Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mental Illness and Anxiety

I wrote this post out in my head and had the perfect opening sentence (I can be reallllyy good at leads), but I was driving and by the time I got home to write it down, I forgot it. So, I guess this is the opening of this blog post. Yet another real look into my life and anxiety.

I've  been on my medicine for about half of  a month now and I can actually say that I feel like I can face my days with less anxiety, though there are still some days that are physically impossible to face. That's the thing with mental illness, it's a silent struggle, but it isn't all in your head.

Of course, the reasoning behind my anxiety and panic stems from somewhere in my brain - somewhere during processing events and feelings and thoughts. Something many people don't understand though, is that it usually turns into a physical feeling.

You're limbs can go numb; your eyesight can get fuzzy; and any number of physical things can happen. My most common is to have a tight feeling in my chest (which, I have as I write this, for reasons unknown) and difficulty breathing. I'm still breathing, but I feel like it is difficult to breathe, so I breathe faster or deeper and sometimes that can lead to hyperventilating. Other times, my heart pounds out of my chest, pumping so fast and pumping adrenaline through my body.

It's no wonder people who don't realize they have anxiety, go to the ER for panic attacks. It can feel like a heart attack.

It is so crazy to think about how the chemicals in our brains and bodies can control all of this based off of a thought that we had or a reaction or something we felt, but we don't even realize it. That's another thing about anxiety disorders, oftentimes, you can't place why you're feeling this way. You can only take steps to prevent and relax yourself.

This photo is circa 2009 right before I moved home from Ohio. I'm smiling, but I had been panicking and crying moments before. 


I know I've mentioned before the time in my life where I had upwards of 20 panic attacks a day. My therapist taught me to face my emotions, and the number decreased. I didn't realize I wasn't facing my emotions or feeling them; I thought I was. But, she taught me to get angry when something happens, instead of just accepting it. If only because getting angry would force me to address the event and come up with a solution.

I've been facing my emotions for years now, but it doesn't fix everything. This time around, my anxiety is so general, I can't seem to find where it stems from, besides feeling overwhelmed. There are only so many steps to take to stop feeling overwhelmed, save for hiding from everything - but that doesn't really fix the problem in the end.

I take my steps and I go through some rough days and I go through some amazing days. My medicine makes me feel pretty go with the flow and I really like that feeling. I imagine it is a feeling that "normal" people feel often. When everyone told me that it would just make each day more manageable, I didn't know what they mean, but now I understand. It means that each day isn't scary; it's exciting or happy.

Of course, I still have my days, like on Tuesday when I spent most of my day focusing on breathing because it seemed difficult to do. But then I woke up yesterday and today, feeling the exact opposite.

I am glad that people are trying to be more understanding of mental illness after Robin Williams' passing. Really, the best thing to do is to try to be understanding. Don't just spit out "comforting" words, because those words might actually make someone's feelings worse. Instead, ask the person how you can make them feel more comfortable. They may not know the answer, but they will appreciate your effort to understand. Oftentimes, people who struggle with mental illness have done so for so long that they have their tricks. If you ask, they will gladly share.


 photo name.jpg

Check out one of our featured Warrior Queens:

48 comments:

  1. I have been really encouraged to see so many people sharing about mental illness since the news about Robin Williams came out. I've struggled with anxiety and panic attacks, too, and it's not easy. Thanks for being open and sharing your story today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Krista KetterhagenAugust 14, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Oh anxiety- my biggest enemy. I love that people are trying to be more understanding and encouraging, I just wish more people could see how many people are affected by some sort of depression and anxiety.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good for you for sharing! Really great post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Leah from www.thatmamajama.comAugust 14, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I have social anxiety, and I was on medication for that for a while. People often don't realize how debilitating anxiety can be! I am so glad you're doing better, and working towards being even better still. We have to support each other sometimes! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I personally don't have a problem with anxiety but love the fact that you are brave and strong enough to share your story! Thanks for being awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wish you so much mental healing dear Warrior Queen. I know how difficult it is and yes, I've thought "omg I'm having a heart attack" which makes it worse, then I stress out because I'm 30 and over weight which makes me panic more. I admire your bravery for talking about such a personal topic and know that you will be able to help others heal through your posts. Please be well!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anxiety is so incredibly scary as well as misunderstood. It shouldn't be taboo, and thanks to brave people like you - others can find help in knowing they aren't alone. Thank you! <3

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been struggling with post traumatic stress disorder for many years. There are so many ups and downs and I really hate having to take prescriptions. The worst for me is when insomnia kicks in with anxiety...horrible combo. Thanks for sharing your story, it does help others know they're not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. songbirdsandbuttonsAugust 14, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    I have terrible anxiety and I'm actually medicated for it - it's something I've always struggled with. I have more anxiety around people - which is probably why I ended up blogging. Thank you for sharing your heart!

