The Paralyzing Effects Of Anxiety: I Can Relate

The Paralyzing Effects Of Anxiety: I Can Relate

You are never alone

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At times you may feel like you are stuck in a black hole, getting stretched and pulled apart in the vast space, unable to breathe. And trust me I've been there. As someone who has an anxiety disorder and experienced both anxiety and depression, I can relate.

I can relate to the sleepless nights, the racing thoughts that feel like you are being tossed around by wave after wave. I can relate to the isolation, pain, and helplessness that comes with it. You often feel like your place is lost among the stars, with no sign of anyone understanding your encounters with this silent attacker.

The crazy thing is, that it actually isn't. Surprisingly enough, there is a huge community of people out there that can actually understand and relate to what you may be experiencing and this community is not that hard to find.

When I was first diagnosed with my anxiety disorder I was having a minimum of 7 anxiety attacks a week and felt upset when my doctor first tried to relate to my experience by discounting my feelings. Needless to say, explaining my situation to my family wasn't any easier. They wanted to understand and still do their best too, but often times came across as insensitive.

With this need to feel understood and receive the help that I knew I needed, I began seeing a wonderful counselor and turned to the Internet in search of those who felt the same way I did. In my epic quest, I stumbled upon dozens of videos from popular YouTube creators and even upon Odyssey articles written by other college students that were experiencing the same thing.

Chances are, if you are reading this article you may have been searching for the same thing I was and I sincerely hope you found it. When struggling with anxiety it is so easy to get sucked into the abyss that comes with it and all the feelings of confusion and isolation it produces.

Often times it is easy to forget that there are accessible resources right at your own fingertips such as Help Starts Here, which specifically can help you get in contact with the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, local support groups which are easily accessible through the magic of the Internet, Anxiety Hotlines like the one created by the National Institute of Mental Health (which will be listed at the end of the article), and most Colleges and Universities that help you get in touch with Counselors and Therapists on or off campus, usually free of charge. Even with all these amazing resources, the unfortunate reality is that every day there are still people who continue to struggle and do not seek help.

To those reading this article and struggling with anxiety, I advise you to not allow yourself to go underneath the radar, not to allow yourself to feel unnoticed and alone. Trust me, many times the hardest thing to do is to seek help, but once you do it is often the best thing you will ever do.

The best things in life do not always come easy. In the words of author Lisa Wingate, "The hardest thing about the road not taken is that you never know where it might have led." Ultimately, the significance of mental illness cannot be understated, and even in the sometimes laughable mess that is anxiety, the most crucial thing to remember is that no matter how dark or difficult your day or journey is, you are never alone.

Helpful Resources for Anxiety;

Help Starts Here

http://www.helpstartshere.org

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

https://www.adaa.org

Anxiety Hotline

1-888-ANXIETY (1-888-269-4389)

College/University Support

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/campus-life/campus-services-theres-support-when-you-need-it

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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To The Friend Who Truly Understood My Depression And Anxiety

Thank you for everything you do.

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Dear friend,

When I started having issues with my anxiety and depression, everyone seemed to pull away. They all wanted space from me, they all said I was changing and I needed to get better. I know I needed to get better, but everyone pushing me didn't make me feel any better or more supported. It made me feel as if I was some sort of problem or issue, and as if I was too broken and damaged to be viewed as normal. They all made me out to be a bad person. But you, you never did.

When I started struggling, you made me feel supported. You voiced your feelings in a way that made me feel as if I was supported and as if you had been through what I was dealing with too. You made me feel heard and understood.

When I started medication for my mental health, you checked in on my reactions to the meds every day. You made sure to keep up with me and keep updated on how I was doing. Since day one, you have made your love and support for me abundantly clear. You have listened to me rant and rave about everything and anything I can possibly rant and rave about. Every decision I have made to help myself and my mental health, you have supported, even from afar.

You have always had such a handle on the best way to be here for me and the best way to unconditionally support me. You validated my feelings while simultaneously telling me they were wrong. You encouraged me getting the help I needed without making me feel as if I was an issue or as if I was a problem.

You've always been one of my biggest supporters, my biggest role models, and best friends. You truly understand my struggles and never cease to amaze me with your unending support.

Thank you for everything you do, and thank you for being you.

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