the month of May brings more than showers…

Having a sever severe history of mental health challenges, as well as an on going disorder, I was unaware the month of May shines light to create awareness to the public. This year for 2014, the concentration is anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, the definition of anxiety is, “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” With all the advertising that’s out in the media today, we see and hear a lot of commercials dealing with anxiety. Most of them involve how to manage your anxiety and depression with medication. In therapy sessions, my therapist always told me I had high anxiety and (manic) depression. I was diagnosed around age 12. Since a doctor was telling me I needed to start taking medication, I didn’t take the time to do my research. I just wanted life to feel better. Up until a couple years ago, did I start digging in a little deeper with mental health challenges. Specifically looking at the what anxiety is,

“Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can actually be beneficial in some situations. For some people, however, anxiety can become excessive. While the person suffering may realize their anxiety is too much, they may also have difficulty controlling it and it may negatively affect their day-to-day living. There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder to name a few. Collectively, they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.” – National Institute of Mental Health

What brings on these disorders? Being diagnosed at a young age, I always thought something was wrong with me. I didn’t understand why I would faint at times when I had too much on my plate. Or why I couldn’t stop shaking and struggling to catch my breath. I hate using the word disorder. In my opinion, I believe mental health concerns are a challenge. Individuals need to find the right diagnostic for themselves as well as overcoming the everyday battle the individual has to go through each morning they hit the alarm clock. I do not look at it as a disorder as most people do. It is a challenge. Finding how to improve your mental health condition is the challenge in itself. Today, there are so many different options on how to treat any type of mental health challenge that individuals battle with daily. Whether it’s taking prescription drugs, therapy, or holistic approaches, the options to help the uphill climb is becoming more and more available.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with (manic) depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and other challenges. It’s important to note, if you’re an individual reading this who is struggling, I always recommend seeing a psychologist. It’s important to have someone to help aid you in the right direction on your road to bring out the better part of you. I understand what it’s like battling it on your own. For that, my heart goes out to you.  I was on prescription drugs from the ages of 12-21. To this day, I still have my up and down days, but I’ve been able to find a treatment plan that works for me. Changing my dietary needs, getting involved, and writing a book is how I’ve been able to stay “sane” as some people may say. Writing has been my main outlet in helping me sort through the multiple moods/personalities and express the pain I’ve overcome. While my book has yet to be seen by other eyes, I have created a blog to show others they’re not alone in the sea of mental health challenges. I see a therapist weekly as well to hear what’s going on because it’s important to find the balance between keeping your thoughts in your head and expressing them to a trust worthy person who can lead you in the right direction.

While anxiety is considered one of the most common mental health disorders, I think it’s great that in the month of May (my birthday month too) they are taking the time to help create awareness for the general public. It’s good to understand how anxiety affects people. What it does to that individuals body and what paces through their mind on a regular basis. It’s not something that can be completely shut off like some may believe. Luckily, today, we are given many options on how to overcome the challenges we face on a daily basis. Thanks to new research, science is now finding other alternatives to help alleviating alleviate the strains! While some maybe skeptic skeptical, it’s always good to look at ALL options you have. Taking the time for one month out of the year is a wonderful idea and now that I’m a little more educated on the awareness month, I want to help spread the word! Will you?

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