My Body Image
Anxiety , Mental Health / December 22, 2018

This post may go a little bit all over the place, but only because it is one of the most emotional part of mental illness for me. Whenever I would think of mental illnesses before I experienced one myself, I always thought that they only affected a person’s brain. Therefore, you could never tell who was struggling with mental illnesses unless you talked to them directly about it. However, when I look at myself today, I wonder how someone could possibly look at me without thinking that I was sick. My mental illness is not hidden. My body has gone through transformations that I could not even imagine in the past year. So today, I am going to take you on a walk through the past year of my life with anxiety as documented through pictures of my body. This is so incredibly hard for me to post, because even looking at these pictures brings me to tears, but I think that it is important to be transparent, and to also let other people know that they are not alone. My Body Before Anxiety You will have to excuse the low-quality IPhone 5 photo from two summers ago, because I…

Why I Don’t Take Medication for My Anxiety
Anxiety , Mental Health / December 11, 2018

I have disclosed in a previous post (my review of multiple anxiety relief methods, you can view it here), that I do not use medication for my anxiety. There are a lot of different opinions on whether or not medication should be taken for anxiety, and to what extent. Before I begin, I just want to say that every person is different. What works for me may not work for someone else. My experience will be different than anyone else’s, and not everyone will share my views on this. That is okay. I am not asking for you to submit to my viewpoints, I just want to share what my experience has been and give the reasons for not taking medication. I found alternate opinions extremely helpful when I was first trying to navigate the world of mental health, and I also would like you to get to know me a little bit better. My Experience with Anxiety Medication: It was in January of 2018 that I first went to the doctor for my anxiety. I had been told by my counselor at the time that it may help me to stay in school, and to work through my feelings for the…

A Letter to My Anxiety
Anxiety , Mental Health , Uncategorized / December 10, 2018

Dear Anxiety,  Since you happen to be around for 99% of my day, I figured it was time that I addressed you directly. I used to hate you with a burning passion. You stole my life. You took me from a fiesty, independent woman with great opportunities ahead of me, and turned me into a dependent, suffering shell of myself. You took my career, my degree, my relationships, and my freedom. At night after a panic attack you left me crying alone in the bathroom, wondering why you had chosen me, what I had done to deserve such a cruel fate.  I stayed in that state for months. Apathetic, loathing you and loathing myself. I didn’t try to change. You had me beat, convinced that I didn’t deserve a better life, and that even if I did, I wasn’t strong enough to beat you.  But you know what, anxiety? Something changed. I don’t hate you anymore. I don’t hate myself anymore. I am not weak, and I can beat you. There are parts of you that actually help me in life. You let me know when I am getting too in over my head, which was a skill I never…

Words of Freedom
Uncategorized / December 8, 2018

Over a year ago, when I first began having issues with anxiety at work, I wrote a poem. I have always been a writer, and have a certain soft spot for poetry. In that moment, I really wanted to capture what an anxiety attack felt like through writing. I jotted it down on a piece of scrap paper and shoved it into the pocket of my uniform. I forgot about that poem for the most part until months later when I was working for my college’s fine arts magazine. We were doing an open mic, and the head of the magazine wanted me to perform. I knew that I had the piece, but I did not feel comfortable sharing it with my friends from school. At this point no one besides a few close friends knew that I had issues with anxiety. I overcame my nerves and recited the poem to the mostly silent crowd of peers. It was such an empowering moment for me, and one that will stay with me for a very long time. It is so hard to be vulnerable with those who know you, and worries of criticism and hate abound. Yet, once those fears…

My Husband Is My Rational Mind
Uncategorized / December 6, 2018

Most of the time, I deal with my anxiety by myself. My husband works a 9-5 job, he has obligations, he has friends to see. I try as much as possible not to keep him from doing what he loves, even though I cannot participate. Therefore, I have an average of 9-12 hours a day where I am completely alone at our apartment. For that portion of the day, I handle my anxiety. Yet, it is always a relief when I see my husbands headlights turning into the driveway (darn you winter with your darkness at 4:45). The reason I am so relieved is because my anxiety is handled differently when my husband is home. When I am alone, I use survival techniques the majority of the time. I do yoga, take a shower, get fresh air, distract myself. When I am anxious, I am not normally in the state of mind to “self-talk”, and therefore cannot convince myself that the anxious thoughts that I am having are not rooted in reality. I just use another method ot get through the panic. This is okay on a surface level basis, because I am able to cope on my own and…

