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Away With Thee, Mental Illness

Journal Entry: Mon Sep 16, 2013, 12:07 PM


Oh, hai. So I'm gonna talk about something totally personal to me, yet something that's shared by millions of people every day. And I NEVER talk about this stuff. For the first time in seven years I've only just managed to talk about it to someone and it felt good, and after that I was able to tell someone else, which also felt good, so now I'm gonna tell all y'all.

(Please note that this isn't a cry for attention or sympathy. I'm just sharing my story with the kindling hope that it might help or comfort people who suffer in a similar way).

When I was seventeen I inexplicably developed a case of social anxiety. I don't know much about the hows or whys but I can tell you this: it totally messed me up. Back then I was in college (all you Americans call it High School) and although I had some awesome friends, some days I couldn't bring myself to leave the house much less go on crazy social adventures out of hours.

Schooling was an issue. I missed so mainly classes. Sometimes I'd be off for weeks. I got into so much trouble. People thought I was a slacker but I was happy to fuel this image because it was easier than admitting I actually had a mental problem. I ended up dropping a load of subjects that I loved simply because I couldn't bear to be in a classroom situation. I kept art because art was conducted in a studio. In an art class there's little conformity compared to an academic classroom, plus I could leave the room at my discretion when the situation became too suffocating.

At its worse, I finally decided I needed help. I went to the doctors. I was laughed off. I remember sitting in the surgery crying because I was so sad and terrified of that awful, dark anxiety that had such a grip on my life, yet the doctor told me it was a phase. My case was dismissed because I was young, I suppose. A raging ball of teenage hormones. I was made to feel like a complete idiot and decided not to talk to anyone about it again.

Two years later I decided I needed to rely on myself to change. What helped me? Buddhism and meditation. Herbal remedies and peppermint tea. I shit you not. I sound like a massive hippy but, hey, it helped me go to university (college for y'all 'muricans).

Don't get me wrong, it didn't totally disappear. I still got 'attacks' every now and again, but I learnt to wrestle it down, for the most part (I DID miss my first day of university though, heh).

So when, a month ago, I started getting the old Buddhism book out again, I should've noticed the signs. Too much going on at once: the anniversary of the death of my little sister, family confrontations, relationship issues and being bullied at work.

And then last night I woke up at 3am and had a panic attack. Yaaaaay /sarcasm.

BUT. This time, I actually TALKED to people using WORDS (and a few tears). My long term boyfriend (who had no idea what the heck was going on when I suddenly and inexplicably had to leave a dinner at a restaurant with a group of friends a few months back, bless his patience), who was actually really gentle and understanding and didn't tell me it was a phase. I feel so much better because now he'll actually understand when I become a stammering mess while attempting to merge with society, and then loosely blaming it on 'a headache'. I also talked to my co-worker, who offered very sound advice and has promised to support me 100%.

:boing: I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER. :boing:

I don't think my anxiety will ever go away completely. I live primarily in sunshine, yet with the knowledge that rain will return at some point. BUT. I know that there are a lot of us out there. Depression. Anxiety. All dat shiz. And if you wanna talk or vent or cry you can in the comments. I'll listen. Maybe I can help. Maybe someone who reads your comment can help. Maybe it will help just to get it down in writing. If it helps you, you can keep coming back to this blog and venting over and over. I don't mind. That's why I've written it.

IT'S GOOD TO TALK. I wish I'd known that seven years ago but opening up is hard for me, especially in today's society where everyone is so judgemental and dismissive of mental illnesses such as depression. Don't you love the old 'Why can't you just get over it' response?

Here's a list of things that help me. Maybe they'll help you, maybe not. But it might open up some avenues that lead to partial if not complete recovery.

:bulletpurple: Herbal tea specifically peppermint. When I get anxiety (specifically before entering a situation that will give me an anxiety attack) I find it therapeutic to sip on peppermint tea. It calms an unsettled belly and focuses my mind.

:bulletred: Herbal remedies The one down from prescribed medication. Let's be honest: no one wants to be on medication anyway. Herbal remedy 'Kalms' helped me loads, though sometimes I felt that their effect was perhaps purely psychological.

