A Self Help Blog from your Average, Quarantined, Anxious Girl

You’re stuck. And, I’m not just talking about mentally. I mean you’re physically stuck. Because, we’re all stuck. Basically, the outside is lava right now, and March has lasted for 849837 days. So, yeah, you’re probably mentally stuck, too.
But, you don’t have to be. Yes, there’s a lot of uncertainty around you right now. Yes, the world is chaotic evil at the moment. Yes, it’s a little like a bad episode of “Bad Mirror” right now. BUT, it’s also Spring. And, even though we’re going through a crazy time, Mother Earth said, “Bring on the flowers, warmer temperatures, and bright colors, anyway.” Everything is starting to bloom. There are yellows and purples, and pinks all over your own yards right now. There is sunshine that you can enjoy from your porch. The grass is growing. So, get your lawn care tools ready, because, unfortunately, you still have some adulting to do, even during a world pandemic. Spring is springing, y’all. Take comfort in knowing, that while it may seem like there’s no routines or normalcy anymore, Mother Earth is still keeping the same, steady pace.

 


“But I could care less about the outside. It’s humid, and there are bugs out there.” Yeah, I see your type, too. So, here’s the thing. There is so much to do inside your home during this time, too. Get creative. I mean really dig deep. You’ve been given the opportunity to expand your horizons. Learning French been on your to do list? Congratulations! You now have the time to do so. Ever wanted to learn how to crochet? Paint? Make a Corn Cob Pipe? YouTube is your friend! Learn something new. The possibilities are endless!
“I’ve already learned everything there is to learn. I’m the Master of every single trade.” O.k, I see you guys, too. So, all that power must be stressful. Might I suggest meditation or yoga? I’ve personally downloaded an app called: “Meditopia”, and it’s wonderful. I highly recommend. As for Yoga, I’ve pretty much mastered Mountain Pose. Not to brag, or anything.

Mountain-Pose
I think you get my point, right? Now is the time to completely re-wire your brain to see the positivity that’s floating all around you. Think about how lucky you are, that you get to do your civic duty from the comfort of your own home. It feels lonely right now, but it’s all temporary. This will end. Life will return to normal, and these few months of worry and uncertainty will eventually be behind us.
So, now is the time to be thankful that all you have to do to save the world, is binge watch Netflix in your Christmas jammies, while eating cosmic brownies.

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Depression, loneliness, and anxiety may try to take over, but you tell them to screw right off! You are stronger than this quarantine. You are a warrior, saving the world, one episode of Tiger King at a time. (Shout out to Joe Exotic, and that Bitch, Carole.)

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You and Your Disorder: A Guide to Living Your Best Life.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t have to be ashamed of your mental disorder. You can be proud of who you are. It’s perfectly fine to accept ALL of who you are. This isn’t a one-step process. It takes more than just saying you’re going to accept your flaws, for it to happen. You have to really reach inside yourself, dig down deep.

 

Step One:

Admit you have a mental disorder. This seems obvious, but trust me, it’s really not that simple. I lived in denial for like, YEARS. I wanted to be “normal” so badly, I just ignored it, and hoped it would just go away on its own. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Here’s what it DID do: kept heating up inside me until it boiled over. Eventually, it was spilling out everywhere. Once the pot boils over, the water goes all over the place. It makes a huge mess, and it smells bad. The thing I’ve noticed is… most people let it get to that point before admitting their disorder exists. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can admit that the disorder is real, and keep all of your water in the pot.

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Step Two:

 

Don’t panic. Now, that you’ve admitted to having the mental disorder, you may start to freak out. The bad thoughts will probably start to creep in. You may worry that your life won’t be the same anymore. You may feel like a freak. You’ll more than likely feel alone. But, you’re not. You are not alone. And, your life doesn’t have to drastically change. You are the same you as you were before the diagnosis. The fear can try to take over, but don’t let it. You are stronger than your disorder. Believe that. It may be a part of who you are, but it is not ALL of who you are.

 

Step Three:

 

Talk to someone. Keeping all your fears to yourself isn’t healthy. You never need to feel like a burden for talking about your disorder. Keeping it in can eat you alive. Trust me, this is coming from experience. At the very least, write it down. Get it out of your head and on to a page. It helps.

“Don’t-be-ashamed-of-your-story.-It-will-inspire-others.”

Step Four:

 

Accept it. This is a cliché thing to say, but it’s important. Knowing you have a disorder, and accepting it, are two very different things. You can live a healthy life, alongside your disorder IF you accept the fact that it’s not going anywhere. You WILL have bad days. You WILL feel hopeless sometimes. You WILL have the disorder forever, because there is no cure. And, you WILL also have good days. Embrace the bad, and cherish the good.

 

 

Step Five:

Love yourself. This is the last step. And, the most important. Your disorder does NOT define you. You are valuable and should never doubt your worth. It is not lessened because of any diagnosis you’ve received.

 

Will following these steps make all your problems go away? No. But, they can help. Sometimes, all you need is to be reminded of how important you are. You need to know that a diagnosis on paper, doesn’t change the person you are on the inside.

You are going to get discouraged sometimes. You’re going to feel scared, and sometimes alone. Some days will be harder than others. Just don’t forget about the good days. Hold onto them. Look forward to them. Thoroughly enjoy them.

And, above all, always remember to remind yourself that you are not alone.

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My Anxiety Tells me that you Hate me.

