#Speakup 

So many people suffer from Anxiety Disorder. It’s time to speak up about it and start telling our stories! 

To those that don’t struggle with this disorder, it can be hard to understand. Sometimes verbally explaining it, just doesn’t get the point across. And, I get it. It IS hard to understand. I have it, and don’t even understand it sometimes. 

People that don’t get it, may say things like:

“Just pull yourself together.” 

“Get over it.”

“It can’t be that bad.”

Or my personal favorite: “But, you don’t LOOK sick.” 

I don’t think this comes from a bad place. But, this is common. I do think there needs to be more awareness around the subject. A light needs to be shed. We need to be able to talk about it without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. We need to make people understand. 

Anxiety is so much more than having your random panic attack once in a while. It’s a daily struggle. 

You feel as if you’re drowning…

Suffocating…

Unable to sleep…

You have dark thoughts…

Depression….

You can’t breathe…

And, you can’t escape it…

This really doesn’t even scratch the surface. But, it does show a small portion of the daily struggles felt by someone suffering with Anxiety Disorder. 

If you have anxiety: 

Do not be afraid to talk about it. Do not feel ashamed. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help. Your story matters.

If you don’t have anxiety:

Please try to understand that even though we don’t look sick on the outside, doesn’t mean we aren’t struggling. Don’t be quick to judge. 
#endthestigma #speakup

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Photo credit: Shutterflies Photography

Model: Natalie Fiore

Be an Overcomer.

I sometimes care too much what other people may think, because my mind has convinced me I’m being judged. 


I have had thoughts so bad, and so dark, I won’t say them out loud. 


I have locked myself in my house for days on end. 


I have believed my brain when it told me I was crazy. I was useless. 


I have cried. I’ve screamed. I’ve been silent because my mind told me I couldn’t talk to anyone. They wouldn’t understand.

My brain can be a dark place because of my anxiety. When people ask, “what does anxiety feel like?” I tell them it’s like having a constant all out war inside my own mind. It’s chaos. It’s having 278373 tabs open on your computer, and not being able to close any of them. It’s straight fear. 


Some days, I look back at the hell my own brain has put me through, and I can only thank God I’ve made it this far. I am not going to lie to you and tell you I’ve never had a suicidal thought. I have. I’ve had them more times than I care to admit. And, everytime the thought crossed my mind, I’d pray. 


I’m also not going to lie to you and tell you I’ve got my crap together, now. I don’t.  But, I do have perspective. I have faith. Faith in God, faith in medication, faith in myself. It’s the reason I wake up everyday.


 I am so thankful for my life. I consider myself to be quite blessed. I won’t let my disorder steal my joy away from me. It cannot take my life. 


I HAVE OVERCAME. I AM STILL OVERCOMING. AND, I WILL OVERCOME. 


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Anxiety: A Life or Death Disorder

I never wanted to leave the house. 

I couldn’t control the racing thoughts going through my brain.

I slept constantly, because it brought peace.

I distanced myself from friends and family. 

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Anxiety isn’t just panic attacks. 

Anxiety is depression. It’s racing thoughts. It’s feeling cut off from the world. It’s always second guessing yourself. It’s feeling like you’re having a heart attack in the middle of the night, out of nowhere. 

There are so many different components to Anxiety Disorder. It doesn’t effect any two people the same. 

You can’t always see anxiety on the outside. It’s an inward battle that takes over a person’s life. It takes ahold of your brain, and doesn’t let go. 

 

Definition of Anxiety Disorder: A group of mental disorders characterized by significant feelings of anxiety or fear. 

That’s a pretty broad definition. It says nothing about what causes it, where it comes from, or why it’s even a thing.

Why? Because, it’s different for everyone. It can be caused because of a person’s environment, an event that caused P.T.S.D., or even a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can manifest in a huge variety of different ways. 

Some people develop O.C.D. 

Some people have irrational fears. (i.e.: the dark, being sick, certain animals, or even leaving the house)

Some people have anxiety/panic attacks. Those come in a thousand different forms. 

