The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Sometimes when I talk to people about how my anxiety makes me think, they don’t quite get it. Thoughts are something that most people can control, and therefore, it’s hard for people to understand intrusive and self-destructive thought patterns that don’t just go away.

Anxiety kind of feels like being on low battery and an overcharged battery at the same time. | via Giphy

I sometimes wonder if I’m alone in this, but when I discuss the physical symptoms my anxiety manifests, it resonates more with some people. It seems to be more “real.” Perhaps it’s because of how terrifying the physical symptoms of anxiety are when you hear them out loud. But just like my thoughts, I can’t control the physical symptoms.

I feel like I have to put this out there before I go into detail about the physical symptoms of anxiety. These are not things every single person who lives with anxiety experiences. There are things others feel that I don’t. I am not trying to claim that this is how it is for everyone. I’m simply just sharing to help broaden your understanding of the scope of mental illness to hopefully create more compassion in the world.

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These are also things that some people with anxiety live with outside of a panic attack. For me, for example, I experience these feelings on a daily basis to different degrees. Sometimes, the feelings are muted and I can sort of ignore them. Other times, they are so overwhelming and prominent that it can be scary.

1. “Fast” Heartbeat

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I have fast in quotations because for me, when I feel like my heart is racing, it usually isn’t.

If you’re around me for long enough, you have probably seen me put my fingers up to my neck to check my pulse. That’s because out of nowhere, my heart will feel like it’s about to beat out of my chest, but its actually beating at a normal pace.

Yes, I have had my heart checked more than once.

2. Difficulty Breathing

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You might laugh, but sometimes, I have to remind myself to breathe.

I spend a lot of my time thinking about my breathing. Sometimes, it feels like I’m gasping for air. Sometimes, I have to practice breathing exercises to calm myself down (I will talk about these in length another time).

I can tell you that having to constantly remind yourself to breathe is exhausting, even though it’s all in your head.

3. Numbness

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You might have heard that anxiety attacks mimic a stroke. That’s why an overwhelming number of people living with anxiety has visited an ER at least once due to stroke-like symptoms.

When I experience numbness, it’s often in my arm, hand, or wrist. I have to pinch myself to ensure the area isn’t actually going numb. My left arm is numb as I type this.

4. Chest Pain

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Chest pain is common for me, and it’s one of the scariest symptoms in my opinion.

Chest pain can come out of nowhere. I don’t have to be stressed or exerting physical energy. It’s difficult to make it go away. You kind of just have to ride it out.

I do find that sometimes taking a nap or sitting outside in fresh air can help subside the pain. And MINT! I never go anywhere without a packet of mints. The feeling of menthol in my throat helps soothe everything.

5. Headaches

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Sometimes it kind of feels like all of the mind battles that occur in my head daily cause me to have terrible headaches.

These headaches sort of travel to different parts of my head. Every now and then, they mimic migraines. I can usually get through the day with them, but they aren’t pleasant.

6. Dizziness/Imbalance

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Most of the time, I have some variation of dizziness and constantly feel like I’m off balance. I can get dizzy quickly as well, even if I’m just sitting down or walking.

I know I’m dizzy because of my anxiety so I can be a little bit careful when I move around. It’s part of why I’m so clumsy! There are moments where it’s too much and I get scared that I’m going to pass out.

7. Restlessness

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As much as I’m always tired, anxiety can make me very restless. I can’t just do one thing at a time. I often have trouble sleeping because I don’t want to stay in one place, or I have too much mental energy to rest. Being restless while also being tired due to lack of sleep is not a fun combination. This can often exacerbate other physical symptoms.

I also fidget a lot and exert that restlessness in a lot of physical ways. I play with and pick at my hair, rub my neck, shake, and play with random things around me. It’s my unintentional way of trying to pass off that restless energy onto something else.

8. Fatigue/Sadness

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One of the hardest things for people to understand about mental illness is how incredibly tiring it is. While most of what ails us is in our head, trying to function and live a “normal” life is very exhausting.

