A Mental health problem can affect anyone, at any point in our lives. It’s important to know where to go for support when you are struggling, or when you’re having more bad days than good days.
One person who knows this more than ever is 21 year old Teri Ellington. Local blogger turned entrepreneur, Teri chatted to us about her anxiety and how she wished there was more awareness around mental health growing up, like there is now.
Teri is one example where receiving support and talking to people how she was feeling, helped her in her recovery and hopes sharing her story, will help people who aren’t sure where to go.
What age did you start to notice you were feeling low and not yourself?
“The anxiety started soon after my first panic attack when I was 16. I had never experienced one before and at first, I thought I was having a heart attack. I was shaking, sweating, had severe chest paints and I felt as though my lungs weren't expanding, making me believe I wasn't able to breath. This made the panic attack worse.
Soon after I started to experience different forms of anxiety, I tried to go back to school but was unable to do so, being around groups of people made me feel as though the space around me was closing in, making it difficult to breath. Due to the anxiety and the daily panic attacks, I had to sit my GCSE’s at home. This made me feel very isolated from the rest of the world due to agoraphobia and having panic attacks trying to leave the house, this caused depression.”
Do you wish there was more awareness growing up?
“I was 16 when this all started, I was very young. I am 21 years old and it’s only been in the last two to three years the amount of awareness and help that there is available now, unlike when I was 16. I felt very alone as there was no one else that was going through what I was going through. I tried to look on the internet and YouTube, but there wasn't much information as there is now. I am thankful that there is more information and more awareness now.
At 16 I didn't feel I could express my thoughts and talk to the doctors about my every day battle with my anxiety, I was scared that anyone would judge me, as many people who have mental health feel as though they will be judged.”
How would you describe how you were feeling to someone who may be struggling now?
“With anxiety and depression you can feel very alone. Every day I battled with my own mind, I couldn't leave the house, but I couldn't stay in the house by myself either.
Every day was a living nightmare, the only peace I had was at night when I went to sleep because my thoughts would disappear. If there is someone of any age struggling like I did, there is help available and in time things really do get better and the anxiety and depression does get easier to manage, it never goes away, I still get it from time to time, but from support and meditation I am able to control it and not let it control me.”
How does social media make you feel? Would you recommend people who are struggling to talk about it online?
“Social media has its negatives, but it also has its positives. It has opened many opportunities not just for myself but also for many people. It’s a platform for people to talk about what they are going through. Since I uploaded my YouTube video speaking out about my life and the struggles I have gone through, I have had so many lovely comments and people telling me that they went through the same thing or something similar but different. I never had that at 16, I didn't watch any videos or see people talk about it.
If someone of 16 sees my video or of any age and it helps them not feel alone or feel hope then, that's all I can ask for.”
What advice would you say to someone reading this who is thinking 'me too'?
“If you are struggling with any form of anxiety or depression or any mental health issues, it is okay to speak up about it. You're not alone, there is always a family member, friend, GP, charities like Mind that you can speak to about it.
No one will judge you, this was a thought I dealt with for a long time. With time, it gets easier and there are methods that can help. I find exercising, keeping busy and even meditating can help.
At a young age I didn't think that I would be running my own business Ellington Timepiece at the age of 21, and I didn't see myself having much of a life as depression can take away all forms of energy and determination, I was 15 when I had my first acting experience with the BBC playing a part in Wolfblood.
If there is someone who is young or older reading this, I want them to know that you can do whatever it is, you want to do with your life. You are not weak, and you are not a failure, sometimes you have to take a few steps back and take care of your health before you can move forward.”
If you or someone you know may like some support, you can call us on 01642 257020 or for more information visit our services page.