Our next guest post comes from Rachel over at Tales of a 4 Child Mom. I love her honesty in this post and know many people will be able to relate to what she has to say.
But I Do Not Want To Have Panic Disorder: Accepting My Mental Illness
I do not want to feel like this.
The stress and the fear; the feelings of dread and of misery; the physical aches and the exhaustion. They have to go. That nausea and stomach pain is quite unpleasant. My heart rate can slow down any time now.
I do not want to worry about anything and everything.
Everyone else seems to do normal things without overthinking or nearly backing out. I wish I could simply live without thinking about all the potentially bad things that could happen (but will not). I’m envious of the adventurous people, those unafraid to try new things.
I do not want to live like this.
I want to know why my brain works this way. Coping skills, strategies, medications, therapy, and doctors are all great; proper diet and sleep definitely helps. Yet I’m never 100% prepared for a mental health setback. I cannot always figure out what triggers me and why.
I do not want to have panic disorder. But I do.
It has taken me a very long time to be able to say that without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. I did not want to admit that anything was different. My symptoms could be blamed on stomach problems or too much stress. I could say that I simply drank too much to cope with life, as if that was my problem. I just needed to find some way of making myself happy, so that everything would fall into place. I should learn to relax, because it’s that simple, right?
For a long time, claiming to have any type of mental health issue was a shameful admission. I looked at this as a weakness and a way for people to look down on me. I worried that people would judge me, only heightening my anxiety. All I wanted was to portray a strong, confident woman and mother.
But there is no hiding something like this. You can try, but you will eventually fail. And the last thing you want or need is another failure.
So I chose to be honest. I started writing about my anxiety and depression; not all the time but when I felt it was worthy of writing and of reading. I told my family and my friends. Instead of making up excuses for missed events or avoidance, I told the truth. I stopped hiding behind the shame and put myself in front of it.
I involved my family, particularly my husband, in my therapy. He knows how to help me in the midst of a panic attack. He now sees the warning signs of a bout of depression almost as well as I do. I share parts of my therapy sessions, and he respects that there are things I cannot share with him. He asks questions and tries to be supportive, even though he admits that it is difficult to understand how I feel and to realize that he cannot just fix it. Other family members have been and continue to be loving, nurturing, and understanding.
The best thing I did was to finally make my mental health a priority. It is important. It is worthy of my time and effort. It is necessary. Taking care of myself – as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and person – must be done in order to survive. And I owe it to myself to do the work.
I do not want to have panic disorder. But I do. And there is no shame in admitting that.
Rachel is a wife and mother to four children. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Management, and she currently lives in Hawaii. She has been a parent and family blogger for seven years,. She is a regular contributor for Military Moms Blogand runs the official book club for this site; she has also been published on Her View From Home, The Beautifull Project, Bold Truth Mama, and Hand in Hand QC. You can find more about her and see her writing at www.talesofa4childmom.com. You can also see more of Rachel on her various social media platforms, at the handles below:
Facebook: @talesofa4childmom and @rcarpenter0013
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If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.
The Samaritans: http://www.samaritans.org
Young Minds: http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Papyrus (prevention of young suicide): https://www.papyrus-uk.org
Self Harm UK: https://www.selfharm.co.uk
Time to Change: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness: http://www.rethink.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://www.afsp.org
Please do not struggle alone.