 

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Here comes the important part: 

Most people living with Anxiety Disorder are too afraid or ashamed to talk about it. That means they won’t ask for help. People living with Anxiety are at an increased risk for suicide, because they never got the help they needed. Insurance doesn’t always cover mental disorder care. It can be lonely and terrifying. 

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If someone you care about tells you they’re suffering from Anxiety or Depression, PLEASE do not dismiss them. 

Sometimes it’s a matter of life and death. 

 

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The Ugly Parts of Anxiety… 

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s an ugly night. I’m fighting, but anxiety is currently winning this round. I hate go say that, because I try to keep this blog inspirational and upbeat. I almost decided not to write this. But, this is living with Anxiety. This is what it’s like to be me. I said I was going to be open about my disorder, so here it is: 

Tonight is one of those nights that I literally feel like my anxiety is ripping me apart. I can barely think. My mind is spinning. I feel dizzy, sad, scared, hot, and wired. 

Honestly, I feel so many emotions, I couldn’t even pick one that stands out the most. 

My sister, who also suffers from anxiety, is here. I’m trying to hide my panic attack so she doesn’t see. I don’t want to upset her. She’s having a good night. Trust me when I say that hiding a panic attack is so much harder then it sounds. 

I wanted to write this while in the middle of my panic attack, so I can really explain, in detail, what it feels like. But, I can’t think clearly enough to put it into words. I don’t even know what to say. 

At this point, I think I’m just writing to try and get my mind off of it. 

I am exhausted. My body hurts. I feel like I can’t get my breathing under control. My heart is pounding. If you’re wondering, nothing in particular brought it on. I was just laying on my couch. I was fine. And then, I wasn’t. 

I know I’m not alone in this. Chances are that someone reading this is feeling the same way. Just know I feel you. I understand completely. You are far from alone. And, even further from being crazy. 

I’m going to keep telling myself that I am strong. This is a temporary feeling that will soon pass. 

Here’s to a better tomorrow. 

Here’s to being calm and happy. ♡


Photo by: Kari pillow photography. Check her out on FB. 
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What it Looks like to Struggle with a Mental Disorder

There are so many people that struggle with mental disorders in the U.S. alone. When I say struggle, I mean it. Mental disorders are no joke. They hurt, they make people feel isolated and judged, they cause a constant battle inside a person’s head, and sometimes, they even kill. 

Even though mental disorders cause daily struggles, and can be deadly, you can’t always see them. Some people suffer silently for years. But, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Mental disorders are very real, and need to be addressed more often. 

While a person can look totally fine on the outside, they can be fighting an extreme battle on the inside. 

The disorders don’t discriminate. Anyone can be a victim. You’re not always born with it. Some develop in children, and some even wait until you’re an adult to appear. 

Every disorder is different. Each one has it’s own set of signs to look out for. 

If you know someone showing signs of a disorder, don’t be afraid. Don’t distance yourself from them or run away. 

Above all, don’t be afraid to love someone with a mental illness. 

There is such a bad stigma that surrounds mental illness. People seem to assume you can’t have one AND be a normal human being at the same time. But, that’s not the case at all. Sure, we have bad days, but we also have good days, too. 

We are people. We’re human beings. 

A note to those of you living with a mental disorder: 

Don’t feel like you can’t be normal. There is no such thing as normal. We are all different. We all have qualities that make us who we are. Being unique is not a bad thing. For so long society has put labels on mental illnesses that have made people judge. 

If you are one of the MILLIONS of Americans diagnosed with a mental disorder like: Depression, Bi-polar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, OCD, etc… help spread awareness and break the stigma that’s attached to those names. 

So, what does a mental disorder look like? It looks like human beings. It has no face. It has no specific characteristics. It has no one definition. It has a stigma, and it needs to be broken. 

