As March is mental wellness month, we wanted to share a different journal post than what we usually do here in the journal. We are today sharing a true, open and honest mental health story, what it is like living with a mental illness as well as the fight to go through it. This is Kristina's personal story, the marketing assistant at Moonchild.
It is a bit of a blur as to when it all began, I do not think there is a specific time or place. I have just always been an emotional person as well as the "good girl", the ambitious one and overachiever. I thought that anxiety is something I feel since I am an emotional person and I guess that is why I never talked about it.
Keeping your feelings to yourself is the worst thing you can do to yourself. The more you try to push it away, the more it will take over your body, your mind until your filled with it and everything explodes. As the "good girl" I tried to be, I did not want to bother anyone with my feelings or emotions and there is also something that felt shameful about my anxiety, because who am I to have anxiety when I live such a good life, who am I to feel bad when I am so privileged?
I wish the story ends there, with me having anxiety. But it does not. Because when you are trying to escape your ghosts, they start hunting you. It was like a ticking bomb by the time, a second from exploding. And then it all did. It was the time in my life filled with sleepless nights, and every time I fell asleep I woke up in a panic attack. Scared of going back to sleep and get another one. It was a time where I had two to three panic attacks a day and such a bad time in my life.
The worst part is that I tried to keep everything to myself. I did not talk to anyone about what was going on, because I felt ashamed. But you can´t keep things forever, and at one point I realized that myself. It was at the time when panic attacks and anxiety started to show in public, that I realized that I cannot keep things in any longer and it was at a time that I started to talk to my family about my health. I was always so scared of telling people because I was so sure that no one would understand what I was going through. But the support I got from friends and family meant everything for me and this journey would probably not end as good as it did without their love and support.
Things I wish I had known back then
- You have the right to feel what you are feeling, no one is allowed to tell you that you cannot feel the way you do.
- There is nothing shameful about going through what you are. This is your body's reaction to what you are going through right now.
- It is okay to talk with people and it is okay to ask for help! We are stronger together!
- You are supposed to feel good, no one is supposed to feel this anxiety and go through this every day. Even if you are an emotional person, it does not mean that it is normal to feel the anxiety you do every day.
- You are not your anxiety and it does not define you and who you are!
5 things you should do if you are dealing with anxiety and mental health disorder
- Open up, talk to someone. I have talked with many people on my journey to healing: family, friends, doctors, life coaches, and therapists. Be open-minded to what they have to say, but remember to try to find someone and something that works for you. You will not feel like everyone will understand or help you. So try out talking to different people and continue with the once that feels right for you
- Go out of a run. I know what it feels like, it might seem like the last thing you can do in this state of mind. I still remember the day when my parents force me to go out on a run. It was a nightmare. For every step I took and with every heartbeat I got more sure that a panic attack was on the rise. But after some minutes of running, walking and crying it still gave me endorphins and happiness that I hadn't been feeling in a long time.
- The last thing that helped me was my practice. To meditate, do yoga and journaling. When the day felt really bad. That could be the only good thing that happened during the day.
- Do not isolate yourself! While going through this, it is so easy to start isolating yourself, to start being home and start to avoid places where there is a lot of people. This was something I wanted to do since panic attacks often happened in crowded places. But you must continue to fight! You cannot isolate yourself or you will just make everything worse. Beleive me I have had panic attacks in shopping malls, trains and other public places and it is okay! You will survive it and it will only show how strong you are that you challenge yourself instead of isolate yourself.
Please note: If you are not feeling well it is important to contact someone to talk to. If you do not have anyone around you that you feel secure talking to, there is many organisations out there to contact. And if you need a friend to open up to don't hesitate, write to us in the MYCommunity!