I'm Not Failing, I'm Growing
Uncategorized / December 2, 2018

Throughout anxiety, I have been struggling with a large misconception about the way that recovery is viewed. I also have had problems with using unhealthy language to guage my “outings”. In order to overcome my agoraphobia, it is extremely important to push myself and leave the house. My therapist and I have talked extensively about how to go about improving myself and my life. Let me be honest: leaving my house is not easy for me. When I try to go out places it is not always sunshine and glaring success. Therefore, in the eyes of my therapist, progress is not immediately fleeing from the situation I am feeling anxious in. Progress is working through the feelings, and practicing overcoming my anxiety. However, I have an issue with that system. I have always been an “over-achiever”, and I get extremely impatient when a situation does not resolve as quickly as I would have wanted it to. While a year may not seem to be an extended period of time, when you are stuck in your house, or within ten minutes of your house, it becomes a very long time. I always fall into a bad habit when I am working…

Alternate Anxiety Relief Methods
Uncategorized / November 30, 2018

Over my experience with anxiety, I have come across many different alternate ways to combat anxiety. I do not like anxiety medication, nor do I believe in utilizing it most of the time (more on that in a later post!). Therefore, I have gotten a lot of advice from various people and mental health professionals on how to handle anxiety on the daily. Now, before I dig into all of the tools I use, I want to provide one disclaimer. While I do use some of these methods in my day to day life, these are not supposed to replace regular sessions with a mental health professional. I am seeing a therapist weekly in order to make long term progress. I hope that one day I will not need to use any alternate methods, and that I will be able to thrive on my own. However, that is a long road, and for while I am improving myself in the big picture, it is necessary for me to have techniques in place to function. Methods That Did Not Work: *Note: this does not mean that these methods will not work for other people-these are just the ones that did not…

I Never Wanted A Baby….Until I Did
Uncategorized / November 28, 2018

One thing that has always been true about me for everyone that knows me: I do not want children. When I was in early middle school, I had one motto: “I will adopt, why put more children in the world when there are so many without families?” In this period of my life our family were fostering several different children, and I absolutely fell in love with the thought of giving a child a home, when they had never experienced it before. (Disclaimer: this has not changed. I am still obsessed with adoption). I never understood the phenomenon “baby fever”. However, once I moved out of the innocence of being 10-13 years old, my stance changed. I did NOT want children. Pregnancy was gross. You have to have sex. Ew. *Disclaimer, raised (and still am) a Christian, did not have my first official kiss (besides one that lasted .5 seconds) until I was almost 16, and it was with my husband. Sexual thoughts were not on the radar until much, much later. I am weird. It is fine. Something has to grow INSIDE you. As it is growing inside you, it also moves and makes you fat and sick. Sounds…

What is Agoraphobia?
Uncategorized / November 1, 2018

After the introduction on what Emetophobia is, it is only appropriate that I also introduce the issue that impacts my life the most. I began suffering from Agoraphobia in earnest in February of this past year. I battle against it daily. The word agoraphobia comes from the ancient Greek word “agora“, which means “place of assembly” or “marketplace”. Fun Facts on Agoraphobia: Median onset age of Agoraphobia is 20 (my life is too ironic, I developed it a month before my 20th birthday). 0.8 percent of adults have agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder (I am not one of those people). Agoraphobia used to be placed under the umbrella of panic disorder, diagnosed as “Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia”, this has since been changed. Agoraphobia is a unique diagnosis. Early intervention is crucial with agoraphobia. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and medication are the most common treatments for agoraphobia. The Weird Side of Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia has many different ways that it presents itself. Fears that are common in agoraphobia are crossing bridges, elevators, a fear of crowds, a fear of open spaces, and a fear of being alone. Most people associate agoraphobia as a fear of open spaces. Therefore, a lot of time when people…

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