Why I Decided to Start Talking About My Anxiety Disorder
Anyone who knows me knows I am not shy when it comes to talking about my anxiety and panic disorder. But it hasn’t always been that way.
I spent most of my life hiding my mental illness. Then one day I realized – what’s the point? I’ve always wanted to help eliminate the stigma of mental illness, yet I was too ashamed to tell my own story. How could I help others accept their mental illness when I couldn’t even accept my own?
The reason I hid my disorder for so long is because I felt guilty about it. I had a good and comfortable life with parents who loved me and a group of close friends. I knew kids who didn’t have all these privileges and faced more challenges in their lives than I did, so why was I feeling this way?
But that’s the thing I’ve learned about mental illness. It’s not logical. For me, mental illness means feeling all the physical symptoms of sadness or anxiety without having any reason for it. And sometimes, this can be even scarier than having a socially acceptable reason to feel that way.
I’ve shared my stories of anxiety to show others that mental illness can happen to anyone – no matter what your life is like. It’s a disease you can’t control and, for me, beating myself up for feeling that way only fed into my anxiety. So I stopped beating myself up and decided to accept it as a part of my life instead.
I wish I had been told this when I was younger and first coming to terms with my disorder, so now I’m telling you: if you’re battling any kind of mental illness, it’s not your fault. And, like any other disease, there is treatment available to help you manage it. There’s also a huge community of people going through the same thing who you can talk to – like me. You are not alone.
Follow this journey on Meant to Live.