:bulletblue: Meditation Clearing my mind allowed me to focus on my problems one by one, analyse them in a detached way rather than during a heightened state of panic.

:bulletyellow: Breathing exercises Particularly helpful when IN said situation. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Again, a calming effect.

:bulletgreen: Lingering on the outside of situations In particular, I always choose desks/chairs at the back of classrooms/workplaces. Near the door would be the best. It defeats some of the suffocation of being surrounded by a lot of people in a situation I can't necessarily escape from.  If I'm near a door I feel comforted.

:bulletpink: Lastly, talking. It helped. It helps.

So if you wanna talk, you can here. Share experiences, advice, lend an ear. What helps you through bad situations? How do you fight your way out of a rubbish situation?

If you don't wanna talk, then I hope you defeat your demons in a way that suits you best :)



  • Mood: Pride
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:iconunarii:
unarii Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I don't mind talking about problems, I need to find someone I'm comfy with ^^
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:iconsomercet:
somercet Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013
*hugs*
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:icongrendalunleashed:
GrendalUnleashed Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013  Professional General Artist
Here are a few nuggets from my own experience with anxiety:

- most herbal teas lack the main element of regular tea and coffee which exacerbates the anxious state, i.e. caffeine, the choice of flavour comes down to personal preference...my own would be lemon and ginger.

- herbal medicine - Hops, being an hypnotic, constitutes the main element of Kalms and has long been recognized as having a mild neurological and physical sedative effect. There are lots of others and much has been written about them, I keep a supply of Jamaican Dogwood having found it to be productive at reducing the physical tension associated with anxious states.

- diet - I cook for myself, and have done since I was fifteen, my anxiety levels have always increased when I shortcut with prepackaged meals or fast food, so I try to avoid them. Anything the body can not process will put strain on the system, physical stress contributes to neurological stress thus being aware of what foods do not digest well can remove this factor from the anxiety triggers.

- meditation - this often gets lumped into the 'hippy dippy' category of anxiety therapy and I have never been one myself for the classic image of meditation, but then meditation comes in many forms. I find a meditative focus in constructive activity which can be anything from doing the washing up to artwork, for the relaxation state sitting at the park or at the beach with my dog watching the world go by serves this purpose (other pets are available if dogs are not your preference).

- putting yourself IN situations which cause you anxiety - no matter how hard a person tries to avoid these situations they will, more often than not, sneak up when the person least expects. Thus, rather than allow them to be an unpleasant surprise decide on a time and place when you will do the thing that brings up anxiety in you. Controlling when this occurs helps to prepare a person construct coping strategies for when the unexpected situations happen.

- Talking - Start with someone you trust, the more you talk about it the easier it gets, bottling anything up inside leaves it metaphorically bouncing persistently around the inside of the skull impacting on everything else in there.

And a final word...Anxiety can have a positive side, for me the heightened adrenal state comes in very handy when I am presented with an insane deadline for a project, it then becomes a motivator of productivity rather than the general populous' perception of an inhibitor of action.

 
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:iconlonelyzoner:
LonelyZoner Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Your journal was absolutely amazing. I find it very supportive, even more so since I use a lot of your helping methods (I love peppermint/licorice tea, and meditation.) I would like to ask though, How did you get out of your shell? I'm really shy, and it's really hard for me to talk to people, even if I don't get panic attacks. However, I really want to make some friends now that I'm going to a university, I just don't know how.

 

Thank you for such an uplifting post, and congratulations on your achievements!

