Worth Living Ambassador Kimberley Robinson
Hi! My name is Kimberley, I am 21 years old and I am from England. I feel like anxiety has always been a part of my life from a young age but wasn’t diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder till I was 17. Having struggled with it for four years, in recent months I have also been diagnosed with depression. Just an aspiring counsellor fighting the stigma one day at a time!
Is There a Way Out Of Here?
I often think back to times in my childhood where I think, ah it makes sense now. At six years old I thought it was ‘normal’ to be sat crying in the dinner hall not wanting to eat my dinner because it was too loud. I felt like the walls were crashing around me and I felt sick to my stomach. I’m guessing that must have been where it all started? When I received invitations to class mates’ parties, I would cry to my mum and tell her I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want her to leave me. Moving up through the years of primary school would be a constant struggle, starting a new class with a new teacher, what if they shouted at me? What if I couldn’t keep up with my friends in my class? Everyone is going to laugh at me.
My anxiety subsided when I started high school which is quite surprising. I rarely had any bouts and I enjoyed going to school. From the age of 13, I dreamed of being a nurse, I have always wanted to help people, I am extremely empathetic and compassionate and I thought I would make a fantastic nurse.
When I left school, I went to college and studied a health and social care course where I delved even more into the nursing career. The more I learnt the more I wanted to know. Whilst coming to the end of my first year of college, my mum and dad split up after being together 26 years. My life was turned upside down, I suddenly had more responsibility as my younger sister was only 12. My dad moved out and my mum started to have a ‘social life’ and was online dating. My dad became depressed and he would text me all day everyday asking what my mum was doing and telling me he didn’t know if he could go on anymore without her and without living with me and my sister.
It’s safe to say that’s when my anxiety hit me HARD. I started my second year of college and I was struggling a lot. I was gagging when I was waking up in the morning because I was so nervous about going. I used to have to run to the bus stop and get on the bus before I changed my mind and turn back. It only got worse from there, I felt completely alone, my mum got into a new relationship, my dad got into a new relationship, my sister was too young to understand and I just felt so alone. I went to the doctors to get a proper diagnosis. They told me I had generalised anxiety disorder but didn’t really help me with much else. I was skipping college, somehow I managed to finish my course and by some miracle I received 3 A*’s (top marks) and secured a place at university after going through an absolutely draining interview process.
Although I had my place at nursing school, I felt like it was nothing but a dream to become the nurse I have always wanted to be as my anxiety was just too debilitating.
After leaving college I had a few months gap before starting university so I got myself a job and I met my wonderful boyfriend. My anxiety was ok, I could function, I felt a lot better than I had done and I thought I had gotten through it. I started nursing school a little wobbly but just put it down to healthy nerves. I passed my first semester with flying colours and I was doing really well, but then anxiety started creeping back up on me and I could feel it going out of control. I managed to get through my second semester but didn’t know how much further I could go.
I was approaching the end of my first year and my final exam and placement were coming up. I managed to get through the exam (just about), my boyfriend was extremely supportive, and held me whilst I was crying in his car before I had to go in and sit the exam. I was a wreck. Somehow I got through it though.
My first day at my final placement came and I crumbled. I never went back. My dream was over. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I had let myself down. My anxiety completely took over my life. I had developed debilitating health anxiety from learning about lots of different things whilst at nursing school and I convinced myself that my horrible tension headaches that I had been having were something a lot more serious. For nearly two years I still believed it was something serious, suffering every day, four visits to the doctors about them, whilst they ‘reassured’ me I was fine.
Since leaving university, I have a had a couple of jobs in customer service but anxiety has made me really struggle and chipped away at me every single day. I have been subject to discrimination and singled out because of my mental illness within work places which made me extremely passionate about squashing the stigma around mental illness. It’s been a blessing in disguise as I believe this is what I should be doing in life.
I have been blogging about mental illness, I have secured a place at university again studying psychology, counselling and psychotherapy which I start in September and I hope to pursue a career in helping and supporting people who live with the mental illness every day. I have been put here to make a difference in the way people see mental illness and that’s exactly what I set out to do.
Thank you so much for reading
P.s go follow my Instagram @whereanxietytalks !!