- Yasmin Abdo
I had potential...until I lost my spark
Mental health. A widely misunderstood term and one that often gets swept to the side - alongside the embarrassing and awkward conversation that follows. But battling with the voices in your head, that make it exhausting to continue everyday day-to-day life, is nothing to shy away from and instead should be seen as one that is courageous.
I’ve been an anxious person for as long as I remember and at 21 years old my whole life has been dominated by panic attacks and the heavy cloud of depression that looms over me. I had potential. I really did. I was a high achiever and never settled for anything average – I wanted to do more. I wanted to be perfect. So, I ruined myself trying to achieve this impossible title. I studied, got expectational grades and went to a good university – but strangely enough that didn’t fill the void that had been eating me up inside. I wanted more and felt like I failed.
I lived my life in a constant state of fear. I couldn’t sit still, I was always nervously tapping my foot, I would memorise every single exit in buildings, and I always carried a paper bag with me. I was trapped in my own anxiety and my life had taken a complete turn.
And then my struggle with panic attacks and anxiety got worse. I lost my spark - in academia and in life. I just didn’t see the point. I’d spend day after day in my bed, numb, wishing to be anywhere but alive. I just didn’t see the joy in life, and I had no hope. Before I knew it, the idea of suicide was dancing around my mind. I felt trapped. I didn’t eat much; I had a lot of sleepless nights and my whole day revolved around the little ‘happy’ pill that I took consistently to bring some ‘life’ into me. This was not the way to live life. Frequent rapid heart palpitations, dark, intrusive thoughts and …sore wrists. I was heading down a dark road and death was my final stop.
So, I reached out… and that saved my life. During a period of my life where death seemed like the only option – I was thankful to pull myself out of the hole I dug myself. Everything was going to be ok, and although I still struggle with my mental health today, I’ve learnt that healing is never a linear process. To heal means to relapse. Anxiety and depression are not light-hearted topics to discuss trivially– and suicide is one of the most common deaths, yet still, people awkwardly scratch their heads and let out nervous laughs whenever it's discussed. But reaching should never be seen as something that is belittling; it is a cry for help and the beginning of recovery.
Mental health is becoming more common – surely, it’s time we broke the stigma surrounding it?
Yasmin Abdo is a 21-year-old student who has struggled with mental health for many years. Prone to panic attacks and realising the damaging impact they can have, she is keen to enlighten individuals about mental health as well as encouraging those who are suffering. Yasmin likes to write and read in her spare time. Find her on instagram @whatyaswrote.