“I've had anxiety my whole life. I once checked myself in to emergency because I thought I was dying, but it turned out I was having a panic attack. Whenever anxiety rears its head, I've been able to remember that experience to reassure myself that I’m OK.
But a few years ago it started to get worse again. I was stressed with work, not really happy in my personal life, and just a bit lost.
A friend told me about a mental health plan they were on that gave them subsidised sessions with a psychologist. I knew I needed some help, so I went to my GP in the hope that she'd put me on a similar plan, and she did.
At my first session, my psychologist asked what had been going on, and I burst into tears. Nothing I said was even that bad... but it was stuff I'd been keeping to myself. I felt so appreciative to have someone who wanted to listen (even if I was paying her!). She didn't give me any 'answers' per se, she just helped me gain some clarity and perspective.
There's freedom in talking to someone who doesn't know you, or have any preconceptions about who you are. That doesn't happen much; even friends or partners have their own ideas about who you are, or how you should approach a certain situation. That aspect of therapy was incredibly liberating.
We shouldn't wait until we're at breaking point; we should get help as soon as we start to feel overwhelmed. I think that's something people forget. If you sprain your ankle running, you don't ignore it and keep running on it. You might see a physio, and take care of it until it's strong again. We need to do the same with our minds.”