No really, I think I'm dying.
Photo Credit: http://www.cit-nj.org/
I'm FINE. Leave me alone. I'm tired. I need a nap. I'm mad. My head hurts. My chest hurts. I'm dying.
These are words my husband deals with because he married someone with anxiety. It took a long time to realize that the mood swings, the misplaced anger, the fatigue, the pain, the fear, and the crying were all happening because of the same reason: ANXIETY. That bitch.
Even though this isn't my first experience with dealing with anxiety, it still took quite some time to gather the courage to even admit I knew there was an issue. It took even longer to make an appointment to ask for help. To ask for....drugs. I needed medical help. I needed to utilize medication to help me get out of bed every day and not feel terrified that I was going to die.
What was the last straw? I broke down and told my doctor that I hadn't slept more than an hour at a time because I was terrified of going to sleep and the house catching fire and my family dying. Common sense says the chances of this happening are slim especially when taking precautions like not burning unattended candles or not leaving burners on. However it was a very real fear for me. I felt like everyone hated me. I couldn't breathe. My chest constantly hurt, and I couldn't stop crying.
You might say, "Why would you let this go on so long? Why wouldn't you just go to the doctor right away?"
Why? Because it is incredibly embarrassing. It feels shameful to admit that you have a mental health problem. People laugh and refer to medication as happy pills. And that's a damn shame. This is a serious medical problem, even if you can't see it. People suffering from mood disorders or mental health problems may look great on the outside, but on the inside feel like a total mess. You never know who may be secretly trying to handle their anxiety.
I recently had been feeling so great I thought, Hey. I can totally control this. I can handle this on my own. Let's stop taking medication. BAD IDEA.
I didn't want to feel like a slave to my mental health. I wanted to be normal. My body, mood, and husband all reminded me that, no. I need to continue using medication.
It isn't bad. It isn't wrong. It isn't an excuse. It shouldn't be embarrassing. Even if you cannot understand what someone with anxiety goes through everyday, continue to show compassion. The National Institute of Mental Health (n.d.) shows that 18.1% of the U.S. population suffer from a form of anxiety. Yet only 36.9% of those receive treatment. This is unacceptable. Be kind. Don't cut them out just because they suddenly decline all of your invitations.
Some day they will be ready to get out from the under covers, and they will appreciate that you are still there. Send a reminder text that you still love them. Some day they'll be ready to reciprocate the support for you.
*Currently written from under my pillow fort. Because this week has been rough.
Some days it takes an act of God to get me out of bed. Sometimes I feel great. Some times I lose the battle and live in my pillow fort for a few days. All that matters is tomorrow is another day.
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.) Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/file_148008.pdf.