I’m incredibly conscious of every move I make and try to emit positivity and happiness as much as I can, which can take a lot out of me. I rarely give myself enough time to relax and I don’t sleep very well. All of that mental stimulation I live with takes a toll on my body and even causes me physical pain sometimes. I try not to let it make me lazy, but sometimes, I kind of have to be.

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I hope that sharing how anxiety, and other mental illnesses even, can affect someone physically gives you more insight as to what a person you may know experiences daily or often. There’s so much more to it than having a handle on your thoughts.

If you experience any of these things on a normal basis, sometimes what helps is to give yourself a little test to see if what you’re experiencing is real. For example, if my arms go numb, I raise them up and pinch them to ensure I still actually have feeling in them. Once you know that it’s anxiety related, practice calming self-talk such as ” Okay, you’ve been here before and you beat it! Let’s take some deep breaths and continue on and this will pass.” If any of these symptoms are new to you/ or you’ve been recently battling mental illness, PLEASE go see your doctor to ensure everything is working properly.

Do YOU live with physical symptoms of a mental illness? I’d love to hear what helps you conquer and thrive.

Your friend,

Alicia

Some New Year’s Resolutions For A Healthy 2018

Hello strangers!

So how silly is it to need a hiatus after starting a blog only a month ago? There has been quite a lot happening in my life that has made it difficult for me to focus on everything at once. Sometimes you just need to eliminate certain tasks until you’re in a better space, and unfortunately for me this blog had to be one of them.

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But I’m back, and as 2019 approaches, I’m looking to refresh and refocus on the good – which for me, is this blog. The whole “New year, new me” mantra may be cheesy, but what’s wrong with trying to motivate yourself to do better and be better at the start of a new beginning?

I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions. My personality tends to be a bit commitment-phobic, and I get too bored to maintain things. I know it’s not a good thing. But with all of the challenges I’ve faced in 2018, I absolutely need to set some concrete resolutions and honestly and wholeheartedly work towards achieving them. I’m hoping that putting these resolutions out into the world will force me to be accountable.

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So without further ado, these are the resolutions I’m hoping to keep for a healthy 2019.

1. Make Decisions For Myself and Noone Else

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One thing I’ve really absorbed this year is I have let others’ feelings and circumstances hold me back. I’m refusing to do that anymore. I’m actively working on changing things that are toxic and are no longer serving me. Here’s hoping it works out!

2. Manage My Money

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I have a really tough time managing money. We have goals we would like to achieve in the next couple of years, and I want to be responsible enough to realize those goals. So next year, I’m budgeting better, looking for ways to save money, and trying to control my impulses.

3. Find Ways To Be Environmentally Responsible, And Maintain This

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I’ve made some decisions in my life this year to try and reduce my carbon footprint and personal waste. I’d like to re-commit to making these small life changes personally.

For example, I travel with reusable bags and reusable produce bags when I shop. I have a metal straw for when I grab coffee. I buy reusable snack bags when I find them. I would like to do more though.

I’m hoping to reduce my consumption of plastic by buying in bulk with reusable containers, I want to get more tumblers to avoid using coffee cups and plastic cold cups, I want to use up more food instead of wasting it … and whatever else I learn along the way to waste less.

4. Manage My Time Better

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Anyone who knows me knows I almost always carry a planner around with me. I can’t use my phone to schedule my time. But I have a habit of forgetting to use my planner sometimes and when I do, chaos ensues.

I want to schedule my time better to ensure I manage my work and responsibilities, but also take time to have a social life and relax and pursue other opportunities. It’s tough and it’s a lot to manage, but it’s not impossible.

5. Do More For Others

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I’ve been trying to make an effort to do small things for others lately, and it absolutely has a positive effect on my day. I give change to those who ask me, I will buy someone food if I have the money, and I’ll give to charity when a shop asks for a donation. But I would like to do more.

