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Mental Health Monday

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Living in the rural Midwest, I often feel that mental health issues are a bit of a taboo topic. When we have mental health issues, like anxiety or depression, we don’t talk about them, because when we do, we’re told to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and go on. Unfortunately, that’s not how having a chronic mental health condition works.

I have chronic anxiety, something that I’ve actually had most of my life, but wasn’t diagnosed with until about 10 years ago, when dealing with the anxiety about planning my upcoming wedding saw me eating so little that I got down to less that 100 pounds.

I have been on medication for my anxiety since then, and have also seen a counselor on and off. With a recent bout of panic attacks, I went to see my doctor about options. We have since made some adjustments to my medication, and I am seeing a therapist again.

I’ve only had two appointments with my new therapist, but I think it will be a good fit. I’m now doing breathing exercises every day, which should help me with learning to breathe thru panic attacks when they happen. And I’m writing in a journal.

I think the journaling has been really good for me. I’m doing it as a cross between a traditional diary style journal and a bullet journal. The traditional journaling is a great way to get my thoughts on paper, while the bullet style elements are helping give me a creative outlet and make the journaling process more interesting for me.

I’m also looking at starting yoga as another calming technique. What are some things that you do to help with your mental well-being?

4 Comments

  1. Daenel T. on September 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    I’m so happy that people are starting to acknowledge that mental health issues are legitimate issues. I admit to being totally ignorant until a family member was diagnosed with a mental health issue. I still don’t know everything, but I’m learning and doing what I can to be supportive. Thank you for sharing.

    • Andrea on September 17, 2019 at 7:58 am

      Thank you for stopping by. While it’s certainly difficult to have a mental health issue, it’s also difficult to be the person who loves and cares about a person with mental health issues if you’ve never had them. It’s something that my husband still struggles with, trying to find the balance of care and support when he doesn’t really understand. I wish you well as you continue on your journey of support.

  2. anna on September 17, 2019 at 10:39 am

    I have CPTSD and GAD, which has got a lot better since I finally made the break with the toxic group I was involved with for nearly 10 years. Surprise surprise–no one seems to miss me, so I guess they didn’t really need me. It took months of self-care (and lower temperatures!) to finally start feeling like my old self again.
    I tend to want to stay at home when it’s bad, even though I know I need to get out and about to change my thought processes. So sometimes I force myself to go out even if it’s just to buy a pound of fruit or something. (Easier to do that now it’s cooler.) Other times, when the world gets too “peoply”, it’s time to take a self-appreciation day, lie in bed with a good book or a DVD–Studio Ghibli and Jane Austen both spring to mind.
    I was over-prescribed anxiety meds at a very young age, when I was in college, so they tend to either not work, or I get every bad side-effect. I depend on herbal teas like chamomile, linden, and valerian–I love all teas, and a warm drink itself is very soothing. DH got me some fine porcelain cups last Christmas, which makes it even more of a pleasant me-time ritual.
    I started attending Mass at a local parish. The priest and people are so friendly and welcoming. Having been baptised Anglican (Episcopal to you) Fr Javier has no problem giving me communion. That means a great deal, too.

    And yes, I often feel bad for DH, who has had to live with me and my issues for the past 37 years. Support is beautiful, even when it can’t really understand what you’re going through.

    • Andrea on September 17, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      GAD is no fun, and I hate to think what it must be like to have CPTSD on top of it. I am glad that you have found some things that help you with your issues. I love the idea of tea and Studio Ghibli. It does sound soothing. I am lucky that my medication still works most of the time, and that when it doesn’t, I have the as needed klonopin. I hate that I’m chained to taking a medication to get through my day, but I’m also very grateful for it.

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