caitlinBe kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Plato

This is the fourth time I’ve sat down in an attempt to write this blog. I’ve stared at my computer sipping numerous cups of coffee, typed a few sentences, deleted those sentences, and tried again. I find it hard to talk about my anxiety because none of the words ever feel right. I never want to come off as too dramatic, overly sensitive, or ungrateful. I have a wonderful life and I’m lucky to have all that I do. However, I have realized that this is something beyond my control. Enough is enough.  It’s time to start talking.

There are a lot of things that make me anxious. The first thing I can remember experiencing anxiety over is Halloween. I’m not entirely sure why, but every October, my stomach would begin to squirm. This feeling would last through most of the winter until the first signs of spring appeared. As I got older, though, this anxiety was not only confined to the fall and winter. It began to take over the rest of my year.

Speak Out Now

I continue to stare at this page not knowing where to go or what to say. All I want people to know is that there are others out there who experience the same or similar feelings that you do. There is always another person who can empathize with you. You are not alone. Too many times I have thought that I would just have to live in a constant state of panic for the rest of my life. I’ve buried my feelings and cast them aside because I didn’t want to bother anyone with my presumed ramblings of nonsense. But I don’t want to do that anymore, and I am sure many of you reading this don’t want to either. So I have a challenge for us all: start speaking out. Find a friend, parent, sibling, family member, teacher, counselor, anyone you trust to talk with. I will reiterate: there is always someone willing to listen and help.

I can’t pretend that I have any answers or any magical remedies to stop panic and anxiety attacks. Since beginning school as a full-time student again, my anxiety has taken over. My heart races for seemingly no reason, my hands are clammy, and I am always hulled up somewhere terrified that I’m making all the wrong decisions. But I’ve recently made the conscious decision to take matters into my own hands and start taking care of myself. Why? Because I am worth it. And you are too…we can do this together!

Don’t Hide Out

Anxiety - Arrows Hit in Target.It scares me that I’m sending this out into cyberspace to be immortalized forever. On the one hand, I’m revealing a fact about myself that I try to hide on a fairly regular basis because I’ve learned and internalized the stigma associated with the expression of mental illness. However, if I can reach at least one person who then understands that there is always hope and I’ve somehow lent out a hand in their journey to seek help, well, I think I’ve accomplished exactly what I’ve set out to do.

Need a little inspiration? Here are two of my favorite resources:

1. “There is Still Some Time” by Jamie Tworkowski

2. “Just For Today” by Dear Abby

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