I’m hoping to find more time to volunteer. I’d like to buy someone’s coffee when I am buying myself one. I’d like to find more things to do within my means to help out my fellow person, because I truly believe that what you give comes back to you tenfold.

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I’m sure I’ll find more changes I would like to make, but these resolutions are attainable for me right now.

Change is hard, but it’s not impossible. If we truly want something, we need to put in the work. We never recieve the results we want if we half-ass anything, and I don’t want to half-ass my life anymore.

I hope you and many more come along with me this new year and we have an amazing time!

What are your resolutions this coming year? Share with me!

Your friend,

Alicia

Anxiety and Guilt

Man, this could be like an 8 part series. I may just have to Shane Dawson this. Let’s see how concise I can be (not my speciality).

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As a person living with anxiety and panic, I constantly worry about everything. This, for me, and I know for many others living with anxiety (but probably not everyone), this worry can translate into a lot of unwarranted guilt.

This type of guilt has held me back in my life. I can honestly say it continues to. It’s something that I’m still struggling to break free from. I think too much about how my actions or decisions will affect others and leave myself out of the equation. That causes me to stay in a lot of situations and environments that don’t serve me.

I feel guilty that my life can be so hectic sometimes, and because of that, it takes away from a lot of the fun I could be having. I want to be everything to everyone. I want to make everyone happy. And so, sometimes I overextend myself even when I know I shouldn’t because I don’t want to upset others.

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I don’t get to see a lot of my friends very often. I know it’s part of being an adult and having to work full time, but I also have a work from home job and I freelance so I’m always on the go. When I have free time, sometimes I just want to spend it on myself. This is absolutely necessary, but I feel so guilty about it.

For me, this can lead to a breakdown. I have an overwhelming sense of doom and fatigue, and it renders me useless. I can’t work, I cant go outside, but I also can’t sleep. I need to physically and mentally recover.

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I’m lucky I have friends who are very understanding, and don’t hold it against me. They check in with me and don’t pressure me to be available all of the time. It doesn’t erase my guilt, but it does relieve a little bit of the pressure I put on myself.

I’ve learned a few things along the way that have helped me cope with this guilt complex to a certain extent. I find being honest with people helps me. Rather than coming up with an excuse or a lie that can only create more problems, I let people know that I just need to rest and relax. I let people know I’m not feeling my best and need to work on myself.

I’ve also read a lot about the power of saying no. I try to let myself do it. I have to know it’s okay. The people who love you get it, and the people who don’t don’t deserve your time anyway.

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I don’t know if my guilt will ever completely go away. I feel guilty for missing opportunities and doing things for myself and not having a lot of time for others. I don’t want to let me hold it back. I have to realize that I’m only hurting myself to benefit others, and that shouldn’t be the case. There’s a difference between making compromises for your loved ones and sacrificing your own happiness and health for others. I’m still on a journey to learn the difference.

Do you struggle with guilt? Share your tips in the comments.

Your friend,

Alicia

What Does “High Functioning” Mean?

You can’t judge a book by its cover.

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That tired cliche is tired for a reason; it’s true.

Just like most things, mental illness is a spectrum. It affects anyone living with it in a different way. Some people are considered “high functioning,” which is a blessing and a curse.

I would be considered a high functioning person with anxiety. I am very self-aware and in tune with my emotions, feelings, etc. I can go through most days where my outward appearance would suggest I’m a “normal” person. You couldn’t tell by looking at me that I have severe anxiety.

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A high functioning person often appears to be happy, positive, extroverted, and friendly, with a zest for life. They can be funny and fun to be around and can often be a source of comfort and wisdom for others.

Unfortunately, being high functioning can also come with a lot of negativity. Often people believe that you’re a fake person. Others might feel that you’re faking your mental illness or are using the guise of mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour or for attention and validation. Some people think you’re lying.

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However, something that needs to be understood about mental illness is that it doesn’t always reflect in someone’s external behaviour. It doesn’t always mean unkemptness, bad hygiene, quietness, and isolation. For some people, that’s only sometimes. For some people, that’s a rarity.