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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If you met me you wouldn't think I had anxiety! I'm actually really loud and outgoing, but that partly stems from a fear of not being listened to/not being noticed. That probably doesn't make much sense, heh XD Anyway, at school I was uber shy and quiet, and then I had to move to a whole new county (basically like another state in the USA) and I didn't know ANYBODY. It was completely up to me to put myself out there and make friends. I basically tried to be fearless in front of people. Even if it was feigned confidence, I'd still act it. Now it comes naturally to me. At uni I had to do presentations in front of 30+ people. At work I have to speak confidently and coherently to clients. To get to that level of confidence I volunteered for things in class (you know if a teacher asks someone to read aloud?). The best thing to do if talking to a group of people (like in those big presentations) is pretend that you're speaking to one or two of your close friends. Just talk normally, don't overthink things, make it conversational rather than rehearsed. It's important to be able to laugh and poke fun at yourself. So what if I stutter sometimes when I get nervous? I just point it out and laugh it off, like, 'Oh geez I'm really stuttering today, sorry about that!'. It will put the people listening to you at ease too. People will respect you more for actually speaking up and voicing your opinion than if you sit quietly in a corner. It's basically about confidence building. I'm afraid I can't explain it better! 
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:iconlonelyzoner:
LonelyZoner Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That was awesome advice! I will definitely try it out and hopefully make some friends. ;) Thank you so much!
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:iconj1star:
J1Star Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Don't let it beat you, just stay strong and confident and don't care how people receive the things that make you feel better. The most important thing is that you're well. I hope you overcome your anxiety. :)
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much :hug:
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:iconcrida:
Crida Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
First of all congrats on your courage and your successes. ;)

I just wanted to vent out that I dislike very much society's urge to put labels on everything. Like giving it a name makes it any better. I read a book once, which opened my eyes. Veronika Decides To Die, by Paulo Coelho. He writes ( or the character thinks) that people these days are bored and start getting mental illnesses, cause there's nothing else to worry about, no war, no hunger (in Europe). That's kinda how he wrote it. Now please don't get me wrong, I don't mean to put away the seriousness of anything. I just dislike it when society tries to put people into boxes with disease labels on it. For example, somebody I know (somebody very close) has got movement and voice ticks and concentration issues. I don't know how, but the doctor decided to put on her the label of Tourette, which is bullshit in my opinion. But now that it's got a name it's like the big scary monster and some family members look at her like she was really sick. Ok, she got conditions and ticks and difficulties in school. But everyone got his or her flaws and differences. But some people just feel the need to put a label on it. It's like a huge society sickness. People-labelling. xD (See, now I did just the same thing. :P)

Something you did or rather did not makes me want to look up to you. You decided to deal with it on your own, instead of pushing it aside with some medication, taking away all responsibility from yourself, like : I'm sick, I can't change it, duh. My respect to you for taking the problem as it is and working on it by yourself. Society got lazy. People let some doctors who read a few psychology books label them and take the pills which fit the situation. It's so unnecessary in some cases. If people just would get away from this "I'm sick, it's hopeless, it's a mental illness." Like mental illness is some huge horrible monster.
Of course not everybody is like this. I'm only ranting about the people who are this way. And I know that some mental illnesses are real illnesses, with chemistry going wrong in the brain. Like depression. (Real depression, and not "I don't know what to do I got two problems at once, it's too much, now I've got depression")

What do I actually want to say? I'm not sure. xD I just think I wish more people were like you and could at least try to help themselves. And again, my respect for handling this so well yourself, because there are people who can't. Because of that, thank you for sharing this, there are probably people you helped with that. :)
I know from myself that sometimes it's more helpful to talk to a good friend instead of go to therapy and talk to some woman who gives a shit about you but is paid to listen to your ramblings.

