Put My Feelings into Words : Joined Journeys
a monthly feature by Maddie M. White
What mental illness do you suffer from?
When was the first time you noticed it and how?
When I started experiencing it, I was in 1st grade about 6-7 years old, but I didn’t fully understand what it was until I was about 13-14.
It stemmed from school bullying for many years until the last year of high school. In high school, after years and years of dealing with it alone I decided to ask my guidance counselor about how I felt and to see a doctor soon (although it took years to finally talk to my doctor about it, and I’m still in the process). I was tired of crying and feeling the way I did all the time.
How does it affect your life as a whole?
If I keep to my daily routines (same job, same driving routine, basically no changes in daily schedule), my life is largely unaffected as a whole, though with job changes/future moving/family adjustments, it’s very daunting because my habitual mentality is challenged, and that’s where the anxiety comes in until I can find a safe routine again.
My quality of life has been questionable. There definitely are instances where my issues have hindered me from participating in activities I would have liked to partake in. I’ve burned bridged because of it. It’s a whole other entity that has a grip on your life.
How does it affect your day-to-day?
If uninterrupted from my schedule, my day would be fine. Any hiccups (missing my exit on the way home, having to make an unexpected phone call, etc), and it will affect my whole day. My body chemistry acts up and I’m anxious all day, thinking of instances that are unlikely to occur, nauseous all day, antsy etc.
What have you learned about it?
I learned to breathe, take my time and to try not to care about how others perceive it, because chances are they’re also battling their own demons!
What has is taught you about yourself?
It has taught me that I am Human, and that it’s okay. I’ve learned so much about myself, who I am as a person, my likes, dislikes, triggers and what I can do to prevent them and increase the overall productivity and happiness of my life.
Have you found anything helpful in coping with it?
I write. I put my feelings into words, whether it’d just be a short journal entry, a poem or a full-fledged story.
Relaxing also helps. A calming bath/shower with oils/aromas. Staying in bed and just detaching from my worries.
Describe a time in which you felt empowered after doing something in spite of the disorder.
Anytime I drive somewhere new, make a new friend, make an important phone call, or something along those lines is a win for me. Sometimes people don’t understand that you don’t have to triumph in war to feel victorious, but a few battles here and there are ones to count. Even if I’m sweaty, shaking and have a huge headache after, I can say that I did it.
To anyone who has anxiety or anything related to mental health, just know it is okay and it is important to seek help, even if it’s at your own pace.