I have a couple theories on how people learn to function as a “normal” person while living with a mental illness.

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One is that it’s a defence mechanism of sorts. We don’t want people to realize the fear, the anxiety, the sadness, and other things associated with mental illness, and so we put up this facade of being okay.

Another is that some of us learn to adapt to societal norms to be able to get through daily life.

It could also be a result of a lot of therapy, medication, familial and friendly support, or a combination of all of those things.

I tell people sometimes that if you were to open up my skull and have a visual of my brain, you would be overwhelmed at what goes on in there. I’m working on a blog where I catalogue many of the thoughts that go through my head to try and realize this on a more realistic level.

As a person who is high functioning, I’d like you to know that I’m not faking it. This is a part of me; a part of my life that will always be here. I don’t want it to define my life, and so I’ve learned ways to adapt and enjoy the beauty of life as much as I can. So I may look happy and bubbly and fun, and I think I am that person, but I could be suffering inside like you wouldn’t believe.

If my struggle of being high functioning had a face. | via Giphy

I have a feeling a lot of people in my life still dont believe me. I can’t tell you self-defeating it is to feel like because I seem okay, I must be lying. It got so bad at one point that I had to go back to therapy to have a professional tell me that yes, you do actually have severe anxiety and panic. I’m still disappointed in myself that I had to do that. Why should I feel like I have to prove it to people? Why should I feel like I have to play into these tired stereotypes of what it means to be mentally ill in order for people to believe me? Why do I constantly overexplain myself to try and convince people? I guess it’s because the self-doubt and self-questioning and self-hatred that comes along with people not believing me and people making me feel like this isn’t real is just too much sometimes.

So if you ever encounter someone who identifies as having a mental illness but doesn’t show the “signs” of it, don’t just excuse them as being a faker or a bandwagoner or a liar. They could be fighting an inner battle so debilitating and tough, but are doing everything they can to try and live as normal of a life as possible.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Your friend,

Alicia

My Personal Relaxation Aides

If I had a nickel for every time I was told I never relax, I’d be able to hire someone to relax for me.

Seriously; I have the worst time relaxing, although I have to say I’ve improved quite a bit in the last year or so.

I used to never be able to nap. I KNOW, WHAT?!?! I just couldn’t turn off long enough to do it. I have a horrible relationship with sleep.

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For someone with anxiety like me, relaxing can take so much effort that it almost seems like you’re doing the opposite. But it’s also so incredibly necessary. You can become overwhelmed and crash if you don’t make the time for yourself to relax.

So if you’re like me and struggle with relaxing, here’s some things I do that have worked for me.

Schedule Relaxation

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I know; it sounds silly. But hear me out.

I work a lot, and I also work from home. So when I have a day off, I’m still working. I set my own schedule for my at-home work, so it’s easy to make my days off all about work. So what I’ll do is I schedule the time I’m going to work, and then schedule out when I’m going to relax.

I typically set an alarm on my phone and take that time to just sink into my couch and watch something. That way, I complete the tasks I need to that day without burning out.

Watch Beauty YouTube

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I am so obsessed with watching makeup tutorials that I cannot do my makeup without having someone on my TV doing it too.

I get completely lost in watching people put on their makeup. It helps me tune everything about around me and in my mind, and I just focus on learning about makeup techniques. I love watching James Charles especially – I love the way he talks and explains things. I also love Nikkie Tutorials, Jeffree Star, Manny MUA, Tati, and random people I discover through loops. (YES, I also watch the drama channels so I know all the controversies surrounding them and I don’t want to talk about it.)

Take A Bath

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A bath feels like a luxury to me. I know you like, HAVE to wash your body. I get it. But there’s something about taking the time to soak in a bath that just feels so good to me.

