This past week I’ve been doing a little series on the blog about mental illness, more particularly, anxiety and depression. These are things I’ve learned from my personal experiences. I know that if I read this when I was struggling it would have helped me immensely so I hope someone gets value from it.
❋ Remember that your body is doing the best it can. Don’t blame yourself or your body. If you experience panic attacks, don’t blame your body. Your body is simply trying to protect you from danger, unfortunately it misunderstood the messages from your mind, but that is not its fault. Be compassionate with yourself and your body.
❋ Talk to someone. Make sure you talk about everything that’s on your mind. This means everything, from anxiety to relationships, what you felt towards something 5 years ago but it’s still bothering you, etc. Let go of those feelings by talking to someone. This helped me so much! Talking and rationalizing things out loud with someone made everything in my mind much clearer. This is something I still practice, whenever I have something on my mind I just talk about it and it helps me process everything and come to a conclusion rather than having that thoughts always in my mind.
❋ Understand that anxiety is a normal thing that everyone experiences. Even though you might feel different or “weird”, realise that a lot of people have or had a mental illness. It is a common thing that it tends to happen more commonly than what people talk about. Don’t judge yourself. You are a perfectly normal human being. You are not weird. You are not alone.
❋ Educate yourself. Ask your doctor / psychiatric / psychologist exactly what you have, what causes it, why your body reacts a certain way, how you can prevent it, etc. Educating yourself about what you are going through is a great way to understand how ‘normal’ it is. Personally, I found really reassuring to know that my body was actually reacting in a natural way (just at the wrong time and occasion). I also found extremely helpful to learn how I could control the first symptoms of a panic attack as it helped me control my anxiety. Once you shift your perception of anxiety from being an irrational thing to a rational reaction that is happening in your body, it becomes much easier to deal with it and overcome it.
❋ Identify irrational thoughts. Identify the irrational thoughts that bring you anxiety. Also, identity the irrational thoughts you have about yourself. This could be, for example, “I am alone”, “I can’t breathe”, “I deserve this”, “I am going to have this for the rest of my life”, “I am not meant to be happy”, etc. These are irrational thoughts. Just by identifying these thoughts as irrational – not trying to change them – it will help you identify what is real. And let me tell you that “I deserve this” is definitely not real, it is irrational.
❋ Allow yourself to go through this. Allow yourself some time. Allow yourself the space. Being a teenager with a mental illness I felt like I was missing out constantly. In my head I had this constant voice saying that I should be having best years of my life…I should be going out to clubs and parties… but I couldn’t even leave the house. It was like I was in a battle between the state that I was (with a mental illness) and what I perceived I should be doing as a teenager. I wish I knew at the time that it is okay. It is okay to have different experiences from the people around you, to have different paths. Focus on your present and your own journey.
It took me a long time to write is post. I feel like there is so much more I could add. Forgive! Forgive yourself, forgive your body, forgive your mind. It is not your fault. There is no need to attribute fault, things happen and we learn from them.
This concludes my collection of posts on mental illnesses – more specifically anxiety. But that doesn’t mean the discussion needs to stop. If you have any question about anything I spoke about or my personal experience, feel free to ask. Make sure you don’t miss my last posts:
Thank you so much for reading! Lots of love,