As many of my readers know, I suffer severe anxiety. However, I have never explained the origins of my Anxiety Disorder, in depth. So, I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about that in this article, as well as share some useful tips for people who may also be living with anxiety.

I always knew that I was anxious as a child, even if I did not experience the horror of panic attacks until adulthood. I can clearly remember experiencing stress during school holidays; I felt that there was something I was missing. It was hard for me to conceive that I had 1 – 2 weeks off of school where I could relax and not worry.

Now, fast forward several years, until I was in my 18th year; this is when my anxiety came in at full force. I had recently graduated from high school when I received word that a friend and former classmate had committed suicide; it was my first experience with a sudden and traumatic death. To this day, I can remember that I didn’t cry during the funeral; I was too shocked to feel anything. However, at about midnight, I woke up after a vivid dream where I had witnessed my friend’s death. My heart was racing, and I couldn’t breathe. Back then, I had no idea what was happening to me. I had never had a panic attack before; I was sure that I was going to die.

Since my first panic attack as an 18-year-old, I have suffered many more of the course of my life, and I will likely suffer from more yet. I will admit that it took me a longer time than it should have to realize that something was wrong, and to speak up about it. However, once I worked up the courage to talk to my family, and my doctor about my anxiety, things started to look up. I had discovered that I had a team that wanted to help me gain control of my anxiety so that I could maintain a “normal” life.

Essentially, the most important thing that I have learned through my experience is that I will always have to live with anxiety, but I don’t always have to let it control me. So, I urge you to speak up if you suffer from depression or have feelings of anxiety that prevent you from enjoying life. You have a voice, and you do not have to suffer alone. There is no shame in mental illness, and there is no shame in needing the help of medication. Personally, I wish I had spoken up sooner; it would have saved me from unnecessary suffering and thoughts of suicide.

In closing, if anyone reading this suffers from a mental illness, I would like to give them a virtual hug and tell them to hang in there. With time and effort, things will get better.

Here are a few tips to help you on the road to recovery:

  • Be kind to yourself; it isn’t okay to treat others unkindly, so why should we treat ourselves like that?
  • Do not get discouraged if you experience ‘down’ days, we all experience these on occasion.
  • Lastly, be sure to take the time for self-care, which may include participating in an activity or hobby that you enjoy.

Published by Melissa Rose