the discussion of mental health but they don’t acknowledge it either. Working with the public can be highly stressful and cause severe anxiety issues in some people. And the fact that there isn’t an open discussion about this issue not only scares but concerns me that people are not getting the help they need. I constantly have to battle to put my health above work. Unfortunately, with the way things are going, it appears to be a losing battle.
We need to have an open discussion about mental health. Knowing that others feel the same way will create a better understanding and empathy. I am writing this as a plea to my workplace and the other high stressful work environments. Please take care of your employees. Your workers should not have to choose between their health and their job. That is not a fair choice to make.
As for me? As my employer would like to believe, my anxiety and depression cannot be wiped away with a magic wand. My anxiety had subsided for the time being but that doesn’t mean another attack is on the horizon.
And that terrifies me.
Looking for help or ideas to deal with/discuss mental health? Here are some useful websites that will help get the conversation going:
I felt my pulse r