First it manifested as incessant and irrational worry, particularly at night. I would lie awake in bed catastrophising about how the world would end. At one stage I couldn’t lie down in certain positions because I was afraid I’d hear my heart stop. Living in an emotionally turbulent household didn’t help either; it acted as an inaccurate microcosm of how the outer world functioned, further fuelling my anxious disposition.
As I graduated onto secondary school, so did my anxiety. It started latching onto probable events like failing tests, embarrassment in social situations and a fear of authority and getting into trouble. To make matters worse, I encountered some unsavoury characters who further reinforced my distorted vision of the world.
I felt safe neither inside nor outside my own home and spent most of my school years waking up and going to bed terrified. I became withdrawn and depressed and struggled to find someone I could confide in without feeling humiliated.
I left school halfway through and spent the next few years being passed around from one mental health professional to another. I got nowhere and my condition worsened to the point where I couldn’t function, finally culminating in a massive breakdown at the age of 21. I felt that I had failed as a person, that the world had closed in on me and that suicide was my only option to escape my never-ending misery.
During my breakdown, a family friend suggested I contact Jami for support alongside the statutory counselling and medication I was receiving. I remember my first appointment with one of their occupational therapists, telling her that I was too far gone to be helped.