I take my bath scalding hot, and keep my door open because my cats are fascinated by baths and it makes me laugh. Plus, they scream until you open the door when you’re in the bathroom so I just avoid dealing with that. I also get scared in the bathroom with the door closed (I don’t like feeling closed in) so I feel safer with the door open.

Read Something that Fascinates You – For Me, It’s Horror Stories.

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Okay, this is going to sound weird to you, but I will discuss in future posts the relationship between anxiety and all things horror and dark.

When I can’t sleep, I go onto Creepy Catalog and read and read and read. It’s full of fiction horror stories, paranormal happenings, real life crime stories, and so much more. It’s really, really dark stuff, so I don’t recommend it to everyone. I’m just fascinated by the psychology behind crime and darkness and am intrigued by the paranormal. So for me, reading these things challenge my mind in a different way than my anxiety does and in turn, I start to relax and drift off.

So because I know horror isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I recommend reading a book in a genre you love or articles about things you’re interested in to put your mind in a different place.

Do YOU have things you do that help you relax? Share them with me – I always enjoy trying new relaxation techniques and aides.

Your friend,

Alicia

Some Days I Don’t Want To Leave My Apartment

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I mean, when you have a cat that cuddles like this, would YOU? | via Giphy

… but most days, I do.

I live in this very concentrated, very high intensity bubble of fear and paranoia. I couldn’t even count the amount of fears and intrusive, paranoid thoughts pop in my head on a daily basis if I tried. I couldn’t tell you how many different ways I imagine I might die in a day. I couldn’t tell you how many ways I think I might ruin my life in one day.

I can just tell you that I don’t remember a day where I haven’t had these thoughts. Sometimes I feel like I’m the weirdest person in the world. Sometimes I wonder if everyone thinks like this.

Most days, I don’t want to leave my apartment. I want to stay in this cocoon of safety where I make my own rules and conform to my own needs. (Yes, I do know bad things can happen in your home as well… we don’t need to go there right now.)

But the reality is, I have to. I work a full-time job. I need to buy food and cat supplies and other things. I need to see my friends and family, I need to treat myself to a coffee or ice cream every once in a while. I need the sunshine and fresh air so badly.

Some days I can typically turn the volume down on those thoughts. Some days, I have to cry and stand in front of the door for a while and tell myself I’m going to be okay. Sometimes I have a little panic attack on my way to wherever I have to go. Every now and then, I have a day where I just can’t do it.

It has nothing to do with laziness. It has nothing to do with not being motivated. It has nothing to do with being ungrateful or unappreciative of the life I have. It’s this overwhelming sense of dread and fear that feels so strong and so real to me most days. It’s this feeling of being vulnerable to the world around me, which can be so scary sometimes. It’s thinking that it happened to someone else, so it can happen to me.

I rarely have a day where I don’t leave the house. I challenge myself to, even if it’s just to grab a snack at the corner store. I know I’ll always have days every now and then where I just can’t. It doesn’t mean I’m weak or I’m going downhill. It’s just sometimes you have to let yourself feel what you are feeling and let yourself get through the down times naturally.

Plus, my cats are SO CUDDLY! 

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Living my best life #blessed

Is there anything that helps you cope when you feel like you can’t leave your home? Let me know in the comments. 

Your friend,

Alicia

7 Things You Shouldn’t Say To Someone With Anxiety

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Anyone else think of this song as soon as they saw the title? | via Giphy

Everyone is a little bit ignorant about something.

The faster you can believe that about yourself, the easier it is to start educating yourself. Because the difference between someone who is an ignorant person and someone who is ignorant about something is the willingness to change and learn.

And so, if you want to become an ally to someone with anxiety, remember this list of things you shouldn’t say to someone living with anxiety. I’m sure these points could relate to other mental illnesses, or just people in general.

1] “Just Calm Down”

OKAY SURE GREAT WOW THANKS GENIUS IF ONLY I HAD HEARD THAT BEFORE MAYBE I WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN FEELING THIS MY WHOLE LIFE I’M CURED THANKS YOU SHOULD CHARGE $10000000 AN HOUR FOR THIS STUFF.

