An Open Letter To My Anxiety

Before I start this I just have to say that I was inspired to write this by swiftiewithfragilex who is an amazing blogger as well as an incredible Youtuber. She has not only given me lots of inspiration but has become a great friend too. I would highly recommend anyone reading this to take the “Open Letter Challenge.”

Dear Anxiety,

I guess I’ve always been a little paranoid and I’ve always had the tendency to overthink everything and I can’t say that your appearance in my life is completely unexpected. I don’t know why I’m like this- maybe it’s the way I was raised or maybe I’m just genetically predispositioned to be an anxious person. Honestly, it could easily be either.

You joined me soon after your co-worker depression decided to leave. All my life I’ve felt as if I need to be cautious, as though I should always expect impending doom and once you joined me it only got worse. I stopped being myself. I felt as if my life, my mind, my personality was slowly deteriorating and I could do nothing to stop it.

The light headedness, the nausea, the headaches, the random panic and the social phobia were beginning to pull me under. With depression it felt like I was at the bottom of an ocean with a rock tied to my foot but with anxiety it was more like someone just threw me into the water and no matter how hard I tried to swim, to get back up I just kept going further and further down. I was drowning in my own panic and paranoia. I felt permanently exhausted both physically and psychologically as though I had no strength left. It takes more strength than most people realise to be panicked and uncomfortable all the time.

But the truth is that I have learnt to live with anxiety. I have learnt to live with the irrational thoughts, the feeling of fear and impending doom, the occasional lightheadedness and panic attacks, the cold sweats and nausea.

The only thing I have left to say is that I thought anxiety would ruin my life but it only made me stronger, braver, more determined to do as I choose without constantly worrying what the aftermath would be. As long as it keeps pushing me up I’m going to keep swimming upwards trying to break free. It no longer controls me, I control it.

***

If you or anyone you know is suffering from anxiety or any mental disorder please seek help . It is important that you make sure your mental health doesn’t bring you down and there are lots of people out there that offer help. Mental illness often also effects those around us and a lot of times couples counselling can help your significant other understand what you are going through better.

Thanks for reading this and if you enjoyed it please give it a like, follow, share and comment.

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Living With Social Anxiety

It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to everyone and it is a big deal! Social anxiety can take over the life of the person that is affected by it. Social anxiety is nothing like the normal fear that people usually feel, instead it has a crippling effect and small everyday situations can seem terrifying. For a socially anxious person every single little detail counts. It doesn’t matter whether people understand how we feel or not because at the end of the day we will always be worried about something or the other.

Sometimes we look completely calm on the outside like we’re totally fine with everything that’s going on when in reality we’ve already devised plans to run away to Finland in our heads. Even when we pretend like we’re totally calm little details that most people usually don’t even seem to notice can drive us crazy on the inside. Our minds are always working on overdrive and we’re always coming up with frightening scenarios in our head about all the things that could possibly go wrong. So the next time you see us sitting quietly in a corner looking like we’re intensely thinking of something we’re probably freaking out about what would happen if there was a zombie apocalypse or even worse if a stranger talked to us.

Meeting new people can be one of the scariest things ever for us. We feel trapped, uncomfortable and suffocated. Even worse than being introduced to new people is being alone with new people, like when a friend ditches you with someone they think you have “lots in common with.” We have no idea how to start conversations and by the time we’re done thinking of a topic to mention something about it has probably been like five minutes and there’s already an awkward silence. We don’t mean to make people uncomfortable but sometimes we’re just shy and don’t know what to say. For this reason it’s really hard for us to make new friends because we can never really interact with anyone. We always have our guards up and definitely have trust issues. This can sometimes (almost always) make it difficult to talk to someone you’re attracted to and it’s hard to even think about dating someone and sometimes it feels like you’ll never trust someone enough to picture yourself being in a relationship with them. The advantage to this however is that we have a small group of friends we’re insanely close to and really comfortable around. These friends are probably a little shy and awkward like us but they’re loyal, down-to-earth and most importantly they get us.

A really cool thing about having social anxiety is that soon you learn to profile people and you can almost accurately guess their personality type. This really helps because it makes it easier for you to find someone you can better relate to and you can know who is approachable and who you should definitely avoid. Profiling people is a skill we eventually pick up- it gets better over time. Soon you know your crowd and the people you would most likely have things in common with.

So this next one is going to sound crazy to people who don’t have social anxiety but talking on the phone can be really terrifying. Picking up the phone and talking to someone you don’t know or calling unfamiliar people can be really scary. It’s almost like a phobia. It’s really difficult to explain this one but there’s something about talking on the phone that gives us chills. Maybe it’s because we can’t really tell what the other person is thinking because we can’t see them or maybe it’s just that we find it hard to verbalize our thoughts well because anxiety can really mess with your train of thought.

