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I thought i wasn't normal

The mind is an interesting part of the body

Social media sometimes can be a façade of how ‘perfect’ someone’s life is. If people never had any problems, the world would be an odd place. It’s normal to not be okay, it’s normal to have a bad day every now and then.

I started having severe anxiety attacks around 5/6 years ago, I would wake up in the middle of the night in panic and fear. Hyperventilating and feeling out of control of my body. My hands would go numb and tingling.

There were various reasons my anxiety started. Bullying during high school, but also in my previous job, I was a professional actor. From job to job, going to London two times a week to be told ‘I wasn’t good enough or ‘I didn’t look right. The rejection and pressure built up and eventually caused me to pop. While working as an actor, I was building up my own digital marketing agency and I eventually left behind the acting life to focus on my passion - helping others succeed. An environment which I was in control of. I am fortunate that I was able to take myself from the situation and create a new path for myself.

Another reason that caused me anxiety was my body. My body has always been a part of me that I disliked, at about the age of 15 I started to see the symptoms of Gynecomastia on my chest area. Gynecomastia is basically a condition that causes glands to grow under your nipples due to an imbalance of hormones during puberty which causes your nipples to look puffy and a bit like a women’s breast… I spoke to my doctor, the nurse and various other practitioners, all of them said “You will grow out of it” This pushed me back massively and ruined my self-esteem. I could not wear T-shirts, take my top off in public, swim in the ocean without a rash vest on, it turned my life upside down. It set my anxiety off massively.

I thought I wasn't normal, but Gynecomastia affects 65% of men. The NHS rarely covers the surgery. On 2nd April 2019, I went to London and had surgery to remove the glands and make my chest flat again. The best decision of my life and I am so thankful to my surgeon for changing my life and improving my self-confidence about my body.

The main issue that was causing my anxiety has gone, I feel a weight off my shoulders. For me, medication was not the best way to treat anxiety, I’ve been there, done that and it didn’t work for me personally. After my surgery and while my business was growing, I decided to seek professional help. My doctor threw Beta Blockers at me which made me so sick, so I reached out to a private therapist which hands down was the best decision I have made in this journey.

" I was in a safe space and I could heal myself with the aid of a professional. After those five or 6 sessions, I was a different person and I could control my anxiety. The best piece of advice I can give is to seek that extra help if you need and as cliché as it sounds, talk to someone. It really is okay not to be okay. "

Tom Jauncey


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