Monday, July 6, 2015

Mental Health Monday: Anxiety

Welcome to Mental Health Monday!  This idea was born from a session at Fitbloggin' 15 led by Steph (of Athlete at Heart) and Liz (of Prior Fat Girl) on Depression, Anxiety and Healthy Living.  Every 1st and 3rd Monday one of those wonderful ladies will host a link up for others to share their experiences with mental illness – either from personal experience or from the experience of helping and walking with others. The goal is to reach out to the world and let people know they are not alone in their struggles.  You are never alone.  Join in– link up, visit new blogs, support others.  Speak out:  “I am crazy…CRAZY AWESOME!”  (You are welcome to use the badge below!)

For my first post in the Mental Health Monday link up I want to talk about an issue I struggle with – anxiety. If you have been reading this blog for a while then you probably know that mental illness (in many forms) is something I am familiar with and it is something I discuss openly and honestly in an effort to help remove the stigma. For today, I want to talk about the mental illness that affects me in my everyday life. Although my anxiety has gotten better over the years, it is still something I struggle with. And I want to talk about it because, just like everything else I share here, it is a part of what makes me, me. 

I am not sure I come across this way but maybe you think that I have my shit together all the time. Maybe you think because I have a happy life and am always up to something new and exciting that my life is perfect. But it’s not. I mean, seriously, no one’s life is perfect. And although I really don’t have much I can complain about and yes, for the most part, things are pretty awesome I am still a human. I still have problems. I still have to actively focus of my health, wellbeing and state of mind or shit can go south pretty quickly.

And even on the happiest of days when I am off to spend time with family or friends or E and doing something I love anxiety still can creep its way in. I feel it. I can sense when it is coming. I do know how to control it- but executing/maintaining control isn’t always easy. Life gets in the way, you know what I mean?

Anywho- my point is there are still times when I have panic attacks “for no reason at all”. I used quotes there because to an outsider that’s what it might look like- me freaking out for no reason. But I assure you, that is not the case. Not that I am saying that every panic attack I have had was caused by some mega important stressor or trigger….most likely it wasn’t. Honestly the things that trigger my attacks would probably seem insignificant to most but to me they seem HUGE. Knowing what those triggers are helps, knowing how to calm myself down helps, having someone to talk me through it helps…but those coping methods aren’t 100% fail proof. I can still have a full blown panic attack even when I am doing/saying all of the right things.

That’s me.

That’s the illness.

I can be better and do better and try harder and educate others but it is still there. And sometimes it wins.

What helps?

Being 37 and having dealt with it for a very long time. I have definitely ‘grown into’ my illness.

Talking openly about it and having support around me that can help me through. I am no longer embarrassed about it and know well enough (most times) to ask for help when I need it.

Understanding triggers and working to lessen their frequency. A lot of the stress in my life is stress I put on myself. I sometimes set high expectations for myself and that causes me a lot of unnecessary worry. I know now that if I am going to set these goals and expectations that I also need to know how to balance out that stress/worry so it won’t feel so overwhelming.

Taking care of myself. Not overloading. Asking for help. Meditation or something that quiets the mind. Exercise. SELF CARE! All of these help mitigate stress in my life. Happy mind, happy body, happy Dacia.

But maybe most importantly….

Accepting that sometimes anxiety will win the fight. But knowing that I am strong enough to win the battle.

I hope you will join me in the Mental Health Monday link up. If you feel comfortable, please post something on the first and third Monday of each month and help us remove the dark cloud the stigma of mental illness has us hiding behind. If you participate in this week's posting Liz has the linkup on her page: Prior Fat Girl so be sure to share yours there :)

Love and hugs,