Change is frightening and it is very difficult for us to tolerate anything being different. Ironically, for me, change in general is perfectly fine and I believe the world does need to change a lot if we want the human race to not go extinct in a few hundred years but when it comes to little changes like someone moving something it can be really irritating. It’s like an itch in your brain that you just can’t scratch that won’t go away until everything goes back to normal.

Being picked on or even mentioned by others especially in class can give us mild panic attacks. We do not like attention to a point where we will keep information to ourselves even if we know we’re right like when a teacher asks the class a question we won’t answer even if we have the correct answer.

The sad part is that people constantly question your behavior and since most people with social anxiety already have low self-esteem issues it can get very difficult. We are kind of perfectionists as it is because we need things to be perfect so that the aftermath isn’t as catastrophic as we imagine it will be. Bullies tend to have a field day making our lives more difficult than it already is because they know we’ll squirm and we probably won’t fight back. Plus, we’re touchy about little things like our weight, appearance, clothing etc. People have a hard time understanding how we feel because they can’t empathize with something they’ve never experienced. They look at us differently- we’re either invisible to them or we’re the weird kids who can’t socialize. Sometimes we just want to be ‘normal’ and hope as an adult we can just be like everyone else and not always crippled by anxiety. Sometimes it seems like it would be so much easier to just be someone else. People think we’re really sensitive but we can’t help it because we’re always at the edge of our seats waiting for something to go wrong like it always does.

The library rules. It’s the safest place in school because it’s like there’s an anti-bully/anti-stupid spell on it. Empty libraries are amazing because you get to be alone for a while and you stop thinking so much as you get lost in a book. Even if it is just for a short time you get to be free and unafraid. We love alone time and tend to be introverts.

We try to avoid all social gatherings and it doesn’t matter what we miss out on as long as we’re not forced to socialize. Taking pictures sucks because it makes us rethink our fashion choices, makeup up choices, hairstyle choices etc. Like I mentioned we’re sensitive… We are super uncomfortable being late and walking into a room that’s already full because that means the attention is on us and it makes us very awkward. We can’t talk in front crowds because it makes us literally nauseous.

I just want to thank Natasha for coming up with the idea to write about our social anxiety and for all the help on this post. I also want to say that having social anxiety is not the end of the world. Just because you find certain situations difficult and you find it hard to stop overthinking everything, doesn’t mean you can’t someday change and break free. When you find people who love and accept you for who you are you’ll understand that being different isn’t sad or pathetic, you’re unique and you should use your gifts and talents positively. Plus, don’t let anxiety scare you out of having fun because you might regret it later in life. Do what makes you happy and don’t listen to the negative things people have to say.

“Don’t fill your head with worries, there won’t be room for anything else!”

“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain” -Mark Twain

If you or someone you know is suffering from social anxiety or any other disorders please seek help. There are many professionals out there who can help including online therapists who you can talk to any time.

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5 Common Mental Disorders Explained

Mental disorders/illnesses are a range of mental health conditions that affect your mood, thinking, and behaviour. A mental health concern becomes a mental disorder when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function. The following are descriptions of some common mental illnesses/disorders.

Multiple Personality Disorder/Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

This is a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities or personalities are present in- and alternatively take control of- an individual. The individual also experiences extensive memory loss. Usually a primary personality carries the individual’s given name and is passive, dependent and depressed. When in control each personality may have its own distinct history, self-image and identity. The alters’ characteristics including name, reported age and gender, vocabulary and predominant mood usually contrast with those of the primary identity. The various identities may deny knowledge of one another, be critical of one another or appear to be in open conflict.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder which affects the way a person behaves, thinks, and sees the world. People with this disorder often have an altered perception of reality. They may see or hear things that don’t exist, speak in strange or confusing ways, and believe that people are trying to harm them or that they are being constantly watched. They may also withdraw from the outside world or act out in confusion or terror.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. Some of the problems faced by people with this disorder include difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour. Children with ADHD may also have low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms for some may lessen with age but some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is an anxiety disorder which is a potentially disabling condition that can persist throughout an individual’s life. It is categorized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions such as cleaning, checking, counting and hoarding. The person who suffers from OCD becomes trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviours that are senseless and difficult but very difficult to overcome. Persistent fears that harm may come to ones self or a loved one, an unreasonable concern with becoming contaminated, or an excessive need to do things correctly or perfectly, are common.

Depression

It’s also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. Depression is mood disorder and it causes a persistent feeling of sadness/unhappiness and loss of interest. Symptoms include frustration or anger, insomnia or oversleeping, trouble thinking or making decisions and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Depression effects how an individual feels, thinks and behave and can lead to a number of emotional and physical problems. They may have trouble with day to day activities and may have suicidal thoughts.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from a mental disorder or illness please seek help immediately as many illnesses are curable with medicine and therapy. The important thing to remember is that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. And a lot of times the people we love are effected by our mental illness too and getting relationship counselling can really help both of you deal with it.

“You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle.”

-Julian Seifte

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