My challenges with mental health started long before my fiancé’s death. In my first year of university, I kind of fell apart. I put a lot of pressure on myself to maintain the high academic standards I’d set in high school, and I struggled with the adjustment of living on my own. My struggle wasn’t unique, it’s one that is faced by most kids making the transition to post-secondary education, but my reaction to those challenges was overblown.
I felt a tight fist of anxiety in my chest all the time, and I started having panic attacks. I’d keep myself up at night worrying, and then the next night, I’d worry that I wouldn’t be able to sleep again, and voila - a vicious cycle is born!
By the end of the first semester, my grades were great, but I was a mess. One early morning, after sitting awake in my dorm room all night battling waves of distress, I showed up in the university health clinic, wild-eyed and exhausted.
I ended up seeing a psychologist at home in Toronto over the Christmas holiday, and I was eventually diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.
In a way, having an anxiety disorder is great preparation for dealing with the sudden death of your favourite person in a foreign country. I’d spent years worrying that the worst would happen, so when it actually did, at least I had some tools in my toolbox from years of managing anxiety to help me deal with it.
I’m not saying that having dealt with anxiety previously made Rob’s death a walk in the park, that is definitely not the case, but the resources that I’d developed over the years served me well when I actually had something terrible to deal with.
Being mindful of my stress levels, the amount that I commit to taking on, and the way that relationships affect me is an ongoing task, and one that we all face on a daily basis in the pursuit of mental wellness.
We want Lost + Found to be a place where people can find things that will bring joy and comfort to their lives, and the basis of a community that approaches mental wellness without stigma or bias. We hope you’ll join us on our journey!