Stop The Stigma Around Mental Illnesses

Stop The Stigma Around Mental Illnesses

Every day is a battle between us and ourselves
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Your heart is beating so fast you can't hear yourself think. Your mind is racing faster than the cars at the Indy 500 and your palms have turned into a swimming pool. You feel everything spinning in the room and you are trying to think of a plan to escape. The world is falling apart and there is nothing you can do about it.

This is anxiety.

A real and horrible thing that one too many suffer from. It makes you think that you should be separated from everyone else because you're "different." It makes you think that you are alone in this world. It makes you think... too much.

You begin to think that you are not good enough and you neglect how you are taking care of yourself. You put others thoughts before your own when you are the one who needs help. The worst part about anxiety is that there is nothing you can do about it, which creates more anxiety.

I have lived with this for 18 years and I still cry myself to sleep because I will never be a "normal" person. Yeah you're probably saying "Well Emily, no one is normal" and you're right, but when you suffer from anxiety everyone IS normal... except you.

I would never wish anxiety on my worst enemy. It eats you alive. It tears up every good thing in your mind and replaces it with the worst possible scenario. It makes you become someone other than yourself. It breaks you.

And it breaks my heart to hear other people going through what I go through every day.

Everything about anxiety is internal. There is no cure. There is no way out. You are trapped in your own thoughts...alone.

So next time you see anyone who may look upset, become a calming presence around them. Show them that you will not judge them because that is what most of us are afraid of.

Don't tell us to "not worry" or "it will be fine." Telling people who have anxiety not to worry is like telling an alcoholic not to drink. Telling us that it will be fine is like throwing us in the middle of the ocean with no life jacket on.

We will continue to worry and nothing will be fine. We've accepted that now it's your turn to accept us.

Anxiety is a real and toxic condition. Be kind to one another... it's the least you can do.

Cover Image Credit: Philosophical Disquisitions

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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A Day In The Life Of A Socially Anxious Person

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adults in the United States. It is one of the most common mental illness and yet a lot of people don't know what social anxiety disorder (SAD) exactly is and have misconceptions about it. Social anxiety is often misunderstood as shyness. However, SAD goes beyond shyness. For someone with SAD, daily social interactions can be stressful to handle because of fear of negative evaluation and embarrassment.

To eliminate misunderstandings and spread awareness about SAD, here's a picture diary of what a day in the life of a socially anxious person looks like.

8:30 a.m.

"I better hurry and switch off my alarm before my roommate wakes up. I'm afraid she might hate me for waking her up this early."

12:00 p.m.

"I know the answer to this question but I'm too scared to answer. What if it is wrong and I embarrass myself in front of everyone?"

3:00 p.m.

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

5:00 p.m.

"I better keep practicing my order in my head otherwise I might stumble upon my words and make a fool of myself."

7:00 p.m.

"I am just going to delay answering this call as I'm afraid to answer the phone. I don't know who is on the other side and am not exactly sure what to say."

10:00 p.m.

"I'd rather not sleep, as if I try to, I'll be reevaluating all the embarrassing moments of my day."

Along with these thoughts, a person suffering from SAD might also experience physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, flushing, palpitations, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. If your day looks anything like the picture diary above and you have been experiencing physical symptoms, do not be afraid to seek help.

According to a survey conducted by ADAA, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help. If you are someone who is suffering from SAD, always remember that there's hope. Always seek help as social anxiety disorder is treatable through medication and therapy.

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