Hello! Welcome to my new blog post series called “Mindful Diaries” a place for people to share their stories and experiences surrounding mental health and well-being. I too have had troubles with anxiety and depression, but my story is not the only story. There are thousands of stories, perspectives, and opinions surrounding mental health.
These series are for people who feel like they’re alone in their mental battle; these stories are here to remind you that you’re never alone. They’re also for people who may not fully understand the language of anxiety and depression; and I hope you will find these insightful, so you can be supportive of those who are fighting their mental battle.
For the respect and privacy of the people who have shared their stories, they will be kept anonymous.
Story one: Butterflies in the Stomach but on Steroids
Anxiety through my eyes and in my brain
To me, anxiety turns me into a completely different person. When I would usually describe myself as an outgoing type, my anxiety causes me to second guess myself, and I turn into my own biggest critic. I struggle to make friends and socialise from the fear of what people will think of me. I find it difficult to make simple decisions because I continuously feel unsure. It comes strong and fast as panic attacks, my heart races and I can’t seem to breathe, and I have to remove myself from the situation. It feels like “butterflies in the stomach” on steroids!
When I feel anxiety coming, I like to keep myself busy with things that I know I am good at and enjoy doing. It’s like ‘distracting’ myself from the way my mind is trying to make me feel. I’ll find someone to talk to, or I will exercise, or I will cook.
It’s tough to distract myself from my anxiety, it’s always there at the pit of my stomach no matter how busy I keep myself. However, having someone to talk to helps the most. “A problem shared is a problem halved” is a saying that rings very true to me, so even if I cannot get rid of the horrible feeling inside, I know that there is someone that understands what I am going through.
My thoughts on why anxiety and depression are kept taboo
I think that anxiety and depression is still a taboo topic because there can be a divide between those who have never experienced it and those who have. People who have a hard time understanding what someone with anxiety and/or depression is going through makes it hard to know what to say or how to talk about it.
Those that have experienced it don’t like the backlash that can come from expressing the way they are feeling. I have a great group of friends around me, I live in a lovely home, I’m currently studying a topic that I love. Some would call that ungrateful to feel unhappy in my situation which makes it all the harder to justify the emotions not only to others but also to myself.
The ways you can help me
The people closest to me understand that I often have panic attacks. They help me stay calm and remind me that the moment will pass. They ask me if there is anything that they can do to help me. Usually, just a moment of space is all I need.
My advice to people who feel the same way I do
- Start by talking to someone you feel comfortable speaking with. You can speak with someone who is close to you, or you can talk to someone who is not.
- If you don’t feel comfortable to tell anyone then write it down. It’s amazing how different something feels when it is on paper and staring back at you, it can make it feel like you have taken all the stress and anxiety out of your body and put it on the paper. Whatever it is, however, big or small, try to lift that feeling off your shoulders.
There will be good days, and there will be bad days. Sometimes every day might feel like a bad day, and sometimes there are a lot of good days in a row. On the bad days, when you feel utterly engulfed in strange emotions, try to remember that depression and/or anxiety does not make up the entirety of who you are.