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I’m going to start this blog off by saying that there is nothing wrong with taking medication for your anxiety or mental disorders. I, myself, take medication. But, I try my hardest to control my panic attacks without it, if at all possible.

Here are seven things that have seemed to help me:

Essential Oils:

I started using essential oils about a year ago. They have made a HUGE difference. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but now I’m a total believer. My three favorites are: Peppermint (helps with Anxiety, headaches, and nausea), Bergamot (primarily for anxiety), and Lavender (helps you sleep). 

 Going Outside:

 There is just something about fresh air that helps to calm me down. This works the best at night. The combination of night air, stars, and the sound of crickets, soothes me. 

 Talking to Someone: 

Sometimes, getting your anxiety “off your chest” is all you need. My go-to person is my husband. Find someone that will let you vent, without judging, and offer advice when you need it. If you’re like me, you dont always want advice; you just want a listening ear. If you feel like you absolutely can’t talk to anyone, keep a journal. Getting it out of your mind and out into the open really does help. 

Also know, that you can always talk to me. I’m just a message away. 

Weighted Blankets:

These aren’t for everyone. I have definitely had good experiences with mine, though. If you’re not familiar with weighted blankets, they come in different sizes. They are heavy and put pressure on you, almost simulating the feeling of a hug. Here’s a link with more info:  https://www.healthline.com/health/weighted-blanket-for-anxiety#overview1

Finding Your “Safe Place”:

For me personally, this is curled up on my couch, watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It’s different for everyone. 

If you’re out and can’t access your safe place, picture it in your mind until you feel yourself calming down. 

Music: 

Listening to music takes you away from the stress that’s giving you anxiety. It gives your brain something to concentrate on, without having to concentrate too hard. Many times, when we go into a Panic Attack, we try to take our mind off of it by doing something strenuous. This can put even more stress on the brain, and make the anxiety worse. 

Music is a great way to escape. 

Breathe:

I mean, really breathe. Concentrate on taking deep, slow breathes. Breathe in. Count to 10. Breathe out. Count to 10. Keep it steady and even. When you regulate your breathing, your heart rate will follow. 

The very most important thing to know is that you’re not alone. You are never alone. 
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Five Daily Thoughts of an Anxious Girl

If you’re new here, I struggle with AnxietyDisorder. I’m a hot mess 97% Of the time. If you’re an Anxious person, you should be able to relate to these five thoughts I have on a daily basis: 

I’m going to mess something up today. 

This thought isn’t specific to any certain thing. But, I always have the thought in the back of my head. I’m constantly worried I’m going to mess something up, embarrass myself, or make someone mad. I can’t help it. It’s just the way my brain is wired. It’s not that I’m a negative person. I’m quite the opposite, actually. Anxiety tends to cause insecurities. 

What if I’m a burden? 

I’m constantly annoying myself with my anxiety. I even want to get away from me, so I can’t imagine how others feel. Every time I have a panic attack, or a bad day, I feel like I’m just being annoying, or putting un-necessary stress on my loved ones. 

Why am I so weird?! 

Seriously. Why can’t I just be a normal person for FIVE MINUTES?

I am too overwhelmed. 

This is probably my most frequent thought. The smallest things overwhelm me: two different noises at one time, crowds, driving in a new area, going grocery shopping…. not kidding. EVEN SHOPPING. There are multiple times a day when I have to step back and take a “breather” and regroup. It’s not as fun as it sounds. 

Tomorrow will be a better day. 

No matter how bad a day I’m having, I always have hope for tomorrow. People living with AnxietyDisorder get a bad rep. We get labeled as pessimistic or negative. That’s not the case at all. I’m a very optimistic person, in general. I see the good in everyone, I hope for the best, and I aim high. Each night I tell myelf, “Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m going to crush it.” Sometimes, I don’t. But, that o.k., because a lot of times, I do. 

Life is a roller coaster when you’re living with Anxiety. You just have to learn to enjoy being on top. You have to take in the view and remember it. Just know that, even though the ride goes down, it always comes back up. 
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