There is no cure for anxiety

Telling Me To 'Keep My Chin Up' Is Sweet But It's Not A Cure — There's No Easy Fix For Anxiety

It's really difficult to voice my true feelings about GAD, but here goes nothing!

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Having generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can be really difficult. It makes living out my daily life a struggle. Even if I'm having a "good day" on the outside, I could be imploding. I bet if you asked most people who know me, a good majority of them would have no idea that I struggle with mental health issues. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. It definitely means I'm good at hiding and covering up my true reactions and feelings.

I do the best I can to conceal my feelings because I hate burdening other people with my unnecessary worries. Inside, I let my worries spiral and spiral into what I call the "spin cycle." This happens when I have one troublesome thought that leads to another one and another one until the situation I've come up with is so unrealistic it seems like I'm having a really strange dream.

Most days, I'm not sure how to escape the spin cycle. But that's when I remember all the good I have going for me. I have family and friends who love me. I have a soon-to-be husband who adores me and would do anything for me. Most importantly, I have my heavenly father who will always take care of me. Who could ask for a better support system?

How can I be so worried when I have so much to be grateful for?

Ask my genes, DNA, and brain for the answer because I have no idea. As much as I want to say that every time I pray for lessened anxiety it goes away, that's just not how it works. God isn't a genie. We all have our personal struggles, and this is mine. It's not going away no matter what I do. Yes, there are things I can do to make it more bearable or to soften the crippling effects it has on my mind, body, and soul, but is there a perfect solution to make it go away? Absolutely not. I wish.

No matter what my external circumstances, my anxiety always has, does, and will run high. Sure, I have coping mechanisms and people who can help calm me down — everyone needs that kind of support system. However, I will never escape a mental illness unless there's a sudden miracle from God (which I will never exclude).

The weird thing about having a mental illness is that you can pass by as "normal" to most people most of the time. It's so strange that with most other illnesses you can see the physical difference, but with mental illnesses, people could know you for years but are in the dark about your generalized anxiety disorder. I'm around such supportive people that sometimes I wonder why I don't tell more people more often.

I'm afraid of being seen differently or stigmatized.

Bottom line is: I hate standing out. This introvert hates being the center of attention. Even more so, I don't want to make other people worry about me. I also don't want to be different from anyone else. It's so easy for people to tell people to just "not worry" or "chin up" when they don't understand how debilitating mental illnesses truly are.

I don't want to be told that my feelings are invalid or can be fixed in the blink of an eye. I've lived with GAD my whole life. Trust me: if there was an easy fix, I would've done it by now.

I'm not sure if I'm just ranting or becoming a part of the change for good...but I'd like to think I'm the latter. The more people who know about generalized anxiety disorder and mental illnesses, the better. I think those of us who struggle sometimes don't have the words to share exactly how we're feeling, and I'm not sure I've done a good job of sharing my own feelings through this article. You, dear reader, are the judge of that.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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