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Mental Health Awareness: My Anxiety Journey

My Anxiety Journey | Ashleymarlenis.com

 

Photo by Viktoria Hall-Waldhauser on Unsplash

 

This post has been a long one coming, It’s incredibly difficult to finally put it out in the open but those who know me might be shocked that I’ve been dealing with anxiety for as long as I have. This is a long post, but if you read it in its entirety it would mean the world to me.

Anxiety is something that people have this weird stigma against and honestly that stigma was very prominent in my life. Unfortunately, I thought that having anxiety meant that there was something wrong with me and that it wasn’t okay to not be okay. It absolutely is. As I’ve become more comfortable with myself and my mental health, I’ve finally come to terms with talking to a licensed professional and start taking medication for my anxiety.

Due to the stigma on mental health only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment for their anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.  (this statistical data was found on Anxiety and Depression Association of America).

I honestly can say that I have struggled with Anxiety and Depression for the vast majority of my life starting when I was about 10 years old and reached its peak when I was 23 ( my age now) and I had never been on medication up until now which was genuinely because I was scared to be on a medication for the rest of my life and didn’t want to be dependent on one.

Anxiety can definitely be genetic and I have anxiety and depression in my family so It’s no surprise that it hit me the older I got. I won’t go too in depth about my family history with both of these mental health issues since this post is about me and not my family. After talking to my doctor she explained that it was more than likely a genetic trait after letting her know about my family medical history.

The 4 years I was in college I completely realized that I was a type A personality and that my anxiety was worsening no matter how I tried to mask it, more so the last two years have been extremely difficult for me. I would cry and feel a bit lost almost daily to the point where I didn’t want to be around or near anyone and at that point when I was 20-21 I felt completely alone. I was constantly worried about deadlines and upset because I was constantly in a state of wanting things to be completely organized (If you had seen my school notes, you would know what I mean)

I would be extremely anxious and those of you who suffer with anxiety know that it is extremely difficult to do anything without a voice in the back of your head saying “no you can’t” or  “what are other people going to think”. There is no real rime or reason it just happens.

By the time I hit my age of 23 years old I hit a nervous breaking point because the real world had honestly hit me hard after I graduated this past May. I managed to get a job ( that was not in my field) and making more money than I have ever made from a job and working full time— by all means it is great, but I felt very lost and felt like I wasn’t doing enough for someone my age. I had an emotional breaking point due to the stress of having a brand new job and pressure to do well and I honestly couldn’t function and my body was hating me for it. I could not eat because my stomach was upset all the time and I felt so uncomfortable with everything, and my anxiousness was really bad where I couldn’t focus on anything. Thankfully with the help of my family and my lovely boyfriend I decided to get help from a professional.

Marc ( my lovely boyfriend ) has been there for me through thick and thin and he has seen my have many panic attacks due to my anxiety in the 2 and 1/2 years together. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrible and emotional the last three years have been nor can I tell you what it feels like to be stressed to the point of not being able to breathe.

After seeing my doctor, I was prescribed Sertraline aka. Zoloft and it has been working wonderfully for me and has me calmer than ever without compromising my own personality traits which is what I wanted. I didn’t want to feel like a zombie or not be able to take myself off of it when I am ready. It was one of my concerns but honestly this medicine has changed my level of focus and it makes like easier to really go on with my day.

 

With all this being said, I am incredibly happy that I am starting to feel comfortable in social situations and comfortable with my own mind. I want to make it known that it IS okay to not be okay, nothing is wrong with you if you have that constant nagging feeling and feeling like things are so more than what other people think. Being emotional is okay, and while some loved ones may not understand – it doesn’t diminish how they love you. It is okay to seek help, it’s okay to lean on your friends and family- they will not be burdened by your feelings. You are wonderful if you read all of this, Anxiety is a journey and not something that will ever completely go away but it a healing journey. Which is exactly what I am doing right now. Healing.

 

 

It is okay, to not be okay. You are so much stronger than you think.

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