The Phrase I Tell Myself on My Worst Mental Health Days

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There is a message I have shared with my friends as I have helped them through their mental health issues. Occasionally, I have even shared it with myself, though I rarely give myself such good advice and encouragement.

In all the times I have said it, I never knew exactly how to phrase it. How to tell myself “this too shall pass,” in different words. That phrase never seemed impactful enough for me. It was always like telling myself or my friends, one day things would get better. It is a very indefinite phrase, and people like myself with anxiety and depression can’t always see the truth in such phrases. The other day however, I came across a phrase that summed up everything I had been trying to say all these years. In one elegant sentence, it told my story and it told the story of those I love. It provided concrete hope that things would be OK.

“You have survived 100 percent of your worst days thus far.”

I turned the phrase over and over in my mind. It was true of course, but the more I said it to myself the more true it became for me. I thought back through every one of worst moments. I thought of the day someone very near and dear to me was diagnosed with depression. I thought back to the moments when I would cry alone in my room. I thought through every dark moment in my life. Those moments when you truly don’t believe you will make it to the next day. I thought about my own diagnosis with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or the first time I talked a friend off a figurative ledge. I thought about the night I first told my parents about my depression.

I remember standing outside the house with my mother, screaming, crying and refusing to go in and tell the rest of my family what I had just told her in the car. I remember barely being able to stand. I wanted to melt into the soft dirt beneath my feet. I wanted to dive into the cold lake that sat just on the other side of the house. I didn’t think I would make it through that night, but I did.

There can be countless moments in life when we don’t think we will see the next sunrise. Where something so heartbreaking happens we can’t possibly imagine going on. But for those of us fortunate enough to still be here, we have survived 100 percent of our worst days. We will go on surviving these awful days because the human spirit is strong. It is stronger, in fact, than the human mind sometimes. When our minds tell us we won’t get through it, something inside us keeps us fighting.

To anyone who is having their worst day right now, remember you are stronger than you ever thought you were. You have made it through 100 percent of your worst days.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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I'm Learning to Let My Anxiety Teach Me, Not Just Hinder Me

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I cannot say with complete conviction anxiety is something I am grateful for, but I can say I am grateful for what it has taught me.

Anxiety has humbled me greatly, for it causes me to fail consistently. I am grateful for this because it has instilled in me concrete perseverance and it is this fortitude which allows me to do what is hard and difficult despite the trials I know are ahead. In saying that, it is slowly allowing me to fail for the sake of trying and as a perfectionist, this is not something I was able to accept before coming to terms with my anxiety disorder. Trying is always important for me, even when I know the results won’t be what I desire.

It has taught me the value of communication and that it is in my best interest to tell those around me when I don’t feel well and to never feel guilty for doing so. There will be bad days despite all the progress I make, and it is crucial I am able to admit to others when those days arise so I can take the time and space I need to rejuvenate and heal from the heavy.

Continuing on from that, it has taught me one bad day or a few bad days in a row don’t make me a bad person, friend or human being. It means I’m healing because it is impossible to heal completely in an instant. Healing takes place over time and in segments. Nothing good (healing included) ever comes served on a silver platter all at once. It takes patience and dedication to heal wholesomely and I am only beginning this journey.

Anxiety has made me realize people leave sometimes but this is more than OK. It won’t feel OK or fair as it happens, but having anxiety means only those meant for me will support me through the highs and lows of the disorder. This is a blessing in disguise. A painful and testing blessing, but a blessing none the less.

The constant fear I face every day without fail or wavering has taught me to see the good in people because as someone who is flawed, it’s what I wish people to do for me. It doesn’t mean I will love others right or be the friend and companion others need all the time, but it always guarantees I will see the good in you before I ever see the bad. What a graceful lesson to learn.

This disorder has taught me some bad ass, seemingly super human strength! In order to live life to the best of my ability, — particularly after leaving high school — I’ve had to face challenges with my best foot forward. I can’t ask the world to wait until my anxious period is over. It has taught me my anxiety is debilitating and affects every aspect of my life, but it isn’t a prison sentence and with the strength I’ve acquired, I can live with the disorder and still live well.