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're welcome! I share my anxiety story pretty frequently on the blog because I believe that we all need to be more open about mental health. Anxiety and panic attacks are not something to feel ashamed. I am happy that it is encouraging you, as well! Awareness like this helps us move forward

    ReplyDelete
  11. Me too! I would love to keep the conversations open everywhere. There is no such thing as a normal or cookie cutter brain, you know?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you! Yes, we definitely have to support each other! I hope your social anxiety is better! It can really be debilitating. My mom has social anxiety, but mine is more general.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you so much, and thank you for supporting and understanding those of us who suffer!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh thank you so, so much for this. You have truly touched my heart!! I wish you the calmness and happiness that can be elusive for us anxious girls! Know that your life is a full and rewarding life and we are all here to support you! (p.s. 30 is the new 21)

    ReplyDelete
  15. You're welcome and thank you for the kind words! I agree that it should not be taboo or misunderstood!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I definitely agree that there are many downsides to taking medicine, but I don't think you should feel bad that you take it. PTSD is a tough struggle. Insomnia and anxiety at the same time is HORRIBLE. I wish you the best of luck and all of my support!

    ReplyDelete
  17. You're very welcome! I wish you all of the support in your anxiety battle! I just began taking medication for my anxiety. I'm two weeks in!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is really brave of you. I'll keep you in my prayers...and remember, you're taking all the right steps. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability with us!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for being so awesome about your struggles. I've been there! No more stigma!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a great post! I have anxiety and ADD, I was medicated for my anxiety at one point. I think it is really important for people to know what struggling with these things is really like.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Awww! You are so sweet! I really enjoy your blog and you! I hope 30 is the new 21 lol I don't feel 30 but when I have anxiety I start thinking about all of these crazy things. At least I always get a very clean bill of health! Take care sweet heart!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you so much for your prayers and support! It means so much to me!

    ReplyDelete
  23. :) Thank you for your support! We really need to all join together and keep the stigma away. There is no point to it!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I agree. I know my husband struggles with my struggle, but he really does his best to understand and help me feel safe.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Aww, I am so happy to have met you in blogland! I definitely think feeling younger than your age is what it's all about! Anxiety definitely gives us the craziest thoughts. Gotta love it

    ReplyDelete
  26. I really, really hope it continues, too!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. thanks for sharing!! I'm so glad more people are opening up about mental illness now more than ever. I definitely feel you. I can't say i deal with anxiety so much.. sometimes anxiety and depression go hand in hand.. but i think mine is not coupled with anxiety. i've always had an underlying feeling of sadness most of my life. most people i talk to don't understand that it's not circumstantial. i mean.. i feel guilty for even depressed because everything in my life is seemingly perfect.. there's absolutely nothing wrong with my life. in fact it's great. but for some reason that feeling still stays with me.


    it's kind of crazy that medication can really work wonders right? when i first got on my medication, i was like.. wow i can actually go out of the house and run errands and i have a pep in my step.. before i was so unmotivated to even wake up!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I really hope that conversations like this continue even after the initial shock of Robin Williams' passing. This is so important.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you for being a little vulnerable in this post. I, myself, have never had severe depression but I do see that there is a definite need for mental health education today.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think it's really great to see that people are opening up more about depression and anxiety after Robin Williams. God bless him!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love when women can stand up and be brave enough to tell their honest story. Thank you so much for your story and I know it's helped a lot of people out there :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Aww, thank you Esther!! I agree with you, it is definitely more difficult to do things when you suffer from anxiety or depression. I'm glad that anxiety does not go hand in hand with your depression!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I agree! It is so important for everyone to be having these conversations.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm glad you haven't suffered from severe depression!!! I agree, we need to focus more on awareness with mental health because it is more "normal" than normal is.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you so much Lauren! Empowering women to be brave like this is my life mission

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have talked about depression and anxiety on my blog and always applaud those who do. It's a hard topic and people should really understand it more! Go you!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you for sharing your story. Our world needs to be more aware and understanding!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you! Go you for posting the same!!! It is definitely a hard topic, but it is my daily life, so I want to share to make others lives easier

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you for sharing your experience because it helps raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental illness! Anxiety can be a lifelong struggle, but please now that event though your blog readers are digital friends- we're here to support you!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you so much Ashley!!! It means so much to me that you are here to support me!

    ReplyDelete
  41. great post! thanks for sharing your story. i'm sure it wasn't easy but there are so many who can relate!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Absolutely wonderful post. I can totally relate, I've been working on getting my anxiety/depression under control for years. I'm in the same spot as you; most days are good, but sometimes a day rolls around where it gets difficult. I try to remember those happy days on those days, so I know that I can make it through. Good luck :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you so much! Surprisingly, sharing my anxiety has gotten easier over time. I like to be an advocate!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thank you! That is exactly what I try to do - remember that I can get through the day and take things in slow steps

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thank you so much Nikki!!! I am so sorry for your loss. It can be very difficult to talk about, I sometimes find myself going into survival mode and withdrawing, but luckily my friends know that it is not me and pull me out of it. It is a very difficult struggle for many people, and I believe that we should all be as compassionate as we can for silent struggles like mental ilness.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...