I hope nobody gets me wrong here, I just wanted to let out my opinion about some things from my own experience and I thought that this place could be right.
Thank you for reading all this and good luck and strength to everyone who's got a problem of his or her own. :)
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your opinion is always valid :) And I totally understand what you're saying. Depression in particular is very well known nowadays and people are very quick to 'label' themselves as depressed, when in reality they might just be having a bad few months. They then grope about it to everyone, go to the doctor to get pills, then show everyone the pills. Now, I'm not belittling their problem, clearly they have their own issues, HOWEVER, when someone comes along with real, sickening, dark depression, friends and family don't take them seriously. I never spoke about it to my friends because I didn't think they'd understand. I was afraid of being judged and that is where the labeling thing comes in. Society would label me as 'DEPRESSED' and all the negative connotations would come with it. Talking to people is important, but I think you have to battle yourself first, really come to grips with what's wrong with you, before throwing labels around and branding yourself as mentally ill. 
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:iconcrida:
Crida Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Exactly! This is what I meant. :)
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:iconasagi-k-kurosaki:
Asagi-K-Kurosaki Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Professional Writer
I'm amazed at the timing you posted this really, I just started overcoming panic anxiety, I thought for a long time that I could deal with it because anxiety isn't treated as an illness, it isn't treated as a real problum, people just say it's a phase or whatever and are done with it, so I just thought it was a fixture of my personality, I started realizing a couple of months ago when my dearest dog passed away that it was becoming unearable but had too much going on to even consider getting help, I had been to a therapist before for anxiety (I was having panic attacks) but ended up helping her more than she helped me, I refuse to go to a doctor and see about my hormones because the last time I did I was so badly judged and criticized for being FOURTEEN and not wanting to go on BIRTH CONTROL to control my hormones- when they didn't even KNOW if that was a problum or not- that I never want to go through that again, I didn't know what to do with myself, but a couple of weeks ago it started getting to a point where I was having anxiety attacks atleast twice or three times a week and even the tiniest thing, like a movie running late, completely turned me upside down, after a paticuarly harsh night my mom talked me into going to our nutrition store and asking about an herbal remedy (herbs and minerals have helped with all of my other issues, I drink herbal tea for insomnia, I take herbal supplements for daily help and to resolve pain and I drink Naked Juice, a kind of vitamen juice, that has stopped nearly all of my physical problums in only months) and we found this fantastic amino acid and magensium based supplement called Theanine, I felt immediately cleared up and since I started taking it my anxiety has nearly dissapeared, ofcourse it helped that last week I went to a hypno-therapist, she taught me breathing exercises and gave my hypnotic suggestions to avoid anxiety, I plan on seeing her semi-frequently depending on when I feel like I need to, and I firmly believe that without my spirituality- including meditating, reading spiritual things, and working with my oracle cards- I wouldn't have made it this far, no one ever talks about anxiety like it's a real thing but interesting enough in the last week not only have you been brave enough to talk about it, but a new freind of mine actually posted a fanfiction prompt involving anxiety, I feel like people are finally starting to talk about it, thankfully... :)
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for sharing your story. it's funny because when i was in my teens I was always skeptical about herbal remedies, meditation etc. But it's amazing that they do work for some people! I feel that people should look into these things before going to the doctor to get the 'harder' drugs. Doctors do a great job, but they're really there to cure physical illnesses, and they're so busy that they don't have the time to understand or delve int the root of problem with every patient's mental illness. I'm really glad you've found a focus that guides you away from your anxiety and i wish you all the luck for the future :hug:
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:iconasagi-k-kurosaki:
Asagi-K-Kurosaki Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Professional Writer
Thank you so much, I wish you the same :) Yeah, it's like my pediatrition once told my mom, doctors don't know much about psychology or even pain releif, that isn't what they're trained in and most of the time trying to handle those problums doesn't work out, I'm just glad we both have found our own ways :) :hug:
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:iconislandwriter:
IslandWriter Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Student Writer
I'm sorry to hear that you were originally dismissed like that, but great to hear that things are improving! I recently started treatment for anxiety - I'm really lucky to have ridiculously supportive parents, a nice doctor who took my concerns very seriously, and now a friendly psychologist to help me through :) Talking definitely helps, for me anyway. Here's to the path to recovery! :meow:
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. I'm glad things are looking brighter for you and I wish you luck on your therapy!
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:icongibsos:
gibsos Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:) I'm so happy for you, that you've found ways to cope with it!

Back in fifth grade (I was 9 or 10) my parents got back together after a two year separation. Should have been good, right? Except then they had to move since they were both living in relatively small places. My dad's apartment building was FULL of kids with divorced parents, there were like 20-30 kids I was friends with plus some other kids on my mom's street. I lost contact with all of them, leaving me with the 4 or 5 friends I had from school. I immediately went from this super social kid who made friends with literally everyone I talked to, to a person who cut herself off from people. I became super lonely, then sad, then depressed, then angry at myself for being depressed about my parents getting back together, and then just angry in general. By the time I was in 7th grade I was suicidal and trying to think of a way to kill myself literally every single day.

Eventually I met my current best friend who refused to be put off no matter how hard I tried to push her away (I know, it's not good to rely on another person to combat depression for you but it worked). Until that point the only thing getting me through were my books and the fact that none of the obvious suicide methods were available to me. The only person I've ever talked to about it is one of my sisters, my best friend vaguely knows and so do a couple of people from my tumblr since I've talked about parts of it but generally I don't like to talk to people about it because it sounds ridiculous to say 'I was suicidal at 11 years old'.

