Mental health is very important for everyone to make sure they are conscious of. I’m very passionate about keeping your mental health in balance, as I struggle daily with anxiety.
Lately, mental health and the stigma’s surrounding it have been very present in social media. With the Canadian cellphone company Bell promoting mental health with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, Demi Lovato promoting her mental health organization and much more, efforts around the world are coming together to show support for awareness of mental health.
Mental health is a broad term which covers all sorts of mental disabilities and diseases. Ranging from anxiety and panic disorders to Bipolar disorder to eating disorders, many organizations are available to educate you about what you or a friend might be experiencing.
I was first diagnosed with anxiety my freshman year of high school after a fainting and dehydration spell which led to numerous doctor’s visits. At first, it was suggested that I work with a therapist to talk out my emotions and learn coping mechanisms. Therapists are like a pair of shoes, you have to try them on and maybe break them in before deciding that they aren’t the right pair for you. The first woman I met with was not the one for me and did not offer me much help. After searching endlessly for someone else to help me and guide me, I finally found someone who could offer advice and help me cope with my feelings.
Anxiety is different for everyone. My anxiety is both mental and physical. When I get anxious, my first sign is a sort of slow burning that creeps up my left wrist and into my hand. Next, my stomach goes crazy and lets just say I visit the bathroom more than I should. I also sometimes, depending on the severity of the anxiety and if it is a panic attack, cry.
It’s hard to cope with physical signs of anxiety because it also takes a toll on your body. I have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, which is a result of the overactive nerves in my digestive system and intestines due to the stress of my anxiety. Basically, I poop a lot more than the normal person, and suffer from severe stomach aches.
Now, IBS is not fun and is not something I can deal with on my own. Because I asked for help, I am now on anxiety medication for both my anxiety and IBS.
Anxiety prohibited me from participating in school activities, going to parties with my friends, and even just going out to the mall or out to eat. Anxiety increased my distorted self image and kept me from believing in myself. I chose to stay at home on Friday and Saturday nights, closed up in my room because I was anxious or had a stomach ache from IBS.
I DO NOT want you to feel the way I did. If you are struggling with yourself, please please please talk to someone. So many resources are available. Message me, comment on this post or email me and I can help you if you need.
Honestly, getting help for my anxiety is the BEST thing I have ever done. My mom told me the other day that she “had her little Abbey back” because I had been so swallowed up by anxiety for the past year. She tells me that she sees such a difference thanks to the medicine and I’m proud to say that I feel so much better.
Please take this seriously, as mental health is just as important as physical health.
Below are some links to educate yourself and get help:
I struggle daily, but I am proud to say that I have not given up. Let’s end the stigmas against mental illness and stop treating it like it doesn’t exist.