We’ve all had those days, right? The ones where you feel like everyone and everything is out to get you. The kind of day that makes you want to wall yourself up in your house and never leave again. This is what everyday feels like to those of us with Anxiety. It’s a feeling we have to push through every single day. Anxiety tells us to worry about people talking behind our backs. It tells us to be scared of judgement. It tells us to hide away. But, our heart tells us to love people. It wants us to be open and inviting. We’re social butterflies with social anxiety. We are the definition of an oxymoron.

Anxiety can make it feel like the whole world is against you. It lies to you. It kicks you when you’re down. It’s a constant nagging feeling in the back of your brain. It’s a lump in your throat when meeting new people. It’s paranoia when you walk into a quiet room. It’s fear of rejection. Anxiety is sometimes being afraid to leave the house because you know something is going to go wrong.

Living with anxiety is hard, because you know that when things are going good, it’s just a matter of time before it comes crashing down. It’s depression. It’s distancing yourself from the ones you love. (And being extremely grateful when those people don’t give up on you.)

When something goes wrong, a person with Anxiety will obsess over it. If we make a mistake, we will beat ourselves up more than anyone else is capable of doing. We apologize more than we should, and then feel like we’re being a burden for doing so.

If a person with Anxiety is backing off from you, don’t take it personally. We’re probably scared we’re going to lose you. We may seem unapproachable, but we are some of the most understanding group of people around. We know what it’s like to feel alone, and we don’t want anyone else feeling that way.

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The Physical Effects of Anxiety

Everyone knows the amount of emotional distress Anxiety Disorder can cause. It’s enough to bring anyone to tears. It’s enough to cause the strongest of people to just breakdown. I’ve been seen it bring complete defeat.

All of the emotional effects aside, anxiety can play a huge physical toll on your body.

Exhaustion

Every panic/anxiety attack sucks every fiber of energy out of your body. It can lead to not being able to leave the bed for the rest of the day. Your body and your mind can barely function sometimes.

Muscle aches

During an attack, every muscle in your body is tensed up. Spasms aren’t uncommon, either. Later, when your mind has relaxed, your body still feels like it’s been hit by a bus.

Headaches

When there’s a constant battle inside your brain, it’s bound to cause a headache. Even if just gr8 the sheer stress alone.

There are also several that may not effect everyone, but do effect some. For example: stomach ulcers, migraines, nausea, uncontrollable twitching, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and even suicide. Yes. Even suicide. I’ve seen this disease bring down those who tried to be strong for so long.

If you’re struggling, and feel like you’ve been strong for too long, please talk to someone. Get help.

( 1 800-273-8255 – suicide hotline, available 24/7)

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A Thank You to those that Love Someone with Anxiety.

To those of you married to someone with an anxiety disorder, the parents, the siblings, the friends supporting people with a mental illness: this is for you.

I think it takes a special kind of person to love someone with anxiety, unconditionally.

As someone that has anxiety, I know just how much patience it takes to deal with loving me. It takes understanding, and a kind heart.

If you are loving someone through their mental illness, you are more of a hero than you know. Every hug, late night talk, and reassuring smile makes us feel a little more normal again.

To those of you that sit in silence with us when we can’t find the words: you are speaking volumes.

To those of you that treat us like a normal human being, because that’s what we are: you make us feel sane.

To those of you that take the time to actually listen when we just need an ear: you’re helping us to get our emotions and feelings off our chests.

Living with a mental illness can be frustrating, challenging, lonely, and sometimes unbearable. But, having at least one person that knows just what to do, can make a huge difference in our lives.

You may not understand why we are the way we are, but you love us anyway. And, that is impressive. You will probably get aggravated with us. (Hell, we get aggravated with ourselves!) But, you don’t leave. You always stick by us. And, that is impressive. You show us compassion, even on the days we don’t want it. And, that is impressive.

YOU are impressive.

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Why Treating Yourself is Important

Treating yourself is essential for good mental health.

I’m not talking about spending $1,000 at your local makeup store, or buying $20 bath bombs. (But if that’s what you want to do, go for it!) I’m talking about taking fifteen minutes out of your day.

“But, fifteen minutes isn’t enough time to do anything.” FALSE.

Here are five things you can do each day in fifteen minutes or less to help relieve stress and improve mental health:

1. Meditate or pray.

Taking 15 minutes of silence can do a lot more than you would think. Spend time with yourself, and your thoughts. Pray for your needs. Concentrate, and just breathe.

2. Take a bath.

(If you’re not a bath person, showers are fine, too.) Make sure to use all your smell good bath products and essential oils. Putting some Lavendar in your bath is great for relaxation.

3. Do Yoga.

You don’t have to be experienced to do a Yoga routine. There are plenty of beginner videos that are great on YouTube. If you aren’t into Yoga, just take some time to stretch your muscles and relax your body.

4. Listen to music.

Music is a big part of my life. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, I always want to listen to music. It’s so therapeutic. I have different playlists for my different moods. It ranges from Broadway to alternative rock, and everything in between.

5. Go outside.

Fresh air and sunshine can make a big difference in your mood. Go for a walk around the block, or just soak up the sun on your deck. Take in that Vitamin D!

A lot of people think they can’t take care of themselves because they don’t have the time or money. But, it is so important to take that small amount of time out of your day to take care of yourself. You only get one body, and one mind. Make sure you treat it right!

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#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