Let’s Talk about Anxiety
As many of you know I suffer from anxiety.
I was officially diagnosed in 2003 but I believe I have suffered from it my entire life.
My mom was also a sufferer. However, back then I did not understand it. I would get so frustrated with her because I just wanted her to be “normal.” I wanted my mom to be there with us every step of the way whether it be for a Christmas concert, a swimming lesson, or a school awards night. She never came on family trips either. She just couldn’t because of her anxiety. She didn’t want to leave her safe place.
Now I know exactly how she feels. I know the hell she went through.
When going through my bouts of anxiety (which continue to this day) I have felt completely and utterly alone. My thoughts turn completely negative and bring me down even more. Some times I feel like I am never going to dig my way out, to see the light, and be what I consider “normal.” I know there is no real “normal.” Everyone goes through their own unique situations.
All I know is that I want to be rid of this anxiety. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.
There are things I want to do so badly and I can’t – don’t – won’t – because I am too scared. I am scared that my anxiety is going to rear its ugly head and I am going to embarrass myself.
Case in point, this weekend I attended my son’s hockey tournament. I was so excited to see him play. I wanted to be a supportive parent and be there for him. I wanted to show him how much I love him and am so proud of him for doing something he loves completely and utterly. I got to the rink, sat down to watch and I felt an attack surface. I immediately removed myself from the crowd of people. I managed to hold it together and not show anyone what I was experiencing. Not that they would have made fun of me or anything. I know they probably would have understood or shown support for me. But sometimes I feel like they just don’t understand. So I hide.
Then, last night I returned for the first time in months to my favourite service group. One that I was so happy and proud to be a part of in the past. Within a few minutes I had an attack. I had to leave the room. I felt so defeated. All I wanted was to be out doing what I love and my anxiety was preventing me from doing that. I just wanted to scream, run away and give up. After a while I managed to calm down. I had been smart this time and took my emergency medication with me. However, I really dislike relying on medication to get me through situations. I guess if I need it though, it is there for me.
My worst fear is that my anxiety will prevent me from leaving my home. It already has to some degree. I don’t want to turn into my mother. (I know I shouldn’t compare myself to her because she had other problems as well but I do. It’s hard not to.)
I want to be there for my kids. I want to be able to see and experience their achievements. I want to go on family trips. I just want to be there for them and not have them feel sad because their mom is not there with them. I am so scared of ruining their childhood with my anxiety.
I have researched about anxiety thoroughly and sometimes think I know too much. Then there are other times where I feel like I know nothing at all and I am back to square one, learning all over again. Like a counsellor told me, I have all of the tools to get better. I just I need to put them into action and work a little harder. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic pill that could make it all disappear? I will do it though. I will overcome it some day in my own time. I will not only do it for myself, but I will do it for my boys, my husband and my family.
Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience or suffer from mental illness at one point in their lives? Today, February 8, is Bell Let’s Talk Day. It is a day to raise awareness about mental illnesses and to remove the stigma surrounding those illnesses.
Personally, I have found that talking about my anxiety has helped greatly. I have learned that there are many other different mental illnesses such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, etc.
Most importantly, I have found that I am not alone. There are people out there just like me who suffer each and every day.
So, please take the time to visit Bell’s website and read about Let’s Talk.
Maybe it will be the step you need in getting better or maybe it will be the step you take in order to help someone else get better.