Talking about your mental health issues is scary. It is highly personal and often seen as a weakness. But in reality, being able to talk about it is a huge step. And it shows huge amounts of strength. If you are trying to build up the courage to talk to someone for the first time, check out my here.
Today I am really happy to be interviewing Larissa from Life Of Larissa. Hi Larissa, please tell me a little about yourself.
My name is Larissa, I am 17 and from the UK. My blog is lifeoflarissablog.wordpress.com if anyone wants to check it out. My hobbies include reading, doing MUN, doing exercise such as rowing and swimming, travelling and going on adventures with friends. My favourite books are Emma by Jane Austin and Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith.
What is your mental health diagnosis?
I have anxiety. I used to have very bad social anxiety but this is improving.
What does this mean in simple terms?
My heart beats very fast, I feel dizzy/faint and cannot think straight when I feel very anxious and have an anxiety attack.
How old were you when you began to have symptoms?
For as long as I can remember as it was labelled as me being shy and quiet rather than having a problem.
Does your illness affect your ‘normal’ life? How?
It depends on the day completely but sometimes I wake up very anxious, very scared of going to school with worst case scenarios going around in my head. I will usually have a green tea and a theanine tablet to calm me down. I always get the bus to school, which makes me more anxious before school. Sometimes I am OK at school other times I sit in the library with friends and don’t speak too much in class when I’m anxious. I also find it hard to go shopping by myself when I feel anxious as I am worried people will judge me for my actions.
How long did it take you to seek help?
I haven’t received professional help yet but I am looking into this currently. I have mostly received help from some friends and online.
What treatment(s) have you found works best for you?
I have found that green tea and theanine helps me to stay calm although I am still exploring treatments.
What has been your hardest/lowest/toughest/most desperate moment/time?
I would say that when I have friendship troubles and stress at school my anxiety gets very bad such as in year 12.
What has been the hardest part of your journey?
Trying to control my anxiety whilst having a tough time with friends/work at school.
Have you found those around you treat you differently?
I have lost contact with one friend in particular who didn’t believe I had anxiety and my parents don’t understand it entirely, so that can be difficult to deal with.
What do you wish people wouldn’t say to you?
Just get over it.
How can those around you help you?
They can support in the dark times, giving you space and taking you out to take your mind off it.
Are there any websites/groups/etc. you recommend for helping coping with/understanding/information on mental health issues?
Facebook – mental health bloggers on Facebook is useful. There is also some information on the NHS website. The Blurt Foundation gives lots of tips on Twitter and Mind is a good website for anxiety.
What is the best advice you have for someone with a mental health issue?
Always take every day at a time, concentrate on being happy and dealing with your anxiety. Try not to worry about others, if they aren’t supporting you then maybe you should look towards other friends. Try herbal cures before tablets as some of them can be very effective.
Thank you so much, Larissa, I know how hard it is to speak out about mental health struggles so I really appreciate everything.
You can read other mental health interviews here.
Larissa is a 17-year-old A-Level student who blogs about life, academics and anxiety.
Read her blog Life of Larissa.