Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 – “GAD, Movies & Me” (Feature)

MHALOGO
Written by…well me actually!


I’ve always loved movies and I’ve always loved writing, but until I started this blog, my two passions hadn’t really met before. I had always thought about starting a blog but wasn’t really sure what my niche could be, plus I lacked all confidence in myself to actually stick to it, and had had several failed attempts at getting one going in the past. The funny thing is, it took reaching my lowest point to finally take the plunge and get started on this life-changing journey.

I was officially diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) in August 2016, a whole year and a bit after I started writing, but in reality I had been battling this disorder and my own personal demons for a lot longer. It is hard to describe the constant hardship of dealing with GAD, and even harder to explain to people that it isn’t one particular thing that makes you feel anxious, it is everything! It is a never ending void of swirling emotions that comes in waves but is always constant. The best way I can describe it is that it is like being in a vast ocean of worry; most of the time your head will be just above the water, but there’s also times when you feel like you are drowning completely and you’re not sure if anything can ever pull you out.

Movies were the thing that pulled me out, and more specifically writing about them. When my anxiety felt all-consuming and overwhelming I could watch a film and escape to a world far less complex than my own. When all I wanted to do was lie in bed, fighting with the thoughts in my own head which made me feel constantly on edge and wrought with anxiety, I would force myself to get in my car and drive to the cinema; I had films to see and reviews to write and they weren’t going to watch or write themselves!

Writing is such a catharsis for me, and some people (rather unhelpfully I might add!) thought I should stop writing so much because I was putting too much pressure on myself, and perhaps it was the constant writing and watching that was making me feel anxious in the first place! Trying to explain that writing was the only thing keeping me going was difficult, and it might sound like hyperbole but it was true. I couldn’t get myself out of bed to run errands or get some food, but I could get out of bed for movies. Some days I couldn’t face talking to people because the weight of my anxiety was too great, but I found I could still lose myself in a movie and talk about that, even if it was just through the medium of writing rather than verbally.

Movies helped me undoubtedly but there were of course other factors at work. I had a course of CBT (and am planning to start my second soon), was put on medication, and gradually I started opening up to people about my problems. I had to make some painful decisions in my life to shut off some relationships and factors which were not helpful for my mental well-being, finding solace in my amazing group of real-life friends who were constantly understanding and patient with me, and the incredible film community of Twitter and the film-blogging world.

As many might already know, I met my now boyfriend Martin through this wonderful online community, someone who is just as passionate about movies as I am (maybe even more so!), who has provided a constant support and rock in my most difficult times and continues to stand by me even when my anxiety is making it difficult. It is through movies, and through writing about movies, that I was able to meet Martin, and for that I am eternally grateful!

If anything I have spoken about is resonating with you then I urge you to seek help. You can talk to me, you can talk to professionals, you can talk to someone close to you, but please talk to someone. You are not alone, and whatever you are going through I promise you can get through it. My anxiety is a constant battle, but it is also one I can win.

To sort of paraphrase myself and my review sign off here, I started a movie blog (and saw lots of movies!) and you can too. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

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2 comments

  1. Great post, and I totally can appreciate your struggles with GAD, as I too fight the same struggle. Movies are such wonderful friends to me; I first saw Silver Linings Playbook after I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and couldn’t relate MORE to the characters. They nailed all the right symptoms in that movie, and I willingly argued with people who stated otherwise…because those characters WERE me. I’m glad you’ve found solace in writing…I find that it helps me too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    I have often found films to be a great sanctuary whenever I suffered bouts of depression or anxiety created by my Asperger’s so I can relate to your plight, and like you, running my blog and discussing them on Twitter has been a boon for me too.

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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