Anxiety is not a disorder to be romanticized or invalidated because it is a very real condition for very real people. But in saying this,  it is possible to live with . The sooner I accept I may live with this disorder for my whole life, the sooner I will learn important lessons from my failures, fights, anxiety attacks and heartaches.

I’m learning to take it one breath at a time.

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When Anxiety Makes You Afraid of What You Love

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I love writing, yet I fear it. I love being outside, yet I fear it. I love being around people, yet I fear it.

I’m trapped in my fear of fearing something, and I fear I won’t be able to get out of this cycle. The more I think about it, the more I feel my skin crawling. I can’t tell this to anyone else — who would understand? If I do this they usually say, “Oh, I am so sorry, it will get better.” It doesn’t feel that way. It makes me want to scream. Fearing something may be something they can work through, but even if I rationally know this isn’t something big, it isn’t something I can get over. My anxiety controls me and I get even more depressed when I think about how others may see me.

Even now just writing this I feel trapped in my cycle, my chest tightens and I just want to hide. I read others’ stories and think how I am not good enough. I think back to my childhood of attempts to write and how I hide those stories because I feared being rejected because my stories were not good enough. That if I tried to my authentic self, others may think I am just an odd, “messed up” person.

This is what fear is to me. This is what my anxiety feels like to me. A tightening ball of rubber bands being wrapped around each other making it hard to breath.

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When You Can't Go to Sleep Without Anxiety Following You

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Have you ever had a moment when you’ve been woken up, not because of a noise or a weird light going on and off, but because of your thoughts?

Have you ever had a nagging feeling that lingered around until you drifted to sleep? If you haven’t, you’re a lucky soul.

Recently, I’ve been having anxiety dreams. What’s an anxiety dream, you ask?

It’s a dream that causes extreme panic, stress or anxiety. It’s not a nightmare, however; it’s a dream that, as soon as it happens, it causes your heart to race. In my situation, they occur super late at night or extremely early in the morning, depending on your perception of time. I’m talking between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. It’s the moment when your body rejects its needed sleep because your mind is telling it to succumb to its demons.

Picture this: Imagine you’re coming home from a hard day at work and all you want to do is relax. All of a sudden, the place you usually love to come home to causes dread in your mind, because you are attempting to predict how to the next night will go. It’s that moment when you wake up in the middle of night, panic-stricken, sweating, heart racing — when you feel like anxiety is only your destiny. You feel like this is the only expectation you can amount to. It has this powerful grip over your mind, body and soul, making it feel like you can’t and shouldn’t amount to anything for the day. It makes getting out of bed 20 times harder when you already don’t have the motivation to do so. These dreams are your mind’s way of experiencing turmoil in your most defenseless state. They cause your body to feel like it either has to fight or get ready for flight. Your mind is racing like the cars on a NASCAR track. It makes you feel nauseous, weak and unworthy.

Often, it’s your minds way of overcompensating for stress. In a sense, it’s saying, “If I have to miserable, so you do.” Having an anxiety dream is like waking up to find out the one you love has left you in the night, or even worse — that you are experiencing a waking nightmare. These dreams loom over your day and impose all these negative thoughts in ordinary daily processes. You’re on pins and needles anticipating whether the day will function as a “normal” one, or if it will end up with you having a breakdown by lunch. This is one of the times when you secretly wish others could see it, to put the myth to bed— “It’s all in your head, just stop thinking about it.” How can you stop thinking about something when it’s the only thing consuming your mind? Sure, you can occupy yourself and forge a facade that makes it seem like you have your shit together, but that only lasts for so long. It’s the moment where you have to differentiate whether you will allow anxiety to conquer your day, or if you will overcome anxiety.

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Why Religion Was Bad for My Anxiety

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When Christmas approaches, Christian paraphernalia can be spotted almost anywhere and anywhere. However, when the season arises, I always want Christmas to come and go quickly.