This. literally. makes. my. blood. boil.

The worst thing you could ever tell anyone who is anxious, whether because of an anxiety disorder or not, is to calm down. It just doesn’t work. Never mind how invalidating and discouraging it is; it just simply doesn’t work. So stop. Remove that phrase from your vocabulary.

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2] “Everybody gets anxious.”

True beech, true. But there’s a difference between being anxious and having anxiety. There’s less control and rationale there. Those parts of your brain that help you rationalize are overshadowed by that part of your brain that fuels the anxiety.

I’m sure there’s a more scientific explanation you can look up that uses more jargon than that.

3] “You’ll get over it.”

Once again, true. But in the moment, the future is blurry and I need to feel what I’m feeling. Don’t trivialize what I’m going through right now.

While I believe the intention of motivating someone that they can get through it and over it is great, there’s no need to shrug it off like it’s something to get over. It takes some people a while.

4] “You’re being over-dramatic.”

Like… yeah a little bit. But also no.

I say a little bit because during an anxious moment, our thoughts can be so dramatized in our brains that the littlest thing feels like the end of the world. And it’s not. And we’ll realize that.

But our fears, in our minds, are real, until we get to the point where we realize they aren’t. I don’t know if you can follow that. Basically, to us, our fears are real and tangible in the moment we’re feeling them. Don’t minimize them.

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5] “You’re wrong.”

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned lately is that you should never, ever tell anyone their feelings are wrong. Yes, I might be wrong, but if I FEEL something, it’s not wrong. Work with me to change how I feel, sure. But don’t just tell me I’m wrong.

For example, if I say “I feel like I’m a failure,” don’t say “Well, you’re wrong, so you shouldn’t feel that way.” You can say “You are not a failure. I’m sorry you feel that way though,” and then continue the conversation from a place of care instead of a place of dismissal.

I don’t want to be told I’m wrong, because that continues the spiral of self-doubt and self-hate that isn’t healthy for me. I’m sure many others can relate. Plus, feelings are personal, and are never wrong. Feelings are different from beliefs and opinions.

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6] “Things could be worse.” 

Sure, maybe, depending on your perspective of bad. Depending on your personal experience and how that’s led you to cope. Depending on what you’ve been exposed to in your life. Depending on your emotional maturity… I don’t need to continue, do I?

Jumping back on that invalidation train, letting someone know their situation could be worse or that someone else has it worse than them is neither helpful nor comforting. I don’t find happiness in other people’s pain (as an empath, which we’ll explore in a future post).

Furthermore, this could be the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with or he/she/they have had to deal with. It may feel huge in my head. You don’t know.

7] “You worry too much .You shouldn’t worry so much”

You don’t think I know that?!

For someone living with a mental illness, I’m pretty damn self-aware and know how stuff works. I KNOW I shouldn’t be worrying about [insert blank here]. I seriously KNOW I worry too much, and about things that seem trivial or small or irrational. I GET IT, FAM.

Here’s the thing. I can’t control it. With all the coping skills and therapy and self-reflection and meditation I could buy, I still have moments where I can’t control what I’m thinking and feeling and worrying about. I’m TRYING MY BEST!

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So what are some things that can be helpful or encouraging or supportive?

“I’m very sorry you feel that way. What can I do?”
“I’m not sure what to say, but I’m here to listen.”
“I wish you didn’t feel that way.”
“What can I do to help you?”
“Let’s go for a walk/grab a coffee/watch a funny movie/ after we’re finished talking about it so you can try to distract yourself until you’re ready to deal with this.”
“I’m not sure what to do. Just know that I love you and I’ll do what I can for you. I know you can get through this when you’re ready to.”

And so on and so on. Don’t act like you have all the answers if you don’t, and be sure to let your person know they are loved and they have support. You’d be overwhelmed to know how simple affirmations like this can have a tremendous effect on a person living with a mental illness.

