Anxiety is an opportunity taker, a havoc on the mind, a prison of fear, the fear of the unknown and the fear of being seen. It is overthinking constantly and being worried about things you cannot control. It makes you feel like you are about to have a heartattack. You can be sitting on your bed but breathing at 100 milliseconds per minute because you have an intense fear of what the future may hold. Anxiety can start as soon as you wake up. The heavy breathing and panic attack that starts before you start school every morning or before you enter a room. Anxiety is baggage. It clings on it's victims and holds it captive.
Above is a snippet of how my anxiety manifests itself in my life. People with the same disorder can have different symptoms and anxiety appears in different ways for them. I am in no means claiming to be a professional but I am just talking from my personal experience and research so please take all my advice with a grain of salt. If you feel like you are struggling with your mental health please consult a doctor or a mental health professional to get the care you need.
My Mental Health Struggles
This is a long story but I will keep it short. I didn't get diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder until last year but I've been struggling with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I just didn't have a label for it. Instead I thought and other people thought I was just naturally shy and sensitive. When I was younger it was hard for me to get to know new people. It took me forever to open up to someone. I used to have an abundance of thoughts on my mind and what if- questions. I would go into panic mode most of the times. In elementary school, teachers could hardly hear me. Presentations and role playing in class were my biggest nightmare and I usually didn't do that well on them.
Middle school triggered my anxiety a lot. It was just not the best time for me. I was bullied a lot and made fun of. I felt so alone and hopeless. I just wanted to make everyone happy and I felt like a huge failure/disappointment. I had suicidal thoughts and the only thing that got me through was thinking about my family, watching YouTube and listening to music. I had a low sense of self worth and felt like a waste of space. I went to the school counsellor once in middle school because my math teacher recommended me to go but I just brushed all the concerns the counsellor had off and told her I was ok when I wasn't. My math teacher was concerned because I was new and he wanted to know if I was doing ok. Mr. Lomedico is the real MVP now that I think about it but I never appreciated why he did that back then.
When I was in middle school watching a youtuber named Damon Fizzy in particular helped me a lot though. He went through depression and anxiety but he just tried his best to uplift his viewers. He would always remind us that so much people care about us and we are much more than our imperfections. Also he made funny videos that made me smile. He is still an amazing youtuber. He just doesn't make videos that much because of his anxiety but he is still one of my inspirations. Also I didn't have much family help in this because I felt like they wouldn't understand. It has nothing to do with them but me. My anxiety makes me feel like everyone is going to judge me for something I cannot control. I shut a lot of people out and miss out on a lot of experiences because I talk myself into not going or not doing something that would help me. It's not a good way to live. I did super well in school though and that was my outlet as well. All my friends and teachers thought I was happy all the time because I was always smiling. I wore a smile to hide the pain I was going through to avoid others from asking questions or feeling pity for me. Pity is the last thing anyone wants when they are going through something. But I want to tell people that you never know what someone is going through and never judge a book by it's cover. Just be nice and be a friendly even a smile can make someone's day.
During my first year of high school for the first few days I would just sit and cry in the bathroom during lunch. I hardly knew anyone there since I moved to a new city. During the first two years of high school I still continued to have anxiety attacks and depressive episodes. I would cry a lot but I always made sure I was alone and other days I just felt numb. I always tried to please everyone and put their needs before mine. If someone said anything slightly negative about me it would affect me deeply. I was just pouring out of an empty cup and I started to break but I needed help. Whenever I would be feeling down or wanting to disappear I would talk to an online counseller on Kids Help Phone. Just talking things out helps tons. My anxiety started to improve little by little from Grade 11 going onto Grade 12 but I still struggle with suicidal thoughts on occasion and my anxiety still affects me but I would never want to end my life. I know I am alive for a reason so I always resist my thoughts. Also ultimately what has helped me the most with my anxiety is Christ and the gospel. My Saviour is my rock and I know he understands me when no one else does.
My mental health still affects me today as an adult but it depends on the time. Some days I could hardly get out of bed. It's literally feels like I am being weighted down and drained of all energy I have but I have great days as well. I went to my doctor to seek help finally after mustering up the courage all these years. My doctor recommended counselling and said we had free counselling on campus. She said I didn't need medicine but Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and exercise should help me. It's basically rewiring your thoughts and the way you think. I went two times but it wasn't really helpful but I wasn't as open as I could of been. It was weird opening up to a stranger and admitting you are not feeling well but I will try again if I need to but right now I am enduring well with the help of God, friends and family.
Thankfully lately I am feeling a lot more better and more happier recently. I do not feel as hopeless as I did before and I know there is hope. I promise you that there is hope. Life has it's ups and downs but the good times make the bad times worth our time in the words of Christopher Drew from Never Shout Never. If we never felt pain, we wouldn't know joy. There are so many people who care about you including me. It would break my heart if anything happened to you. It's ok to be a working progress...we all are but we have to keep moving. I know it can be difficult at times but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for listening to my story!
How I cope with my mental health
2. Hot Showers
3. Talking to online cousellors or friends.
6. Treating myself
7. Abstaining from addictive substances.
9. Buying books
10. Reading talks from general authorities.
11. Watching a funny or uplifting movie.
12. Having a support system
Discussion Question: How do you cope/ take care of your mental health?
Kids Help Phone ( Canada)
BoysTown Counselling Service (US)
7 Cups of tea .com Online active listeners
National Suicide Hotline