I suffer from anxiety attacks. It got so bad that at one point I was on medication. Medication only masked the anxiety and made me feel better in that moment. I am not an advocate for medication as the first and only option to mental health. I am an advocate of acknowledging and treating the root of mental health issues.
I remember one time having an anxiety attack on the floor in my room when I was a teenager. I was told to“just stop it”. I realize that was a common way to deal with things, to dismiss it but I don’t think anyone knew what I was dealing with. Mental health is not something openly discussed in families and my issue was never addressed as being a mental problem. Even though they probably thought I was crazy I’m really not…I think. I was just labeled as sensitive or emotional as if every little thing that hurt my feelings would set me off crying and hyperventilating, while in reality most of the times there was nothing to provoke my anxiety. I would get this tingly feeling coursing thru my body; my chest would get tight, couldn’t breathe and start to hyperventilate. My anxiety actually got worse when I went to college. I had a lot to be worried about. After many visits to the ER I was diagnosed with Generalized AnxietyDisorder and given medication to take whenever I felt myself getting anxious or feeling out of breath. At first it felt good to have this light airy feeling of euphoria over me and then I realized it was just a band aid. Like most prescription meds it didn’t cure my anxiety it made me dependent on it, so eventually I stopped taking them.(Do miss that euphoria feeling sometimes though) I started to go to the counseling center on my schools campus because for me I felt that I needed to talk to someone. I am the person that holds things in and then explodes later on, so it was very weird sitting there telling some stranger how I felt and her just staring back at me. I needed to be comfortable with her and it was a process that I found was helpful in me managing my anxiety. Many days I’m great and some nights I can’t sleep. I have headaches, irritability, lightheadedness, and feel out of breath. My acceptance of my anxiety allows me to seek ways to treat and cope with it. Writing is therapy for me, music is my drug and freedom of expression heals me.
Mental health is a how we think, feel and behave as we deal with life. It’s in direct relation with how we deal with stress, deal with others and make choices. Even unhealthy relationships can affect our mental health. Don’t let anyone stress you out so much that you get depressed, have feelings of emptiness or low-self esteem, or put up with emotional abuse by a partner. Relationships should uplift and add quality to your life, not make you feel bad. Many people who have mental health conditions consider their signs and symptoms a normal part of life or avoid treatment out of shame or fear. There is a stigma with admitting that something may be wrong or seeing a therapist. Family and friends should be supportive in dealing with mental health conditions but not help perpetuate or trivialize their loved one’s symptoms.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month so regardless of having a mental health condition EVERYONE needs to maintain healthy mental health practices. Every bad emotion is not a mental health condition but we as humans need to take care of our minds just as much as ours bodies. Our health is more than just our physical health it is our spiritual and mental health combined. Mental health conditions can lead to serious complications such as ulcers, migraines, high blood pressure, chronic pain and even heart attacks.
We need to lean on others who are sensitive to what we are going through and have open communication in discussing our feelings, needs and wants. IT IS OKAY TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP. You are not weak! It takes a lot of strength to ask for help. Listen to your body. Acknowledge your feelings and emotions. Take time to breathe. Listen to music. Read. Dance. Be active. Be still. Meditate.Write. Laugh. Paint. Sing. Love. HEAL.