This is by far the most personal blog I’ve done yet. It is a topic that is very heavy on my heart lately and I would love for this content to bring awareness of mental health and hopefully help someone who is currently struggle with mental illness.
I want to start by saying, in no way or form do I consider myself unhappy, unlucky, or a victim. I know I am truly blessed with a comfortable life and great company to share it with. I am 100% aware that there are so many other people who have hardships that are far more troubling than my own. With that being said, I will admit that I struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder aka GAD. I was first diagnosed in College about 4-5 years ago. GAD is by definition a disorder characterized by excessive, long-lasting anxiety about non-specific life events, objects, and situations. I would personally define GAD by saying it is a constant feeling of stress/worry/anxiousness/fear about not being able to control the generalized future or events of your life. It’s completely normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially if your life is stressful. However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that interfere with day-to-day activities may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder. GAD is an illogical and unrealistic fear which is why I personally get so frustrated with it. I realize that it is a total waste of energy to worry and feel so anxious all the time about things I can’t control but it truly is something that is extremely hard to manage even with that realization. The crazy thing is, people with GAD have trouble both identifying the specific fear that is causing them so much anxiety. I often don’t even realize I’m that stressed until I get the physical symptoms of GAD.
My first panic attack occurred in college when I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to juggle several things at once. I have very high expectations of myself which I feel can bring on my symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks. A panic attack for me, is a combination of trouble breathing or catching ones breath, hyperventilating, sweating, dizziness, nausea, feeling light-headed and a red rash that occurs on my back. Panic attacks tend to arise abruptly and peak after 10 minutes, but they then may last for hours. Panic attacks usually occur after frightening experiences or prolonged stress, but they can be spontaneous as well. For someone who is inexperienced with panic attacks, they might mistake the symptoms for an illness; which happened to me and led me to seek a Doctors help and discover my diagnosis.
Mental health is a huge part of overall health and is just as important to work on your mental well-being as it is your physical health. For me, they go hand-in hand. I find the best way to minimize and control my symptoms is through physical exercise and meditation. Being outdoors and staying active help relieve my anxiety by relieving my stress and producing endorphins to improve my overall mood. That may be a big reason of why I love fitness so much in the first place. Meditation is also a great way to ease breathing and relax the body since GAD makes it EXTREMELY hard for me to ever feel relaxed or sit down and take a break for that matter. I try to use natural remedies/activities to subside my symptoms instead of going straight to prescription drugs or other methods that aren’t as healthy. My prescribed anxiety meds make me feel drowsy and foggy which is no way to live in my opinion, so I use those as my last resort for relief. I sometimes use herbal supplements or essential oils to help ease GAD symptoms as well. But I don’t find those as effective. I feel like a lot of the relief from those oils is mental (considering it is a mental illness) so taking something that tells me it will ease my anxiety probably has more of a placebo effect on the brain to make me believe it’s working than physical. Nonetheless, I’m open to anything that helps!
I don’t think that GAD is an overall bad thing either. I’m aware that I could have it a lot worse! With that being said, I do notice Generalized Anxiety Disorder does makes me a very productive person since I can never fully relax and am constantly thinking of tasks I should be doing or preparing something to make my future go more smoothly. Personally, I try to channel this negative energy into being productive and get as much benefit from it instead of letting the anxiety control me. The more I educate myself on Generalized Anxiety Disorder and bring light to it, the stronger I feel that I can overcome it. Anxiety and anxiety attacks are not something I can 100% prevent but I can definitely be stronger than GAD and continue being a happy human 🙂
The main reason I wanted to discuss mental illness with y’all is because it is more common than people realize. I hope this helps you become more aware, and realize that even the most unsuspecting, everyday people can be struggling with mental health. We need to be more open-minded to this kind of discussion and educate our youth on mental illness so we can prevent it from escalating to something more dangerous and prevent harmful thoughts that could arise from mental illness. I apologize if this content offends anyone, but I am not sorry if this makes you feel uncomfortable because I want you to feel something. I want you to feel anything at all. We try to harden ourselves so much that we forget how good it feels to feel compassionate towards others and connect with others. To all my spiritual gangstas, if you are currently living with anxiety, depression, or other mental illness feel free to comment with tips that help bring you peace and I’m always here for support as well if you need!