As someone who was raised Catholic, I understand why religion can be relieving for some people — it’s comforting knowing that there’s someone watching over you all the time, that there’s some entity protecting you.

But as I slowly detached myself from my upbringing, I came to realize that religion was not a comfort for me, but rather a major contribution to my anxiety.

In my experience, religion instilled fear…

From the moment I was old enough to comprehend it, the concept of Hell and burning forever if you didn’t follow Christ was forced on me. I knew how to be Catholic before I could write.

I was always afraid — afraid of doing something, anything, even something minuscule, that would piss God off and not allow me to get into Heaven after death. It controlled me and every little decision I made. I was like a puppet.

I was afraid to question anything I was taught, which is why it took me so long to detach myself from it. I was afraid to ask my parents questions that would then raise questions from them such as, “Why are you asking?”

Religion made me feel like I wasn’t good enough…

In order to get into Heaven, you have to follow God’s word — the Bible, the 10 commandments, etc. Yet I was taught you’re still a sinner. You are a sinner from the moment you are born, and this made me feel like I wasn’t truly pure enough. You’re never worthy enough for God. You’re never truly “good enough” for Heaven.

Religion slaughtered my self-esteem. It made me feel absolutely worthless, like the lowest of the low. I didn’t have a shred of self-love. I saw myself as this ugly, disgusting, low-life piece of human trash, unworthy of love and kindness and friendship. But I was taught that how I felt didn’t mean shit because (despite not truly ever being good enough for Heaven) God saw me as perfect.

I never really realized how much it truly slaughtered my self-esteem until I was having a conversation with my best friend, probably something along the lines of how I felt like this disgusting piece of human trash, and he said “That sounds like the religion talking” and I broke down sobbing.

When a family member came out as transgender, my very Catholic parents were completely beside themselves. They were coming from left and right saying things like, “God doesn’t make mistakes” and that he’s going against God by doing this. They have little contact with him now. I’m slowly watching my family, who has always placed such an emphasis on staying a family and staying together no matter what happens, be torn apart by religion, and there isn’t a thing I can do to stop it.

Since beginning the journey of leaving my previous self in the dust, I’ve gained a better understanding of my anxiety, began seeing a therapist and developed self-love.

As I said, I do understand that religion is certainly a comfort for some people. Good for you, do what is best for your mental health. But it was worse for mine.

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18 Worries of Someone With Anxiety When Their Friend Doesn't Text Back

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What does it mean when it takes someone a long time to text you back?

Maybe they’re at work. Maybe their phone battery died. Maybe they’re having a bad day, and haven’t been able to look at their phone.

The possibilities are plentiful. But for those who live with anxiety disorders, it’s the unknown — those possibilities — that are enough to start a spiral of worries. Even though not everyone with anxiety will react in the same way, it can be stressful when you’re not sure why a loved one hasn’t gotten back to you.

To find out what people with anxiety worry about, we asked people in our mental health community to share one thing that goes through their mind when a friend doesn’t text back.

If you can relate, you’re not alone: 

1. “Have I annoyed them? Have I said too much? Are they avoiding me for some reason? Is it just that my text doesn’t need an answer, even though I want a response? Are they too busy for me? Am I depending on them too much?” — Jocelyn H.

2. “It’s either I must’ve said something wrong or they’re too busy or I’m not important or good enough for them to have a conversation with. It’s these constant thoughts in my head that I’m always wrong. Everything I said or do is wrong. That’s why I’m too scared to say anything or even if I did, I’d probably figure they were just replying to make me feel better.” — Azis N.

3. “I’m a burden. I am a negative person in their life and they are better off when they aren’t associated or communicating with me in any way. Did I say something wrong? Is talking to me something you consider a chore that you hate doing but need to do regardless?” — Amanda W.

4. “I always think I’m annoying them. Or that I have unknowingly done something to upset or anger them. On a high anxiety day, I feel like this about anyone. Family, friends, even my husband. It is exhausting to feel unwanted, all because someone took a little too long to reply.” — Courtney W.

