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I’ve written about my struggles with anxiety before, but I wanted to address them again, given the crazy string of events that have happened in recent months. The uncertainty of quarantine and the pandemic, as well as the volatility of our country as a whole, have been R-O-U-G-H on my nerves. Not to mention the fact that the one year anniversary of my dad’s death was just last month, so my mental state has been nothing short of fragile. And I’ve heard from countless other people who’ve said that their anxiety has also been through the roof lately. So I thought that by opening up here and on my Instagram stories, it could maybe help someone else to realize that he/she is not alone.
For me, what seems to trigger my anxiety the most is stress, and when I’m feeling overwhelmed with things that are out of my control, I often just want to retreat into my own little bubble. Remember how you’d wanna crawl under the covers when you were a kid because it felt like you could shut out the whole entire world? Well, that’s similar to what I tend to use as a defense mechanism. Sometimes I can put on a happy face and push all that worry to the side, but other times, I just can’t. And as much as I’d like to be the one in charge, my anxiety often declares itself the head honcho.
The worst is when it flares up at night, and I’m left with my own thoughts spinning round and round and round my head. Trying to fall asleep when your brain has about 25 different tabs open is next to impossible, let me tell ya. This restlessness then leads to insomnia, which then leads to sleep deprivation, which ultimately leads to even more feelings of anxiety. It’s like a horrible vicious cycle that never ends.
What’s truly amazing is how people think you can just snap out of it, too. Believe me, if I could, don’t you think I most certainly would?! And comments like, “I am really starting to worry about you!” or “There’s nothing for you to worry about!” are actually not at all helpful to someone who is struggling with anxiety or depression. Those remarks only make you feel worse because you feel like something is really wrong with YOU. And it’s during those times when I just want to stay at home in my “safe space” where no one is judging me. (Hello, little bubble, it’s me again!) What would actually be more helpful is for people to just listen and to say they are there to support you however you need.
I just reached out to my doctor to ask her advice, so we shall see what she says. I have been on the same anxiety medication for years now, but I am starting to wonder if maybe I need to switch it up to a new kind. Maybe I’ve grown immune to it or something? In the meantime, my hope is that this post helps to jumpstart a conversation about mental health. I think women especially feel they should struggle in silence because they don’t want others to think that they can’t do it all. The thing is though, NO ONE can do it all!!! And there are far more of us who deal with anxiety than most people even realize.
So, if you are dealing with any of the same/similar feelings as me, I’d love to hear what coping strategies you are using. How do you think we can best support one another? And what do you wish people understood about mental health issues?
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