Monday, February 3, 2014

The Blog for Mental Health 2014 Pledge

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

art by Piper Macenzie

As difficult as it is for me to "come out" with regards to what I'm dealing with, I hope that this blog helps provide folks dealing with anxiety disorders some relief in knowing that others out in the world suffer from the same affliction and symptoms. I use the term relief loosely, as I know firsthand how pervasive and all-encompassing it can be to live with an anxiety disorder. Some of what I've been dealing with since my breakdown has been downright debilitating (panic attacks, hard to breathe, agoraphobic symptoms). It's hard to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel when this illness prevents the sufferer from working, socializing and going about a normal daily life. I will say that since I started using my current antidepressant, I have slowly found myself able to return to some normal activities. But it's still an uphill battle - I know in my heart of hearts that it will all be OK at some point and it does get better. I know it's entirely possible that in three months, I'll be in much better shape. Still, it's a constant battle with the anxiety/negativity in my head. And that definitely wears on even the strongest person.

Even so, I will continue my trend of reflecting on the positives that have come from my battle with anxiety and panic. I have suffered from some form of this illness for years (my memories of having OCD tendencies date as far back as third grade). It's typically just a mild part of my life that I thought I was able to manage well, but I have experienced moderate episodes in my past that typically happened around stressful periods or times of massive change (graduation from high school, graduation from college, start of grad school coinciding with the end of my longest-term relationship to date, etc.) This is the worst episode I've experienced yet, and why I believe it happened will be detailed in a later post, most likely after continued therapy.

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