I'm doing fine right now, but reading your post made me want to share and say I'm glad you're making it through and I'm hoping for the best for you.
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad you shared your story. I don't think it's bad to rely on a person to better yourself, but I'm always wary in case that person leaves (a horribly fatalistic thought, I know) so that's why I vowed to strengthen myself so if anything did happen, I could be my own support, too. But people need people. We're not naturally loners - we're pack animals. So having someone there for you is so important. I'm happy that you're doing better now :)
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:icongibsos:
gibsos Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ha, yeah that's exactly what I meant. Like if I was able to just find or attain the strength to get out of my depression by myself I would have done it. Some people can and that's awesome, but for whatever reason I wasn't one of them. :P
If someone needs help it's not necessarily a bad thing (actually I started studying psychnursing this year so I could be the one to help people), but you have to remember that they might let you down, intentionally or not. They don't always make very stable support is all I'm saying, even if we are really social creatures. :)
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:icontohru-tan:
Tohru-tan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013
Congratulations and big hugs to you! Thanks for opening up - it takes courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable!

What a lovely thing I've read today :hug:
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you :hug:
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:iconzodiaccircle:
zodiaccircle Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I had a similar experience starting when I was about 15; I slowly began feeling apathetic about everything, I felt like I didn't belong with my friends and withdrew from them, and just generally stopped caring about everything. I was never much of an academic but my grades seriously suffered during my sophomore year of high school, and as time went on and I turned 16 it got even worse. I became so detached that I literally didn't care about anything anymore or even notice things that were happening around me. I also started suffering from suicidal thoughts, which at the time I mistook for an actual wish to die. My parents took me to a doctor who diagnosed me with depression and bipolar disorder, I was then put on medication and taken to see a therapist once a week. But as much as I liked my therapist, it really didn't help me at all. The medication masked my symptoms and made me feel "OK", but feeling OK all the time isn't really a solution either.

My boyfriend is the one who pulled me out of my spiral, he was the only one who really noticed what was going on with me and he helped talk me through it. Bless him for his patience, because I had a few really scary relapses over the next two years, but by my senior year of high school I had pulled my grades up to a very respectable B average and actually graduated high school.

I've ridden horses since I was 9 years old and I discovered after getting a job at a local stable that being around the horses really helped me; they calm me when I'm angry, sooth me when I'm sad, and they always make me laugh. I even bought my own horse who has really been a positive influence in my life, though I am now always broke, lol. I've also found that playing video games is a good vent when I'm in a dark place; it allows me to release my anger without hurting anyone, plus it always feels good to save the world. :)

I haven't taken medication or been to therapy in 6 years; most days I feel good and even when I have a "down" day I'm able to put on a happy face and do what I need to do that day. My father is also manic-depressive and having lived my whole life watching him be miserable, as well as having a suicide happen in my family, I've vowed that I will not give in and let my illness ruin my life. I slip sometimes, but I've seen that life can be wonderful and is worth the struggle.
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think your story is really inspiring and I hope people take something from it. It's amazing how helpful animals can be, for number of reasons. They give you something to love and they love and depend on you, which gives you a sense of purpose. It's also physically demanding taking care of horse and any form of exercise is really good for you psychologically. It's also amazing that one person can alter your life. Having my boyf there for me everyday is so helpful. 

I remember a few years back when I was going through a really bad patch, I bought a bunny, and he made me so freakin' happy all I could do was cry for ages. I just needed that one little pick me up. I'm not saying everyone should go out and buy animals, but i believe they're very therapeutic. 
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:iconcrida:
Crida Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I used to cut myself when I was 13-14. My mom sent me to therapy which didn't really help, I wasn't talking much and then I was just drawing. In my case it was also my boyfriend who pulled me out. I opened myself to him, he is 5 years older than I, so he could clearly see what went wrong in my family and helped me improve the situation. After I "officially" got together with him I never cut myself again.
I just felt like sharing this with you because your boyfriend helped you too. :)
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:iconchocolateluvr13:
chocolateluvr13 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013
You are not alone. I have something called Vasovagal Syncope, which basically means with certain triggers I will pass out. I've been doing this since I was 3, and I don't think it's going to be something I get over. It's quite annoying, especially with Dr. appointments. Some of my triggers are blood, needles, people in pain/sick, and suicide. It's bad enough that I physically can't talk or listen to conversations about these things without possibly passing out.

