Sitting on the couch with my laptop on my lap, I am reflecting on my new year’s resolution post three months ago and the events these past two years. So much has happened for many and much of it has led to stress. For myself, I have noticed a shift in my anxiety.
For reference, in the past, I have been diagnosed with PTSD, Depression, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The PTSD is due to my younger brother’s near-drowning accident about twenty-two years ago. The Depression goes in and out but hasn’t been in my life for two years now. Generalized Anxiety Disorder has been with me throughout my life. There isn’t a time in my life that I didn’t have it.
Needless to say, you can imagine the tears the Encanto soundtrack causes on a regular basis.
I mentioned that my anxiety had shifted. It has. It’s gotten stronger, more prevalent, and I can see the changes in my body faster. In a way, this is a good thing. It means I’m listening to my body, I’m learning the cause and effect that the day to day life has on my anxiety. On the downside, I’m noticing more panic attacks and that can make working just a tad bit difficult.
But, I do not look at this as a bad thing. Not really. You shouldn’t hide your mental health. It shouldn’t be a stigma, not for you and not for anyone. Why hide something that isn’t your fault? Why not embrace it and share your experiences so that another person can learn to embrace theirs?
I’ll be honest, two years ago, I hid my mental health. That was out of fear. I was afraid that something would come up during a very important time in my life and be used against me. Granted, I knew it was going to be no matter what, but I wasn’t allowing myself to be the owner of my mental health. You gain empowerment when you own it. Enough with hiding, I’m going to show who I am.
And that brings me to the crux of this blog post. I know, I took my time getting here, but it’s important that you saw how I got to this point. Because that empowerment in owning my anxiety and knowing that I am never going to “get better” is uplifting. It allows me to be gentle with myself. It gives me the permission I needed to fully step forward and say the hell with it.
Too many times I have seen people beat themselves up over their anxiety or panic attacks, myself included. We are inundated with judgement: in work, school, professional, home, it doesn’t matter where, it just happens. The problem isn’t judgement, everyone judges, it is how we react to the judgement and how we judge ourselves.
If we learn to be gentle with ourselves, we can be gentle with each other. And for me, that’s not giving a rat’s booty about posting about my anxiety. Besides, I’m noticing I’m more and more afraid of being around people, thinking they are silently judging me. Why not give something people to actually judge, right?
Be gentle with yourself and others. It’s okay to not be alright and it’s okay to ask for help. We don’t give ourselves enough credit on how strong we can be. It’s okay to own your mental health. It isn’t a monster, it is you and it is amazing.