by Inez Hayes

Why oh why is talking about mood disorders such a taboo?! Finding out what made me feel so uncomfortable in my own body for so many years, changed my life (for the better I might add).

So I’m writing my story to let you know, if something feels weird SEE A DAMN DOCTOR! Here’s my story and 5 ways my life changed for the better after being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

How I realised something was wrong

Throughout high school, I always felt something was a bit ‘off’ with me and the way my brain worked.

But it only dawned on me something was really wrong when I went to college and I became SEVERELY depressed.

I remember feeling like I had a constant cloud of guilt and tension enveloping me wherever I went. I could literally never relax. My mind would always be churning. I felt kind of crazy. This couldn’t be normal, right?

Then came my a-ha moment. I was diagnosed with a generalised anxiety disorder about 5 years ago. Imagine my relief; these feelings were no longer figments of my imagination, it was an official, treatable mental illness.

5 Ways my life changed (for the better) after being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder:

1. Now I know what happens when I’m not feeling okay

Once I knew I had a condition, it helped me figure out what is going on when I’m not entirely feeling like myself.

Elevated heart rate? Shortness of breath? Irritable and tense all of a sudden?

Relax, it’s just your anxiety acting up again. Go outside, take a few drops of rescue remedy, and breathe.

You’ll be fine.

 2. I’m less scared of reaching out to people now

I’ve always been a bit closed off when it came to my emotions. I rarely opened up to people; I was afraid of either being a burden or being judged.

However, over the years I’ve realised how comforting it is having people there to talk to when you feel yourself breaking down or becoming panicky.

My friends now often pull me out of my dark ‘holes’. I’m so incredibly grateful.

3. I’ve found my own ‘remedies’ to handle anxiety attacks

Anxiety is quite a complex thing and everyones experience of it is different.

That’s why every person has their own method of keeping the beast under control.

I find that reading, fresh air, being in the outdoors and cooking helps me tenfold.

Unfortunately it’s something that only comes with time. So getting a diagnosis rather sooner than later is imperative to finding your mojo.

4. I’ve learnt how to accept myself as I am after all these years

This one is a real obstacle for someone like me. Most people struggle with accepting themselves, and having anxiety just makes it that much harder.

However, making more of a conscious effort to get to know myself better, has honestly made all the difference.

The more in tune I’ve become with my mind, the more I’ve started to accept myself for who I am.

I can’t stop being the person that I am, and frankly, why would I want to?

5. I’ve actually started appreciating (and enjoying) the little things

The outdoors, for instance. I’ve never truly appreciated how relaxing it is to be outside.

Birds are chirping away. Feeling a soft breeze on your face. I’ve always kind of taken it for granted.

Now it’s one of the ways I tame the beast. I love just being able to sit on a quiet beach or a forest, revelling in the tranquillity that is nature.

Anxiety’s not fun, but it’s not the end of the world.

Like with most things in life; learn to cope with it correctly and things will always get better.

 

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