Talking about it helps. It doesn't stop the fact that I go, but it's helpful because once you tell one person it becomes easier to talk to others. It's good to warn people around you that this could happen, so that if there ever comes a time that you feel the pressure they know how to react. I think what I have is somewhat similar to what you have, because I have that anxiety build up too. The only difference is that when it gets to high I keel over.

There are a few things that help me when I feel like I'm about to go, and you can try them if you want:

• Humor. If people around me start to panic, I freak out more. But if someone starts to poke fun at me or make me laugh it really helps to calm me down. Honestly, this is the best thing for me. I keeled over once in middle school and busted open my chin. The Dr.'s said that I might need stitches, and I was freaking out (like crying and blubbering like a baby). Then in comes my mother who says, "You know, you kinda look like the Crimson Chin!" She then proceeded to make 'Crimson Chin' jokes for the whole time I was in the hospital. Oddly enough, it helped me calm down.

• Distractions. I know this is easier said then done, but finding a good distraction can help you a lot. For me, its mostly focusing on something to stay present, but I bet it could help calm down your brain if your on the brink of a meltdown. For me, spelling works, math questions, and song lyrics. When I'm about to get a shot I will recite (physically or mentally) songs like 'Bust A Move,' 'Fresh Prince,' or 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' Give it a try something and see if it helps!

Thank you for sharing, and I hope all these posts help you feel more confident and not alone :D
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad you have your own methods to cope with your situation - which sounds very stressful. I've never passed out before so I can't imagine how horrible it is. But it sounds like you are dealing with it brilliantly and it's great that you're so open about it with people. I hope you continue to fight against your condition :)
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:iconariesmouse410:
AriesMouse410 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013
I've had a lot of issues with depression, and lately I've wondered if it hasn't turned into (or already was) partnered with or some form of anxiety. I loath most social interaction and a void more or less all of it unless it involves my close family or the friends I've had for years. Even then it's some times hard to will myself out of my room/house, out of the areas I feel safe. It wasn't until recently that I really noticed the anxiety part of it. It's pretty random, but a fair amount of the time if I have to interact with a stranger, even if it's just to buy something, like talking to a cashier, I'll get a painful knot in my stomach, like at any time I could throw up (or worse). I use to get it all the time when I was a teen around the time I dropped out of school, because I hated going there. I was harassed and bullied, which might be a big cause of my general disinterest in other people, but for a long time things were fine once I'd left and had a couple years to myself.
I'm going to try some of those remedies you posted and hope it helps. I'm fine with being a hermit and not making new friends (I do adore the ones I have), but I'd like to be able to talk to people when I have to. I can't count the times I didn't buy things I wanted, or ask about items in stock at a shop just because I felt sick just thinking about approaching someone in the store.
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The biggest problem with anxiety is that it festers and worsens with time. Much like any other mental illness I suppose. Due to my nature, I'm happy staying at home on weekends, drawing and chilling, but I know that if I keep that up then by the time I have to make another social appearance I'll probably have an anxiety attack. From my personal experience, I would recommend challenging yourself - a little interaction everyday. Maybe walk to the shops and buy something. Even just walking down the street. Stay calm and focused, don't let the panic grab hold you. Controlling your breathing and peppermint tea might help with that know in your stomach - I know that knot all too well, hehe! That personally helped me anyway.

