12 days left of camp and my first panic attack of the summer is well and truly under my belt. That being said though, one this whole time is still a huge achievement, I feel. Tiredness was a big factor in what happened along with feeling super homesick and anxious for a couple of days previous.I mostly managed to calm myself down before anyone really saw me too upset and by then I was just a bit teary and totally worn out. I was allowed some extra time to ring home and take a breather which helped a lot. ☎️✈️❤️
For a couple of days after the incident I was so angry at myself. I was disappointed that I had come so far without having an attack and couldn’t get my head around how I had let myself get into such a state. I really felt like I had let myself down. Everyone else can hold their shit together, why can’t I?! 💩🙄
This is a problem. This is one of the main reasons I write this blog. Stigma! 😡😡😡
The actual truth is that no one really has their shit together 100% of the time. Everyone has a breakdown every once in a while; especially in an environment like camp. In reality, a lot of people have anxiety and panic disorders. A lot of people experience panic attacks. People just don’t realise this because of the stigma surrounding mental health. These type of things are not talked about sufficiently so when they do occur, people like me are ashamed and angry with ourselves. FOR REACTIONS OUR BODIES HAVE BECAUSE OF CHEMICAL IMBALANCES.
Panic attacks are nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes they happen. We can learn how to reduce them and cope with them, but sometimes they happen. And you know what, that is totally okay!
Now, taking a step back and reevaluating the whole situation, I’m mad at myself for originally being mad at myself! Before summer I was having like 3 panic attacks a week. I have been in America almost 2 months now and I have had 1. Even without taking into account how out of my comfort zone I am, that is pretty awesome! 💪🏽
One of the first weeks of camp, I was on my own with my girls for evening activity. The prospect of spending an hour and a half keeping 13 eleven year olds safe on my own terrified me. I totally freaked out and my anxiety levels were sky high. One of my friends saw that I was panicking and stepped in to help me out really early on. If she hadn’t I would have definitely ended t up in a state.
A couple of days ago I was on my own with the girls from 6pm until past 11:30pm. When I first found out that I’d be on my own, I started panicking. Then something clicked inside me. I realised that we were all sitting down having dinner, my girls were all chatting amongst themselves and there was no issue. There was no need for me to panic! I decided that I was going to take the evening one step at a time, keep breathing and just ask for help if I needed it.
By the time we got back to the bunk for bedtime everyone was happy. I had stayed calm the whole evening and the girls had all been superstars every step of the way. I was so happy with them and myself that I let them have a sleepover in each others beds. 😴🌈🙂
I went to bed feeling like an absolute champion that night!
Like I’ve written before, I started ‘College life when you’re 5″ nothing’ with the intention of helping me to discover more about and how to manage my chronic spells of anxiety and depression. Since beginning, I have done so much research and learned so much about mental health. I genuinely believe, among other factors of course, that my blog has been an essential element to my recovery.
In saying that, I genuinely think that this summer has helped me to overcome so much! It’s definitely been the toughest thing that I’ve ever done but I feel like I’ve gotten so much out of it.
Being in such a challenging environment and being away from all my loved ones I’ve started implementing coping mechanisms that I’ve read about, just in a bid to get myself through this experience day by day and I really think that I’m stronger.
The fact that I kept 13 very headstrong young girls happy and safe by myself without panicking totally outweighs my one panic attack.
There’s been a few people, both here at camp and at home that have disclosed to me about their person mental health struggles. Some of these people haven’t told many others for fear of being judged or looked at differently. I hope that if you’re reading this and that if you’re feeling a bit alone, that you’ll get some comfort out of knowing that I struggle too. That a lot of people struggle. You never really know what other people are dealing with. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t feel isolated. Please. 💛 You got this. We got this! Recognise you’re achievements, no matter how small they are.
Aside from the anxiety, I’m generally doing great. Still missing home and Sally a lot, but I know that soon I’ll be home and wishing I was back in 🇺🇸 so I’m trying not to wish my time away. 🌼 🐶❤️
I’ll be coming home with plenty of stories, plenty of new skills, a whole new outlook and some horrifically bad tan lines. 🍊🍊
Really looking forward to seeing you all back home. Nearly there now guys, no giving up now! 🔥
Have a great day,
Kimbo. X 💕🦋🌺🌸🌻🍇