“I’ve Been Here Before”

I’ve been here before.

This is what I thought last night as I struggled with anxiety. I thought about how I was tired of ending up in the same situation – feeling both sad and weak due to my anxiety. I thought about how I wish I could go back to doing simple things without feeling anxious.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I never feel hopeless and downtrodden, because I do. I hate feeling burdened with anxiety; feeling like its in control. Believe it or not, I used to be someone who loved to go out shopping, hang out with friends, and be able to do things without much stress. I still like doing those things, but I don’t feel like they’re easy anymore. I hate that feeling.

As I sat struggling last night, I wondered how and if I’d ever get through my anxiety. After all, I’ve been going through it for so long, how can I be sure it will ever be a thing of the past? I don’t think this is a totally unreasonable question. It’s hard to have faith sometimes when you constantly see yourself suffering.

The thing that we all have to remember, is that many of us have made progress. Many of us have faced our fears and succeeded – I know I have. Just because we may have bad days or moments, does not mean that we haven’t experienced times of achievement or that we’re not on the road to recovery. All it means is that we have to work harder on a more consistent basis. We will get through our anxiety and over our other obstacles!

So if you’re wondering how you’re supposed to believe in yourself, you’re not alone. I think many people feel this way. It’s okay to sometimes feel less than 100% confident, you’re only human. What’s not okay is to allow these doubts to take control, to give them credence. We are stronger than our obstacles!

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National Mental Health Day

Today is National Mental Health Day. Before I begin, I would like to thank everyone who supports me in my journey to get through anxiety. It’s a difficult issue to deal with and I am extremely grateful for your support!

One of the things that really bothers me are the misconceptions that surround mental health issues. There are many that upset me, but one of the ones that I personally deal with the most is the assumption that mental health issues are easy to get through and that they are a sign of immaturity, weakness, or laziness. None of these things are true. Mental health issues can be just as difficult to deal with as physical ones. For some reason, many people seem to dismiss this fact.

Battling with negative thoughts, irrational fears, and other mental health problems is not easy. It’s not something that you can just snap out of. Just because getting through anxiety or over other obstacles can take time, does not mean that those who struggle are not trying their absolute hardest on a daily basis.

I personally have struggled with anxiety for several years and know first hand how difficult dealing with the mental health issue can be. There are so many things that I love to do that anxiety holds me back from doing. Yes, I try my hardest to overcome my fears, but that does not mean that my anxiety will just vanish. I only wish it was that simple.

I know that I can’t expect everyone to understand – none of us can. There will always be people who don’t know what it’s like to struggle with a mental health issue. There will always be people who think that we are making up our struggles or simply not strong enough to overcome them. What’s important is that we believe in ourselves and that we remind ourselves that we are stronger than our anxiety.

If you are reading this and are someone who finds it difficult to understand what others go through, please try to remember that we all struggle with something. Just because you may not deal with the same issues, does not mean that they are not real. Also, even if you can’t exactly understand what someone is going through, please try your hardest to be kind to those around you.

To those of you who struggle, you can get through this!

 

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The Importance of Sharing Your Experiences

A friend of mine mentioned how I haven’t posted about my anxiety on here in a while. This is very true and I think the reason for this is because, honestly, not much has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some improvements and these improvements are far from unimportant, it just doesn’t seem like I’ve made tons of progress in terms of getting through my anxiety.

Maybe another reason I haven’t posted about my anxiety much lately is because it’s a little embarrassing to me that I’m still struggling so much. I’m so happy for how far I’ve come and I know that I’ve made a lot of progress since the very beginning of my struggle with anxiety, but I still feel like I have a long way to go.

I hate going through this – I hate not doing the things I love because my anxiety makes me feel weaker than I actually am. Anxiety isn’t always the easiest thing to shake off and it has a way of trying to convince you of things that are far from the truth.

I guess I’ve felt like I haven’t had much to say about my anxiety as of late. It’s not as if I’ve made an unbelievable amount of progress or that it’s as if I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be so anxious. No, I still know what that feeling is like and I still experience it quite a bit.

The truth is though, that I have made progress and that every bit of progress is important. I’ve gotten outside more, I’ve been doing better inside the house, and I even published two books! These are amazing accomplishments! I’ve always felt that any positive accomplishment is worth celebrating and that every individual who has been through something has something valuable to share. Who am I to doubt the importance of my words or the words of anyone else?

Don’t doubt that you have something important to say. Don’t doubt that you can help others. Just because you’re struggling does not mean you haven’t made progress!

I hope that everyone’s doing well.

*Special thanks to the friend who reminded me why I started this blog.

