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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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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An Open Letter to the Wondering Soul

Here’s to all you travelers, gypsy souls, free spirits, artists, creatives, and day dreamers. 

This one is for you. 

Do not let people steal your sense of adventure. 

Being adventurous is a good trait. Don’t be convinced otherwise. It is o.k. to want to see and try new things. Always let your soul wonder. Never stop dreaming about your next adventure. 

The wanderers are the ones to be envied. Not everyone has it in them to be spontaneous. A gypsy soul is beautiful. 

Keep on creating. 

I’ve learned that nothing spurs my creativity as an artist, more than going on adventures. I get inspired by so many things. Even the smallest of adventures can help to create something magnificent. 

If taking a walk through the woods inspires you to create art, then start walking.

If going to the city brings your imagination to life, then go. 

If the grocery store gets your juices flowing, then make a shopping list!

Do whatever it takes to create YOUR art. It’s worth it. 

Don’t let life steal your joy. 

The routine of everyday life can really way heavy on the Wondering soul. It can make you feel complacent and bored. 

Find beauty in the everyday things. Make something unusual out of the ordinary. Don’t let your day job stop you from achieving your day dream. 

There are so many things to be seen in this world. In fact, there is plenty to be explored in your own city, town, and backyard! 

Don’t let your spirit leave, and don’t allow your light to be put out. The world would be so boring without the adventurers. Just think of everything that would have gone undiscovered. 

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Three ways People with a Mental Illness are Asking for Help without Actually Asking

Each year, about 42.5 million Americans are suffering with a mental illness. That’s nearly one in every five. This could mean Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Chronic Depression, Schizophrenia, etc.

Mental illnesses tend to be silent killers. People will fight with their sickness, without telling anyone. It’s not something you can physically see, but is VERY real. For those not suffering from a mental disorder, it may be easy to overlook the signs that a loved one is suffering.

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How do you know if someone is screaming for help? Here are three signs to look for:

Becoming Distant:
If someone is suffering with their depression, anxiety, etc., they might tend to make themselves distant from loved ones. They will become quiet, and keep to themselves. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to be helped. It may just mean that they are afraid to ask for it. They may be scared of being a burden. Don’t look past it. Reach out to them.

Acting out: 

If your loved ones aren’t acting like themselves, there could be a good reason. Sometimes, people “act out” in hopes to bring attention to the fact that they need help. They may not come out and tell you directly. A lot of people are quick to judge, and assume there isn’t a good reason behind a person’s negative actions. But, sometimes, there are very good reasons. Offering help might make more of a difference than you think.

 

Hinting around:

Sometimes people are afraid, or embarrassed to come out and tell you that they’re suffering. They may hint around about it when talking to you. They won’t say it out right, but you should be able to notice. With it being the age of Social Media, you can also pay attention to your loved one’s posts.

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Suicide is the last scream for help when it comes to this. It is the leading cause of premature death among people with mental illnesses. Don’t wait until it’s too late to pay attention. Don’t wait until your loved one is gone to realize they’re suffering. Look at them. Love them. Talk to them.

 

If you are struggling with your mental illness, PLEASE GET HELP. Do not be afraid to ask for it. Just know that there is always someone that will listen. There is someone that cares about you. I CARE ABOUT YOU.

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Coping with the Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder

Just because you’ve been diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, doesn’t mean you’re a different person than you were before. 

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First and foremost: If you’ve been diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder, do not let anyone tell you, or make you feel like it’s nothing. It is something. It’s a serious disorder. Don’t let other people tell you how to handle it. If you need medication, take it. If medication doesn’t work for you, then don’t take it. If natural remedies are what you need, then do them. Do what YOU need to do to help yourself. They say when there’s turbulence in a plane, to put your oxygen mask on first. This is good advice. You have to help yourself first sometimes, to be able to take care of others.

Your mental health is vital to living a good life. Living in a bad mental state can lead to a bad physical state. Stress can cause so much damage. Make sure to take the necessary steps for keeping your mind as healthy as it can be.

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Second of all, while you should take your diagnosis seriously, you should not let it rule your life. You are so much more than your disorder. It is only a small part of what makes you, you. Your brain may be wired a little differently than most people’s, but that doesn’t mean it’s broken.

I have Anxiety Disorder, but I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a photographer, an adventurer, and a believer. And, even all of those things are just a fraction of what makes me who I am.

There’s a lot to you, too. Don’t let go of who you are. Don’t drop everything else, and cater to your disorder.

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Lastly, just keep breathing. Take it one day at a time. Don’t panic because the future seems scary. Don’t think about the bad days that might happen. Think about all the good days you have ahead of you. And, there WILL be good days. Lots of them.

Getting diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder isn’t the end of the world for you, even though it may feel like it sometimes. The world; YOUR world, will keep turning.

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Anxious Girl//Big City

I went to Chicago, IL this weekend. I wanted to share some of my photos with you all, along with give you some inspiration!

As most of you know, I struggle almost daily with my anxiety. I decided that I wanted to go to Chicago, and I wasn’t going to let my anxiety keep me from going! I made up my mind that I was going to be strong, and go on an adventure. And, that’s exactly what I did. 

Now, while I have learned to control my anxiety disorder… to an extent… my sister is a slightly different story. She has severe anxiety as well, and just has not learned how  put mind over matter all the time yet. But Guys! I am so proud of her. She wanted to go to Chicago with us! Usually, this wouldn’t even cross her mind. 

She did not let her anxiety define her, and took the five hour trip. She was so excited to see everything. She even chose some of our activities, like the river boat tour. 

Moral of my story: DO NOT LET YOUR DISORDER CONTROL YOUR LIFE. Go on adventures. See new things. You will be so glad you did it. There’s no feeling like the feeling of overcoming your fears, and living! 

So, here’s to me and my sister overcoming our disorder, and everyone else like us doing the same. We are going to live life to the fullest, and nothing is going to stop us!

Why my Faith is Strong Despite my Disorder

I have had many battles with my anxiety disorder. Have I won each fight? Absolutely not. It has knocked me down and beaten me HARD. But, I will always get back up. I will always keep fighting against it. And, I will always have my faith. Here’s why:

 My faith gives me a reason to fight. 

Faith gives me so many reasons to keep going. I’m going to be real with you guys: it got pretty dark for me for a while. I was depressed, thinking about giving up, having terrible thoughts, and stayed in a constant state of panic. I couldn’t control my own mind 90% of the time. 

God says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. That has to be true, because mustard seed faith was ALL I had. I feel like I used every last bit of my faith I had left in me to beg God one more time to help me. There I was, in my living room floor, sobbing, and begging that God would help me. I had reached my limit. If I bent any further, I was going to break in two. 

It was in that exact moment that I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time: relief. I had renewed hope for my life. I felt like I could breathe again. For so long, I had been barely getting by. I couldn’t enjoy life. I couldn’t even step outside my front door without falling apart. The things that passed through my head were awful. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Feeling a sense of relief was definitely welcomed. 

Of course, I had hard days. (I still do.) But, I knew that God would get me through it. 

My faith is strong now, because of the things my disorder has put me through. If I hadn’t have been at such a low point in my life, I wouldn’t have experienced being pulled out of it. And, that’s a feeling I’ll never forget. 

I am so thankful that I held onto my faith, even if it was just by a thread. I am so thankful to be here today. I’m even thankful for my bad days, because I know that I am strong enough to get through them. I am strong, and my faith makes me stronger everyday. 
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