5.Something catastrophic must have happened to them, or our relationship has suddenly and inexplicably imploded and I worry about what I said to make it that way.” — Lindsey S.

6.  “My constant thought starts with: They are just talking to me or being my friend because it’s the polite thing to do. Not because they want to or because we are friends. When they don’t text back I assume I was being too much of a burden and they finally have had enough and have cut ties.” — Gwendalen R.

7.I think they either are tired of hearing a pity party if I’m discussing a problem I have or that I’m bothering them/eating their time and they realize this.” — Matt Y.

8.TBH, I usually go right to the extreme if I know that person isn’t at home. Kidnap, a trip and a fall breaking a bone, car crash. Those kind of things. It’s exhausting.” — Lucy J. 

9.They are dead. Hurt. In the hospital. In jail. In trouble. They’re ignoring me. Leaving. I said something and they’re gone. They opened it and are writing a long response to tell me off. They’re just tired of me and need a break. They’re talking to someone else. My head spins and hurts and it makes me sick just thinking what it might be over and over making it worse and worse.” — Amy M.

10.I have a negative thought, when I hear the phone ring, fear of more bad news. Haven’t heard good news in a very long time. Too long. A negative thought after anything and everything I do or think, hard to enjoy anything. I can’t even breathe without a negative thought ruining my life experience.” — Matthew C.

11.That they just look at their phone and think, ‘Ugh why is she texting me? I don’t like her. Doesn’t she get that I don’t want to talk to her?’ I always feel like I’m this burden and I’m bothering people. Even if it’s just a small conversion, or a question I’m asking there is always that voice in your head telling you that you’re wrong for texting them. Even if it’s your significant other, best friend, or family members.” — Jessica G.

12. “I feel as if I’ve done or said something wrong. I re-examine everything I’ve ever said to them just in case I’ve said something that has lead to them not responding.” — Eric R.

13.They don’t care about me. They’re out having fun with people that aren’t exhausting to be around. I said something wrong again. They’ve seen the text, but I’m too much to deal with right now. They don’t want to say no again, so they’ll text back later and say they’re busy.” — Kim E.

14.I usually think they don’t find talking to me interesting anymore. That they’re bored and that I’m not good enough or social enough to make them want to talk to me. I want to text them again to prove my theory is wrong, but I don’t, because I’m scared I’ll become annoying and clingy. I am not. I just fear they don’t like me anymore.” — Elitsa B.

15. “Have they just been being friendly? Was our ‘friendship’ just to not hurt my feelings? Do they hate me? What did I do to hate me? Did they take my tone wrong? Did they read it this way because I meant it this way? Maybe they put my messages on silent. They’re probably talking about me to their real friends. Am I bothering them too much? I hate texting first because I text back really quick and my mind runs a million miles an hour.” — Karrie N.

16. “When my boyfriend is out and he doesn’t answer I worry he might hate me, thinks I’m annoying or wants to break up even though nothing rational indicates he would. I don’t worry about my closest friends or family, I think it’s because I’ve known them for over 10 years/all my life.” — Elenor H.

17.The number one question: have they finally gotten sick of me?” — Sarah C.

18. “I once was texting someone and they stopped texting me back for four hours. About an hour after they stopped a helicopter flew above my house and I immediately thought they were in a car accident. I knew it was insane but my mind still made me think it.” — Shelby S.

Although all these worries and fears feel real in the moment, we wanted to leave you with this:

“Has anyone ever gotten busy or forgotten to text back? I sure have. I struggle with severe anxiety, but I talk myself through things instead of letting the bad thoughts take over. If someone doesn’t text you back, 99.99 percent of the time that has nothing to do with you. Maybe they’re at work and couldn’t respond and then it escapes their mind. Maybe they are dealing with something themselves; i.e. anxiety. Don’t put yourself down because of other people’s reactions. Give them the benefit of the doubt as well. Also, if it is a recurring thing, then stop texting them! Stay positive people! You’re not a burden, you’re not ugly, you’re not always wrong and they’re not dead.” — Erica S.

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