Today started out on the rough end.
In art class I was fighting an anxiety attack. I recognized the symptoms. I was struggling to breathe, I got up to go to the bathroom twice, I had my head down on the table, I was filled with panic. My hands were shaking, my stomach felt sick, and I started fighting back tears. My friend could see what was happening and she rubbed my shoulder.
I doodled on the side of my sketchbook. Flowers, vines, and leaves. I tried to distract myself but the symptoms were not helping to ignore the discomfort. My mind went to the worst case scenarios. This was not a full on anxiety attack, but I was dreading reaching my breaking point. I didn't know where it was coming from, so I began to stress over the idea of needing to find words for it too.
For our final we are doing the glorious self portraits. My anxiety went away when my teacher had us take goofy pictures of ourselves on our iPads. Once I started laughing and being my expressive self, I became more calm.
By the next class I was telling myself: Ok Haley, you're okay, you're fine, it's all okay, it passed, it was uncomfortable for the moment, but you are okay now.
I need those moments of reassurance with myself. When I experience a heavy amount of anxiety I am consumed with fear, and then depression as I allow myself to question my capabilities and my happiness if I deal with moments like this.
Those moments have been infrequent, but they are still there. They still come back to me at times. Next time, I need to almost joke around with myself, if humor does help me. Not that anxiety is funny at all..but sarcasm to get me through the discomfort. "Ah well hello there anxiety, I have missed you my buddy ole pal. You sure are being one pain in the ass today aren'tcha? Ok anxiety I hear you, yes anxiety I feel you, but I'm going to keep doing me. You do you."
That is probably easier said than done, but because I KNOW it feels like the end of the world in the moment, but "this too shall pass" I need to treat the moment as it is going to pass.
On a brighter note:
I spoke up today. With writing, but still! I advocated for mental health issues. I participated in the twitter account @StampStigma's mental health month chat. I received more followers, and likes and retweets on my responses to the public questions.
I am very much enjoying Mental Health Month. This conversation should be continuous all year, but I thank this month of awareness for giving me a voice and less fear in the start to get there.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.