9.03.2014

My Mental Health

Hello everybody.

   I’ve been having a difficult time collecting my thoughts for this post. I want to recount my current struggles with my mental health as well as therapy. It is something personal that I am choosing to share because I see it as being important. I am a human being with a mental disorder and others who come across this blog may have experienced something similar. It’s also a good way to document my experience for the future and to gather my thoughts. I find it a true challenge to speak fully and wholeheartedly with my therapist. I just get nervous and forget, words caught in my mouth. So having a little summary of my progress may prove to be helpful.
   I have always struggled with anxiety. It’s this intense fear that washes over me as if the world will suddenly be sucked into a black hole. My heart beats rapidly and my skin goes numb. Breathing becomes difficult and all I want to do is roll up into a little ball and cry. My therapist compared the bodily response of a panic attack with exercise. So let’s say you just had an amazing cardio workout, you’re sweating, your heart is racing and your breaths are hard and shallow. That’s exactly how it feels, minus the endorphins. Now this happens most severely any time I have to do something important. This may entail going to class, taking an exam or attending a meeting. My anxiety stems from an extreme fear of failure and of the unknown. Not knowing exactly how things will play out leaves room for mistake. Somewhere inside, my brain in wired to think this way. I need to know what’s going to happen so that I can do it well and not fail. Even a slight stutter, or a wrong answer, feels like the end of the world. Suddenly, I’m not good enough! I bully myself and say things like "I’m so stupid, what an idiot,etc...” Imagine being criticized this way every single day. If my internal monologue was an actual person, I would never be their friend.  So the first step is to realize that I am by no means unique. If a friend scored badly on an exam, I would never assume that they are monstrous human beings. So they did bad, who cares, study for the next one! Why would I treat myself any different? The next step is to be mindful. To become aware of all the times I place this immense pressure on myself. It sounds a lot easier that it actually is. When you’ve treated yourself this way your entire life, it’s hard to even realize you’re doing it! The last bit of advice, given to me by my therapist, is to find time to center myself and just breathe. A few moments of calm can help click that reset button. Make deep breathing a habit and pair those 5 to 10 minutes with a word or a positive thought.Tell yourself, this is how my day will pan out. I will be positive, relax.  
   Now unto the most recent addition to my mental health status, and that is a paralyzing fear of death. One which led to a week full of sobs and depression. I have these obsessive thoughts that linger around and pop in throughout the day. Anything can trigger it, even just seeing someone out and about,  I get a sudden pang. How long do they have left? He’s so old are his parents dead? What if I die? I don’t want my parents to die! One day I may be old and alone, everyone I love will be dead! etc… This fear of being mortal and not knowing how long we have left. To know that everyone you love is also mortal and can die, in an instant, just like that. It’s fucking scary. And living in this huge cloud of negativity has been the most terrifying thing I have ever had to live through. I can’t concentrate and have a difficult time falling asleep.Sometimes I feel useless and think to myself “what’s the point?” Othertimes, I find myself stuck in this awful horror film that just won’t end. Having these pervasive thoughts in conjunction with my anxiety have been extremely exhausting. The only step I’ve taken thus far to improve in this respect, is to accept the thought. Realize it is there, and let the thought go. Think of it as a thing outside of yourself, a word amongst other words that you can read if you’d like or skip.  But it’s much easier said than done.

   So that’s that. Those are things happening inside my head. Those are the things I’m trying to cope with and am getting help with. My apologies if this post was long and senseless but writing things down makes what’s happening more concrete. It allows me to feel more in control, if I can write about it, then I can change it. I hope it gave more insight into what I’m dealing with and I hope to see you soon with another post! Hopefully a more fun one. I hope you guys have a great night! 

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