I would like to share my experience with a very unexpected anxiety disorder and how
psychological support has helped me throughout the biggest personal growing path I have ever experienced. I would like to say that two years ago, before my first panic attack happened, my relationship with mental health was inexistent, quite taboo and definitely illiterate. This is main reason why when everything started I was so scared and I did not know how to proceed and handle my day a day life with anxiety. Well, to be honest I did not even know I had anxiety at all. When I turned 24 I had been travelling all around the world in Europe, Asia and Africa with different NGO’s supporting extremely vulnerable groups of people with very low income. For this, I studied a degree and a masters outside my little island in the south of Spain and I became independent when I turned 18. I lived many heart enriching moments but also the most horrible side of humanity in different orphanages and extremely poor villages throughout the world. I always did this without thinking about money, always like a volunteer. After five years being director of projects without getting paid at all I got scammed for the third time with a very corrupted NGO who promised to hire me but only used me to work for free for almost a year time. This meant that I had four other jobs as an English teacher to be able to pay my rent and my life in the city I had to move in to finally get the job of my dreams. When they communicated me that they lied to me and there was not any job vacancy for me I received the worst news from home and my auntie died of cancer at a very young age. Apart from this my family was having other very serious illnesses and I just felt I really failed as a professional and as a daughter for not being able to get a job after so many years trying it so hard in my sector. This, and many other reactive and social dynamics that were hurting me and I did not realized, made my anxiety appear suddenly one night I was dining out with friends when I felt I could not breathe or talk and my heart was beating so fast I could not control it. I had the positive helping hand of my mum who had needed mental health support four years ago and introduced me to one psychologist she knew who could help me understand and give me practical tools to have a healthier and happiest relationship with me, my emotions, my life, my expectations and my social surroundings. And that was the biggest turning point in my life.

After two years, I can say now that I live a completely normal life without anxiety. However, this has been a very intense, hard-working and clarifying life evolving experience for me. Apart from what was happening outside I had to open my mind and heart to my most vulnerable self and work alongside my psychologist to improve and protect my health and wealth. I feel like in this sense it is very important to find a professional hand that you can trust and you feel comfortable with but I promise it is much easier and nicer than whatever society makes us think. The role of a psychologist is no other than to listen to you and help you digest and handle stressful and difficult situations that none has taught us from our childhood until now. It is more than understandable that if we do not receive any information about mental health in school or secondary school or even as adults we tend to think that it is very weird what we are feeling or thinking when we suffer it. Honestly, the nicest and brightest and happiest people that I have ever met, have gone through a rough path with mental health and has learnt a lot about themselves and the human mind and emotions because of this. I have never felt stronger than what I feel now, and I would never forget the life tools and practical advice that my psychologist gave me throughout the worst moments of my anxiety disorder. I would like to send the brightest energy to anyone living with a mental health issue at the moment. Remember everything is temporary and that only the bravest humans’ beings can feel fear.

This is just a transit life changing situation that will make you become a better self. I promise. Thank you to all the psychologists enriching people’s lives everywhere from the bottom of their hearts. I could not be more grateful to mental health professionals.

-Marta Ojeda
International Relations Officer, Spain


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