 Perhaps make that little bit more effort and challenge yourself to ask the cashier how their shift is going, or ask someone where something is in the shop (even if you know where it is!). You have to build up your own confidence; unfortunately no one can that for you. It's a difficult thing to do but you'll feel so much better once you've done it! I hope I helped even a little bit, and if not I hope just voicing your thoughts on this journal helped :)
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:iconariesmouse410:
AriesMouse410 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2013
I've been trying to get better. Traveling has helped some, taken a couple trips to Texas to visit my bf, and the air ports always seem to be crowded. For me, being around him, or my family helps. Sort of a silent support system, even if they don't know it. My dog as well, helps. If I'm taking him for a walk I always feel fine, even when talking to people. I've heard of some people training their dogs to be service dogs for things like that, and I've been thinking about looking into it (though he's pretty big, so not sure if I could really keep him with me all the time :< ) I need to try the tea, though sadly I really dislike the taste of peppermint! D: There is a tea shop around here though, might look into any herbal teas they have that might help.

I can't thank you enough for your advice and time. It's comforting to know that people understand and all.

Sorry for taking so long to respond, also. I read your reply a few times but it took be a while to sort out my brain enough to respond. Had my wisdom teeth removed Friday and I'm still pretty out of it form the pain killers. X_x;
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:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Last night, I was basically planning to off myself again but gave up rather quickly. Today, I just feel empty & disappointed. I've been to 5 therapists & will be attempting to see if my 6th attempt is lucky.
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's a very hard to fight your way out of the darkness, isn't it? Like being pulled along by a sea current. When I hit that horrible, horrible place where I feel like I'm never going to see light again, I strive to focus on little things. I try to make simple goals. I know this sounds stupid, but my favourite author is releasing his third book soon. I want to read that book SO bad, and even though it's a selfish, petty reason to keep going, it helps me just that little bit. I've always wanted my own cat; I think of that. I've always wanted to go to Japan; I think of that. 

I'm considering trying out a weird method I read on the internet. You write on scraps of paper all the things that make you happy, whether it's something as simple as a memory of a nice sunset you say yesterday or an aspiration. Then you put them in a jar and whenever you feel real crappy about life, you go into the jar and read the scraps of paper. I'm tempted to give it go because it's easy to forget reasons why you should push on through life. 

I probably haven't helped at all, but I wish you luck with your new therapist. If you need to speak again of course this journal is always here.
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:iconsavagefrog:
SavageFrog Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:huggle:
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:iconwes-of-stararmy:
Wes-of-StarArmy Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
~hannah: I was reading through all the comments (and many of them are really inspiring) and I wanted to say thank you for posting this reply. I think it's great and I applaud you for being helpful and taking time to care.

~savage: Best wishes. Even random other DA members like me care about you. Remember therapists can help you part time but only you can help yourself full-time. Do that. Find that purpose. Be more awesome in ever-increasing ways.
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:iconlady-woods:
Lady-woods Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I completely understand your story. I've had issues with depression an anxiety ever since pre-puberty. It got so bad when I entered secondary school (=middle + highschool) that I had to be interned in a psychiatric unit for mentally ill children and young adolescents. I went to a special school for a year after that. They called it "school" phobia, but it basically is a kind of social anxiety disorder. All through secondary school I have had to deal with anxiety attacks, big bouts of depression, cutting (I finally stopped about three years ago)... I also had a very unhealthy relationship with an older man which complicated and messed things up even further. Upon starting university, I had a major crack down and went back to see a psychiatrist (I hadn't seen one really during my school years because I didn't want to - complicated stuff linked with my relationship). I have now been seeing her for three years and have finally gotten to a good formula for medication. I am still a solitary person, I don't like going outside in the city. I hate group activities, I don't like to use the phone even. I am very shy and uncomfortable in group situations, but it is manageable, and I can function pretty well. I am still afraid of change. I am always aware of a certain darkness inside of me, but I accept it as a part of me no matter what. There has been mental illness in my family. I am now in a very nurturing relationship, with a man who, like me, needs his space regularly and doesn't enjoy crowds of people. 
So, you are not alone. Thank you for sharing your story. :hug:
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for sharing your story, also. It sounds like you've had a lot of ups and down in life. It seems that there's no real cure for anxiety and depression, is there? Medication and the support from other people - be it friends, a loved one or a psychiatrist - certainly helps but I feel that so many people fall at the hurdle because it is only you who can really learn to cope with it. I used to think I would wake up one day and be better, like getting over a cold or stomach bug, but I've accepted that's not the case and have to live with, as you say, a darkness in me. It's so hard to cope with simply because you have to rely on yourself. The fact that we've gotten this far shows we have a certain strength of character! I hope your life only improves from here :)
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:iconbalunstormhands:
BalunStormhands Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013
It's okay. You aren't the only one and we are here for you. It's okay to be vulnerable to some people, it helps a lot. :hug:
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you :hug:
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:iconfirewings26:
FireWings26 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Student General Artist
"And if you wanna talk or vent or cry you can in the comments. I'll listen. Maybe I can help. " This goes for you too! :huggle: I may not know much about you, but I am always willing to listen to anyone in need. I have emotional issues due to a traumatic (*to me* I understand there are worse things) childhood. I can understand the same emotions, fears, and confusion other people with mental illness face because I've been in similar style situations. Therefore I am always willing to lean an ear, a hug, and a suffocating squeeze to anyone who needs it because I know what it is like to be without them. :tighthug:

