health

With one sentence, Sophie Cachia changed how we think about anxiety.

Sophie Cachia just added a crucial point to the way we view anxiety and mental health conditions.

Speaking with Show And Tell Online, the creator of successful blog The Young Mummy spoke about what it was like when anxiety first got a grip on her life.

“There was no trigger point in my life that I went, ‘That’s it’,” she explained.

“When I started to see psychologists, they’d say, ‘Have you suffered any trauma?’ And I’m sitting there going, ‘No, I’ve just got engaged, I’ve got a beautiful healthy baby, and I’ve got a wonderful family’,” she explained.

“You start to think, ‘What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I feeling like this?'”

When speaking about mental health conditions, we often assume there’s a definite reason behind it all. The clear beginning of a new chapter. A defined line: ‘before’ and ‘after’. Something like a death in the family. Infertility issues. Unemployment. Relationship problems.

While this is certainly the case for some people, it’s not the case for everyone. Which is partly why mental health conditions are so difficult for many to process and understand. Someone with anxiety who doesn’t seem to harbour any of life’s standard red flags should surely just be able to “suck it up”, right?

Sophie’s experience proves just how wrong this attitude is. (Post continues after gallery.)

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Her life was seemingly perfect. Nothing was lacking. And yet, she was confronted with anxiety. It consumed her.

Sophie questioned how she could be feeling this way when life was so good, but that’s the thing. Anxiety, depression, the whole spectrum of mental health conditions – they don’t discriminate.

It’s not a prerequisite that your life must be disintegrating before your very eyes in order to develop a mental health issue that’s out of your control. You don’t need to be in a supremely vulnerable state in order for it to catch up with you. And you are not a bad person if it does. You absolutely should not feel guilty.

Dr Stephen Carbone, beyondblue Policy, Research and Evaluation Leader agrees.

“While some people can pinpoint a particular trigger, like a stressful or traumatic life event immediately beforehand, for some it does – as it did with Sophie – come completely out of the blue,” he explains.

sophie cachia snapchat

Image: Instagram @theyoungmummy.

There are so many reasons behind why people have mental health conditions.

“They’re a mix of biological predisposition, for some people it might be a genetic predisposition, they might have a family history of a particular condition. It might be due to their personality, being perfectionistic. Or it might be due to early life experiences where some people might have had difficult upbringings or were exposed to violence and abuse," Dr Carbone explains.

"It can, of course, be your current life situation where there’s too much on your plate or difficult relationships. But sometimes it can just happen without a really clear, obvious explanation… and people need to be aware of that."

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The first time Sophie became anxious, she was on a flight that was halfway to the Sunshine Coast. Her son Bobby was sitting on her lap.

“I don’t remember thinking anything at the time and all of a sudden I just had these tingles up - it was like a river - it was rushing up my leg. It was coming and I was thinking, ‘What’s happening to my body?’" she recalls.

"My heart started racing, I was getting dizzy, I vomited... I’d never experienced anything like that in my life.” (Post continues after gallery.)

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After this she had numerous panic attacks, noting one day in particular when she was hanging out the washing and was struck by an attack that wouldn’t stop.

Her husband Jaryd even drove her to the hospital in the middle of the night a couple of times, when she thought she might be about to have a heart attack or that her sore head might be a brain tumour. It was all down to her anxiety.

To deal with the issue, Sophie decided to get help.

“I was seeing a psychologist sometimes two, three times a week. I was highly medicated for a while there. I’d need sleeping tablets every night to go to sleep,” she explains.

Sophie’s circumstances show that mental health issues can happen to anyone, at any life stage, in any circumstances. It’s a health condition as genuine as any other, and it deserves the treatment and the compassion that other illnesses do.

Image: Show and Tell.

Have you ever experienced a panic attack?

If you're struggling with your mental health, head to the beyondblue website here, call 1300 22 4636 and see your health professional.

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