 

 

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Be the change

A great post by Matt about ending the stigma placed on mental health!

In Silence We Suffer

We can all relate to feelings of stress and anxiety, perhaps even depression, maybe it’s not something that you suffer from yourself, but I’m fairly certain that you will know someone who does. Mental illness is something rarely discussed, even though it is particularly prevalent in young adults, like you and me.

As I have written before, it is estimated that 1 in 4 of us suffer from a mental illness, but I’m not sure how precise that finding is. Just think of the stigma that still exists today, which only encourages many sufferers to stay silent, and to continue to hide their problems from the outside world. How many go unaccounted for? How many people suffer in silence?

The thing with stigma is that it doesn’t have to be real in order to be felt. This might sound contradictory and counter-intuitive, but I promise you that it’s not…

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Nothing more

Matt over at In Silence We Suffer gives great advice! Please check out his wonderful blog!

In Silence We Suffer

In life we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to the people around us. Oh, how I wish I could be as laid-back as so-and-so. But what we don’t always realise is that we are actually comparing ourselves to the image that they project, the way that they want to be seen. We see no faults in their appearance, and perhaps foolishly, perhaps naively, we believe that no faults exist. We compare ourselves to them without knowing the whole truth.

Everybody has secrets, which they hide from the light of day. If they do not confide in us, perhaps we will never know them. How can we compare ourselves to other people when we can see nothing but the positives in them and the negatives in ourselves?

We can only compare ourselves to the person that we were yesterday. To strive to live each day as the best version of…

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Exercise: What I’m Learning

So as I’ve mentioned plenty of times, my therapist has suggested to me that I exercise every day to help boost my strength both physically and mentally. While I’ve been trying to do so ever since he told me to, I admit that there are times when I lose momentum, which is never a good thing. However, I’m started to learn something important about exercising and facing our fears.

About a week ago, I bought an exercise ball. Suffice it to say, at first I was awful at it – I was falling on my butt more than I was balancing on it. Seriously, the videos I was watching make it like it’s so simple to balance on it- for me, it wasn’t. However, after some help from my dad and continued effort, I learned how to balance better and do the exercises I wanted to do. Now that I’m better at it, I’m enjoying myself and I want to spend more and more time exercising!

That’s the thing about exercising and facing our fears – the better we get at it, the harder we want to work. My therapist always says that facing our fears is like exercising, you have to continue to work hard or you’ll lose momentum and we can’t afford that. So continue to work hard and enjoy yourself while you do!

Thank you to everyone who supports me in my journey to get through anxiety!

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Motivation

Motivation can sometimes seem impossible to come by. Even when we want to do something with all our heart and soul, we can feel as if we have no energy to take the necessary steps to accomplish our goals.

I have been noticing a lack of motivation and energy for a while now. As many of you know, I would love nothing better than to get through my anxiety and to live a ‘normal’ life. I absolutely hate how anxiety is always getting in the way of things I want to do and accomplish. Still though, there have been so many times when I put off exercising and practicing facing my fears – two things that I know I have to do consistently to make progress.

As I may have mentioned before, I tried setting my alarm clock on my phone so that when the alarm went off, I would know to exercise. Let’s just say that after a while, I started to ignore the alarm. Even when I changed the tune to the most annoying sound available, I would end up just letting it go. I knew even when it was happening that it wasn’t a good idea, but let’s face it – sometimes we’re just lazy or not in the mood to exercise or do what we know we have to.

The other day I saw my therapist and told him that I had come up with another way to help myself stay motivated and actually carry out the exercises that I know are necessary to make real progress. My idea? I’ve decided that until I’m allowed to write, I have to do some exercises.

Now I know what you may be thinking – that’s awfully extreme. When you really think about it though, it’s not. Getting through my anxiety is extremely important to me and the better I am at getting through my anxiety and not allowing it to control my life, the more I’ll be able to do what I want in life. By not letting myself do something I love until I exercise, I show myself that there is a correlation between exercising and writing. The connection, you ask? If I want to be a professional writer, the best way to do that is to overcome my fears so that I can go out in the real world and try to become the professional author that I want to be. If I’m more confident with getting out, I can get a job that helps me become more successful in writing and I can start living the life I want to live!

I’m not saying this plan would work for everyone, but if you’re searching for a way to almost force yourself to exercise and face your fears, it might just be something you should try! For example, maybe you love to read. Tell yourself that until you can read, you have to do so many exercises or face your fear in some way or another.

Sometimes we need to come up with creative and safe ways to motivate ourselves. While one might think that wanting something will all your heart and soul is motivation enough, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes we have to find other ways to get ourselves to do what’s necessary to succeed!

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