Have you ever had experiences where someone has said something to you due to your mental illness and it’s seriously bothered you? Share in the comments. 

Your friend,

Alicia

 

My Intentions

Here are my intentions with this blog.

To create a safe space for people to learn about and talk about mental illness. To share my journey and what I’ve learned along the way with people who are open to learning about it. To find ways to laugh and smile through the seriousness of mental illness. To use my life as a lesson. To make you feel like you’re not alone. To help people find hope.

I’m just one person living with a mental illness. I’m not here to diagnose you or make you think I know it all. I’m not here to say that anxiety is a one-size-fits-all mental illness. Your experiences are different than my experiences, but some of my experiences may help you learn something or feel less alone.

So I hope you join me on this journey. I hope my intentions for this blog are realized.

I’ve always been a writer, and I’ve always wanted to share with the intention of helping people. This is one way I believe I can do that. It’s a big and scary leap for me to do this. Moreover, it’s something I can do for myself, as life doesn’t often allot me opportunities that are self-serving as well as fulfilling.

Your friend,

Alicia

Why Talking About My Anxiety Helps Me

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A very old photo of me, because I don’t take enough selfies apparently…

So clearly, if I’m starting a blog about my life with mental illness, I love to talk about it. But there’s a little more to it than I just want to be a part of the conversation. There’s more to it than believing that the more people talk about it, the less taboo it all becomes, and the easier it is for people to be honest with themselves and others.

Talking about my anxiety – whether it’s regarding how I’m feeling that day, generalizing it for people to understand it, or being honest with people who enter my life – is part of my healing. I NEED to talk about it. I need for people around me to know about it. I need people to understand that things I say, things I do or don’t do, and how I live my life are often because of how anxiety affects me. I need people to take it or leave it, and choose whether or not they can handle it before I get attached and then let down further down the road.

Often when I talk about anxiety in any way, I visualize myself picking up a box out of my soul and opening it up for the world to see. There are so many boxes we have inside of our souls that contain our personal truths, burdens, and feelings. Sometimes, our soul is too full. We need to make room for the love and the positive and the fulfillment.

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I wish all the boxes in my soul were filled with cats. No? | Image via Giphy

So when I have an anxious thought or feeling inside of my soul, I need to pick that box up and open it and discard it. For me, verbalizing my anxiety does that for me. That’s me picking up that box, opening it up, and getting rid of it. I need to remove it from my life before it consumes me and I can no longer access the good parts of my soul. Does this even make sense to anyone else but me?

And so, this blog is going to allow me to have a consistent outlet that won’t get tired or sick of me releasing. And I hope that in doing this, it helps you learn that it’s totally cool to talk about your mental illness. The people in your life that don’t want to listen … well, maybe they shouldn’t be in your life. Maybe there are certain times when you can talk to certain people. Some people can handle it and know how to react (or not react, because like.. we don’t always need you to fix it. Sometimes we just need you to listen), and some people can’t. It doesn’t make them bad people. They just don’t get it.

Talking about it helps me let go. Talking about it helps me realize how irrational my thoughts are sometimes. Talking about it helps me get advice and find solutions (when I need that). Talking about it helps others learn about me. Talking about it inspires others to talk about it. Talking about it helps normalize it. Talking about it SAVES. LIVES.

So my advice to you if you know someone who likes or needs to talk about their mental illness?

Listen. Don’t just hear them. Listen. Listen with everything in you. Listen for the cries for helps, for the reasons to be concerned, for ways to fill the needs of your loved one.

If you can’t handle it, tell them. Direct them to resources to help them. Inspire them to write their thoughts down to get it out instead. Don’t harm yourself by taking in their feelings if you aren’t in the mental space to do that.

Care about what they are saying. Don’t tell them they are wrong or shouldn’t feel that way. They probably already know that and just can’t help it.

What advice would you give someone who has a hard time talking about their feelings? Share it in the comments. 

Your friend,

Alicia