Sarah Fader, CEO and founder of the non-profit organization Stigma Fighters, started a movement on Twitter #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike and it has taken the internet by storm. This one hashtag has allowed hundreds of people to express their feelings and/or experiences of the impact anxiety has on their lives. Most people suffer in silence because anxiety tells us nobody will understand, and a lot of people don’t. If you don’t have an anxiety disorder, if you’ve never had a panic attack, it’s nearly impossible to explain how debilitating it is. I think Sarah’s trending hashtag is going a long way to open people’s eyes about how the anxious mind works. Continue reading
She’s a fighter, they say, been on the front lines in the battles against her own mind for many years. She’s been fortunate despite her illness, though, comes from a loving and supportive family. They say she’s better now, the depression is under control and she’s on the right track. They all talk about how much she’s grown and the things she’s accomplished in recent years. She thinks it’s nice they’re proud of her.
She’s gotten better at presenting well and hiding her emotions, most of the time. She will tell you she is better at managing her emotions, most of the time she is. She still feels it gnawing at the edges of her sanity, an inexplicable fear and sadness scratching her smooth surface. She’s sure you can see it if you look into her eyes, but she’s not sure anyone is looking closely enough. They see what they want to see, she tries to feel what they want her to feel – she wants to feel it, too.
She tries to tell them she doesn’t feel right, that the edges are crumbling and the walls are closing in. They tell her she’s fine, this is what real life feels like. She questions herself and she questions them; after all, real life to her is different than real life to them. She wonders if feeling nothing and fearing everything is what real life is supposed to be like. They say to stay the course. They tell her to hold on and she’ll make it – welcome to the real world.
She wants to believe she can be free from the traps her mind sets so cleverly. She wants to be sure she’s not slipping back into the depths of depression’s grasp. She struggles to see clearly; feels weighted down, lethargic, and often teary. Uninspired, disenchanted, and restless, the days drag by endlessly. She uses all strategies in combating these unwelcome symptoms of her disease. She is a fighter, she refuses to let this battle be her defeat.
They say she’s better now, they say the depression is at bay. She says it depends on how you measure what ‘better’ is. She’ll tell you she’s fought enough to know she’s stronger now, but the depression is never far enough away. She’s learned the hard way that they don’t understand the intensity of her feelings and that’s okay. They love her, she thinks it’s nice they want her to be happy – even if they don’t look too closely.
Today I am a guest on Stigma Fighters!!!
“The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.” –E.E. Cummings
I remember feeling different when I started third grade, as though there was an impenetrable glass wall between myself and my peers. I could see them, I could hear them, but I could not relate to them. Kids don’t handle ‘different’ well and they were not kind to me. I was sensitive and became an easy target. Little did I know this was just the beginning of a lifelong battle between what was considered ‘normal’ and how my brain works…
Join me for the rest of the story over on the Stigma Fighters website!
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Are You More Aware? #DCfC
Towards the end of March I went through a pretty major medication change for my mental health. By the first week in April I was thinking more clearly than I had in probably a year, maybe longer. One evening I was sitting on the couch watching television with my husband when all of a sudden I had this idea! Could I host a guest series for the month of May all about mental health awareness? May IS mental health awareness month, and I AM passionate about promoting education and awareness in regards to mental health. So, I hopped online to consult my blog sister, Lizzi, and see if she thought it was a viable concept. She did! But then I thought, who do I ask to write for me? It was already April, was I giving my potential writers enough time to put something together? Continue reading