What you are experiencing is real. Your emotions are valid.

Ce que tu vis, c’est réel. Tes émotions sont valides.

Personal dictionary of negative manifestations of my mental state from the age of 15:

  • Panic attacks
  • Dizziness
  • Heartache
  • Stomach ache
  • Cry every day without knowing or understanding why
  • Insomnia
  • Change of appetite
  • Physical pain that sometimes needs to be treated by a professional

The hardest part was that people didn't believe me. Despite the physical signals, they played down what I was experiencing inside, how I felt. My anxiety and its symptoms were trivialized at a phase that was about to pass, probably adolescence ... When I say "we", I mean professionals like the educator of my high school and my family doctor, but also my entourage. . I don't think it was voluntary of them. I sincerely believe it is out of ignorance or misunderstanding of the challenges of mental health.

No matter how much I put in place all the tools I had accumulated on my own and through external support, I was no better. The pain of living was still present. I felt alienated and abnormal. Despite the good lifestyle habits I established, my condition continued to deteriorate. It took 5 years before I got help and another three years before I was assessed in psychiatry. It took a total of 8 years before I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. This means that I was 8 years old feeling lonely, misunderstood and guilty for my unhappiness.

I had to go to hospital to be taken seriously. It shouldn't be. However, since I have been listened to and taken the time to try to understand what is going on inside, I feel free from a burden. I now know that I am surrounded and especially that I am not crazy. That everything I've been through is valid. That we all have different situations and that we should not compare ourselves because we all deal with our emotions in different ways. It's important to follow our instincts and listen to yourself. It's okay to ask for help because only you know what's going on inside.

Raising awareness among people, whether professionals or those around us, is extremely important. It saves lives. It makes lives more beautiful. It neutralizes taboos. It breaks the insulation. That’s why it’s important to listen to yourself and keep talking about it.

Now, at 23, I don't feel like an alien anymore. I trust myself more, I know my worth and I am more alert to what is going on inside of me.

Like me, you are not alone.

I believe you and I believe in you.

-Pamela