I am glad you are doing better, and I hope you can always stay in the sunshine!
 Love The Sunshine Good for you for being brave enough to share your story. Also, it's amazing your boyfriend was kind and gentle when you needed him most. You are blessed!
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I do if lucky to have a few people around me willing to support me, even though dealing with someone with issues is a tiring and confusing process in itself. I'm always willing to listen to people too! The internet has many dark places but it helps people connect and support one another in ways that they may be lacking in real life :) Thanks, friend! :hug:
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:iconfirewings26:
FireWings26 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Student General Artist
Yay. I'm glad you have support! 
You are right! It's like a two-edged sword: we can tear each other down or support each other. I prefer the latter. :)
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:icondoll-fin-chick:
doll-fin-chick Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're not the only one. I had crippling anxiety and panic attacks starting in elementary school, and worsening once I got to middle school. I thankfully, was listened to. My mother having her own illness and having dealt with people not believing her when she was younger helped me a lot, and fostered a way of not silencing myself. It was not easy, it never is. It took me years and years before I managed to get my depression under control, and it as well as my anxiety still flares up now and again.

I used to hide in the bathrooms at school, unable to bear another moment staying in the class room. I had long hair that I would draw forward to hide my face, so nobody would see me crying. I used to feel so horrible that I could barely breathe, and the pain manifested physically and caused me to be ill. Then I got therapy, and also saw a psychiatrist, and I have to take medications to help control these things. Which was another fight within myself. It is VERY hard to accept that your well-being relies on you taking a pill, but I have come to realize that it is necessary if I don't want to be a agoraphobic hermit. 

As it is, I haven't had a major episode of anxiety or depression for years. But I'm still aware that it could change at any moment. And dealing with trying to explain to my family and friends has become easier as time goes by. The stigma is still out there, but I've found that the people who matter most will learn to unlearn what society preaches if they truly care.

Thank you for sharing your story. It's incredibly hard to do so, but it helps in the fight against stigma. :hug: So thank you, really, don't underestimate the power of written and spoken word!

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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How awful for you. There were so many times in class that I wanted to leave and not come back - and unfortunately a few times when I did succumb to that want! I felt such envy towards the people who could sit through class without batting an eye - I still do! 

I'm glad you've managed to maintain a healthy balance in regards to taking medication. It can be a difficult hole to get out of if you don't have self control - and people there to support you. I'm glad you did :) And I hope that you continue to improve and overpower your problems.
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:icondoll-fin-chick:
doll-fin-chick Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Same to you dear. Your path to maintaining a healthy balance is different than mine, but I hop you hold on to it! :)
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:iconbeeyonkuh:
Beeyonkuh Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013
Talking about problems we may have is always one of the best ways to relieve it. Of course, it might not cure it, but it makes life easier to deal with. I'm glad you were able to talk about it to us 'muricans and whatnot.


I also love that you say y'all considering only the south says y'all lol
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:iconhannah-alexander:
Hannah-Alexander Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have no idea where and why I started saying y'all. I don't even think I say irl haha. And british people don't say y'all anyway. I dunno. I blame media heh. It's nice to connect to people all around the world, I feel. It doesn't matter what nationality you are, you still get the same problems, so we should all be able to help each other out :)
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:iconbeeyonkuh:
Beeyonkuh Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013
Indeed :D
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