Let me be clear, the make up, the fine clothing the perfected hair are in no means a way to intentionally cover up my Anxiety, ADHD or my Auditory Processing Disorder. They are however, a way for me to be me. And what am I?
Well, I am a lover of vintage fashion
I am a wearer of high heels
I am a Calvin Klein and Vince Camuto hoarder
I am an avid coffee drinker (and it clashes with all my mental health realities)
I am a circus and aerial acrobatics student
I am someone who strives to be the best
I am ambitious
I am someone with a meticulous need to rhinestone my life
I am someone who has struggled to keep my anxiety under control
I am not a stranger to exclusion
I am an overthinker
I am someone with anxiety, ADHD and an Auditory Processing disorder as diagnosed by a Medical Professional.
Why am I saying this? Well it recently occurred to me I might not be the best advocate for mental health. Or at the very least I hadn’t made it appear that I can relate to needing to give my brain and feelings a little TLC. While I tell my friends and colleagues it’s ok to call in sick when your anxiety is flaring up beyond the point of thinking straight, I sometimes forget to listen to my own words of wisdom.
This thought process occurred to me when I had, what is to me, a VERY mild anxiety attack at work. When I say mild I mean the actual attack lasted 90 seconds, and it was due to the fact it was Friday and I felt I hadn’t accomplished anything that week at work. I unfortunately have been given the ugly cry gene so I looked awful the rest of the day.
A few days later a many people asked me if I was ok. To all of them I replied with, “Thank you so much! I’m fine, it was just an anxiety attack.” This warranted one of two responses:
Response 1: What?! I never would have picked you as someone to have anxiety let alone anxiety attacks
Response 2: Why didn’t you leave?! You always tell us to take care of ourselves and our mental health, why aren’t you taking care of yourself?!
After hearing this from several people it prompted a thought process. How can someone who inspires so many people not be able to inspire herself? Why do people find this surprising? Mental illness can happen to anyone. It was the first thought that hit the hardest and it finally clicked, this is why you hear to check on your positive friends, because they may have something they need help with.
I am a very positive person, and I feel that is why those around me find it so chilling I jump hurdles everyday. I choose to embrace the positivity when I have it and carry it through the rest of the week. I choose to do my makeup everyday, dress well and hairspray the flyaways out of my hair because if I look like sh** I’m going to feel like sh** too. And I don’t want to feel worse than I am.
I know I am blessed, anxiety, ADHD and APD made me strong and a fighter. I very rarely have days where I can’t get out of bed, and on the off chance I do, I look for something I really love and some how, that forces me out of bed to go forth and fight.
I find giving more gets me more. The more I give to others, the better I feel all around. A fear of outlashing at people made me more independent, which as an adult has been a gift, as a youth, I didn’t understand it.
On good days, I only have 1 anxiety attack. Attacks come in all forms, and I have attacks since I was a small child. Infact, I have vivid memories of feeling like I was spinning around and around to the point where I just wanted to fall down and go to sleep. 10 or 15 years later from the last time I remember that, I felt that sensation again and how it felt nostalgic. I brought it up in a therapy session where my therapist told me, it sounds like you’ve been having anxiety attacks your whole life, you just didn’t have a label for it or a word to identify it as such.
Seriously! This was potentially my first real break through with my anxiety. My anxiety attacks come in all forms. Sometimes it’s spinning, other times it’s in my sleep and I wake up crying or shaking for reasons I don’t understand and everything in between.
I have things, but it doesn’t make me weak or helpless. If anything it has made me the strong woman I am!
For continued reading or help, here are some resources: