Back to life

by Gitte L. Christensen – Recently I read a statistic from “Psykriatrifonden” saying that more than 25% of us suffer from anxiety attacks and in recent years there has been more and more focus on mental illnesses such as anxiety, stress and depression. For some time it was considered as an “easy” label to get attention, in stead of a real disease, so it could be hard to get people to understand the severity of it. However, this has changed a lot and currently there is a strong focus on helping people affected by the disease, both to make life easier for them but also to make it easier to regain their health and get back to work.

Exactly how hard it is to suffer from anxiety is really well known for me, therefore I’ll tell my story, perhaps it can help other people to see, that there is a solution even though problems seem to be enormous and darkness is endless and stifling.

Life has been one hell of a ride for me, like, I guess, it is for everybody, but in my case I had some extra luggage to carry along. In my early years of primary school I was bullied, which went on from kindergarden and continued until I left the public school system. Nobody did anything about it. When I continued in highschool, I was so messed up, that I had no clue what was right or wrong. Since then it has been a constant struggle to reconstruct myself to get the life I have always dreamt of.

At Christmas in 2009, I hit the bottom of the black hole in which I felt I had fallen into, I wanted it all to stop, I did not care how, I just wanted it to stop. I had all of my dearest family around me but I couldn’t see anything but the darkness in my life.
Soon after that I was diagnosed with stress, anxiety and depression! My life had rambled together over my head and there was only one person to clean it up – myself. After a long time of being ill, I started working again in the retail store, that had been a part of the reason why I got sick in the first place. I only worked limited hours, but working in a store is very stressful and definitely not good for my health, and I soon realized that if I should become some kind of normal person, I had to find something else to do with my life.

So I did some “soul-searching” and found out that I would have to start to study again and thereby upgrade my education. This would give me some room to recover and at the same time I would become stronger in the working life.

Gitte

CPH Business Academy became my salvation, and totally by accident I ended up in a international class, which at first scared the hell out of me, but within a few months I was almost fluent in English both in speaking and in writing. I did well in school and most importantly I became more and more happy.
Of course, it did not turn out to be as easy as I thought. After I had started school the next summer my mother almost died. It was precisely 3 years after my first breakdown, obviously this was a setback and I left Copenhagen to be closer to my mother.

I began studying a Danish version of my education in Aarhus, but no matter how hard I struggled, it did not work for me. My mother survived and she slowly regained strength, but I took a little longer to regenerate. At some point I had to drop out of school in Aarhus. Again it took some deep breaths and a lot of kicks from my family before I realized that I could not give up.

A NEW BEGINNING

I signed up for the education in Copenhagen again (CPH Business Academy), and soon I started my last period of training.

It took 6 months, before I threw the famous anti-depressive pills out, even though several doctors repeatedly had told me that it was dangerous to suddenly stop. But I truly felt that they did not do anything good for me. Therefore, I symbolically flushed them down the toilet, as a sign that now that part of my life had ended and now I only looked forward.

I continued to get better and better and I could feel how I became stronger. In June this year I graduated and finally  I can say that I have  achieved a Bachelor in International Sales and Marketing Management.

I was so happy that I could cry and instead of having a huge party and going crazy with too many people, I celebrated with one of the persons who had been there for me through it all. She had both laughed and cried with me, I gave her also a gift for the burden she had taken on her shoulders to help me through it all. I’m still to this day not sure if the gift will ever be big enough – I owe her my life.

I now know that the diagnosis is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – it is a result of the bullying I experienced in my childhood, it is the same disease soldiers who have been at war might experience, and it is very hard to manage. Therefore, I find it important to focus on how to avoid this disease and to prevent bullying, because it ruins many people lives BUT most importantly;

It IS possible to find a way through it all!!