Today is World Mental Health Day, a day and a topic that is really important to me. Lately, my mental health has been taking a set back, I’m aware of it, working to improve it, it’s is unfortunately part of the battle. I’ve vaguley been diagnosed with Anxiety, I have panic attacks and the occasional depressive episode, but mostly might fight is with anxiety. I’ve been thinking about it a lot today, reading so much about mental health on social media, and when I got home from work, I just had an urge to write, so I did. And I just kept going, and then decided to share it. It might seem a bit rambly, I hardly edited anything in this post. It’s simply raw feelings about my mental health and mental health in general. But it felt good to just get it out. I could go on and on and on about mental health and anxiety, but here are just some raw words spit out in the moment.
Over the last three years, mental health has become extremely important to me. About three years, I finally came to the realization and acceptance that I suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. As crazy as it may seem a show called Supernatural and an actor named Jared Padalecki are the reasons that I allowed myself to open myself up to the idea that I was suffering from a mental illness and that it was okay. When Jared opened up about his own struggles, it made me realize that what I was so afraid of admitting, wasn’t the end of the world. Saying the words out loud, acknowledging the feelings, didn’t break me. Admitting that my mental health was in shambles was not the worst thing to happen to me; in fact, it might have been the best. Once I acknowledged my feelings and worked to understand them, the more control I could have over them, and the better I felt. I stopped allowing myself to fall into a deep dark hole the moment I had an anxiety attack, a panic attack or a depressional episode. Instead of running away from it, I knew I had to let it take its course because it was going to happen whether I liked it or not, but I had to remind myself that I would get to the other side, and that it would pass and that I’d be okay.
I know most of my triggers, but I’m hardly in a place to avoid them altogether. New things pop up too. I recently realized that sometimes crowded places get to me. I need to know where the exits are; I need to have room to breathe, I need my bubble free of all things and people. I also still feel very alone, in my everyday life, with this fight, but I know, big picture, I’m not alone at all.
When I get anxious and have an anxiety attack or a panic attack, I cry. I just start crying, and I can’t stop. I don’t know why. It just is what it is. It’s quite annoying for everyone else around me, especially when they don’t’ know what’s wrong and I’m crying too hard to be able to tell them that I’m fine, that I’m not hurt, that I’m not even actually upset, it’s just my bodies reaction to my anxiety attack and I have to let it run its course. This happens when I’m in a lot of different situations, stressful ones mostly. I get anxious about it, I cry, and then after like a half an hour, I’m good to go, and I’m handling whatever it is that needs to be handled. It’s like I know I can handle A LOT, and I have handled A LOT, I just need my anxiety to catch up.
There are days when I cannot get out of bed. The act of standing up, walking into the kitchen, or using the bathroom seems like Olympic sports and I simply cannot even entertain the idea. I’ve missed out on events, I’ve missed work, simply because I could not get out of bed. I’d lay there all day, I wouldn’t eat much of anything, I’d probably put the TV on, remind myself to at least drink some water. Before I knew what was happening to me when I’d get like this, I’d get angry at myself. Family would call me lazy, or ask what the hell was wrong with me, and I wouldn’t have an answer, and I’d get angry. Now, they still don’t understand, but I do. And it makes all the difference. I know that if that day hits, I just have to let it happen, but I also know that I need to eat, I need to drink water, I need to cancel plans that I had, and not feel guilty about it, I need to shower (a hot shower truly does wonders), I need to accept that this is what is happening today, let it happen, and know that, like always, tomorrow will be better.
My doctor suggested a therapist about a year ago, and I accepted that it was a good idea. There are a lot of things that I’ve gone through that I don’t talk about. I’m willing to talk about a lot, I’ve accepted a lot, but there are some things I’m simply not ready to talk about with myself let alone anyone else, and that is okay. Unfortunately, I cannot afford a therapist right now. But I didn’t just accept that. I’ve looked for a million ways to deal with my mental health on my own. Healthy ways of course. (which isn’t to say I don’t get stressed out and decided to drink too much wine, or too much tequila, because I do that too) But I also know that ice water works, reading works, watching my favorite TV shows can work, sometimes cooking works, listening to music, or a podcast, a good long shower pretty much always makes me feel better, I know when I need to go outside and get some fresh air, I know when I need to open a word document and just write out my thoughts, I know when I need to close my eyes, take a deep breath and count to 10. Sometimes one of those options works, sometimes I need multiple options, and sometimes nothing works, and I have to fight to take each breath.
Fighting is what matters. All those days that I felt lazy, got called lazy, had eyes rolled at me, and so on, on those days, I wasn’t just laying around, I wasn’t just sitting in silence for no reason.
I was fighting.
I fight every day.
Some days are worse than others. Some days I get through it and some days I lose the fight.
But I have to remind myself that no matter how hopeless the battle feels, I have to always keep fighting.
Jared Padalecki did a campaign called always keep fighting. Had some merchandise made and it is truly a phrase that I live by. It’s a phrase that I’m going to get tattooed on me, it’s a phrase that is in my social media bios, that I tweet out, that I say to myself at least twice a day, that I have written on pieces of paper and post it notes in my room, it’s a phrase that quite honestly might have saved my life.
Dealing with your mental health, no matter what you might be fighting, it could be one thing, or three things, it doesn’t matter, as long as you keep fighting it. Because you’re strong enough too. Because you can get through the worst of days, and you can keep going.
Because you are not alone. Because you are worth it.
Taking care of ourselves mentally is as important, if not more important, as taking care of ourselves physically. It’s not easy, it’s really, really, freaking hard.
But pound for pound, day after day, the fight is always worth it, you WILL come out on the other side.
So if you’re having a hard time accepting what you’re feeling, if you’re having a hard time understanding, if you’re feeling all alone in your battle, if you’re questioning what the point of dealing with it is, if you’re questioning its validity, I’m telling you that your feelings are valid, your battle is worth fighting, you’re not alone, you are worth it, and you must always, always, always, keep fighting.
If you ever feel like you need to talk, want some tips or just someone to listen, my DM’s both twitter and Instagram are always open. There are many organizations with resources, books to read to see how others are coping, and so much more. Reach out, talk about it, your mental health is important, and so are you.