6.18.2015

Speak Up for Silence

speakupforsilence

Welcome to the second week of Speak Up for Silence. If you want to learn more about this series, please read this. Today's post is from Shane over at Sea Salt Secrets. Shane has shared about her struggle with anxiety before, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate her ability to talk about something so overwhelming in such a candid way. Her bravery in facing her anxiety and moving to Australia for a job is admirable and she's one strong gal. I know we will all benefit from what she has to say today.

IMG_5635 See that smiling face up there? That's the smile of a girl who has suffered from anxiety disorder for most of her young life. I can't pinpoint exactly when it began, but for as long as I can remember, I have been a Type-A perfectionist, fueled by an unhealthy dose of worry and stress. I am a chronic overthinker and everything in my life is made a million time mores complicated than it need be. Anxiety has led to countless meltdowns all because I was so worried about what could go wrong in any given situation. Sure, we all feel stress and overwhelm at some point for exams, interviews or important life changes. For me, this feeling is amplified to the max every. single. day.


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I have come a long way since college and could not be more proud. Moving across the globe to Australia for my first job was unfathomable to me just a few years ago when I was busy living inside my cozy box of comfort. Contrary to popular belief, anxiety is not something you can just "get over" at the flip of a switch or the swallow of a pill. Anxiety is a chemical imbalance in the brain that is not something I can control.
  • Don't tell me to "chill out", "calm down" or "just relax"
  • Don't tell me I'm irrational and it's all in my head.
  • Don't tell me to stop being emotional or dramatic.
  • Don't ask me if I am PMSing.
  • Don't tell me you don't see what the big deal is, I'm making mountains out of molehills.
  • Don't ask me if I've tried yoga or meditation.
  • Don't tell me this isn't a "real" illness. It is very real. We suffer in silence.
  • Don't ask me if I took my meds this morning.
  • Don't tell me we all have stress so you know how I feel.
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 "He's so chill and laidback...you are constantly on edge"

Anxiety tears apart my relationships. I overanalyze so much that I ruin them before they even begin, then beat myself up about letting a potentially amazing thing go. I am not blaming my behaviors on this illness, but it is a full-time job maintaining a sustainable relationship when I can barely stand being around myself.  

"Why do you take that prescription, I've never seen you anxious?" 
 
I've tried going au natural for a few months and I was unbearable. You know all those irrational fears I voice or pointless arguments I begin? That is my anxiety rearing it's ugly head. I prefer to live a happy, normal life and medication allows me to come back to the surface and breathe.
 
"You look like you haven't slept in days."
 
That's because I haven't. Sleeping is absolutely the worst. I toss and turn for hours as my mind races in a million different directions.
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The hardest part in all this is learning self-acceptance. Anxiety is draining but I refuse to let it control my life and steal my happiness. I need to learn more about myself, what triggers me and how I can best deal with these situations when they arise.
 
Anxiety is a silent disease and will certainly be a lifelong battle, but the only true setbacks we have in life are the things we allow to be defined as such. I am done feeling guilty and ashamed for something I cannot control.

Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.
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I have anxiety but I am not my anxiety. I am a strong, independent, and courageous woman who is ready to take on the world.

Want to share your story? Please consider submitting a post HERE!
 
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25 comments :

  1. Good for you for speaking up and giving anxiety a voice. I cannot stand when people say to relax or chill out. Believe you me, I would if I could. If it was something as simple as flicking a switch, don't you think the millions of us around the globe would be doing it already?!

    I applaud you for your courage and bravery. It sure isn't easy talking about, but if we all open up a bit, we'll see that we are not alone like we all think we are.
    xo

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  2. Thanks for your encouragement! I know Shane will appreciate it. I'm so glad she wrote on this today because I don't think people intend to be hurtful when they say things like "relax," it's mostly just that they don't understand.

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  3. You're so right. If you don't understand, than how can you possibly know? Educating is key, so that more people understand and realise this isn't something people do for attention. These people (us) are truly hurting on the inside. Great post. I know I could have posted on Shane's blog but I decided to here.

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  4. I assume she will come read them here too :)

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  5. Thank you so sharing that, Shane. I think the worst thing is being told to "calm down" or "stop worrying." As if to imply that you have any control or CHOOSE to stress out... Keep doing what works for you- you're a very strong person :)

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  6. I'm really hoping this post educates people on what not to say haha

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  7. Thank you, just thank you.

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  8. I don't think I've read your post about your anxiety, Shane. You sure don't look like you are constantly anxious about anything. It doesn't reflect in your blog, to be honest.

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  9. I agree with you, Jae. I was surprised when Shane started to share because she comes off so confident and carefree on her blog. I really enjoyed when she started sharing more because I felt like I immediately connected with her writing on a deeper level!

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  10. I really look forward to these in an unexpectedly delightful way. You're all making a really beautiful space and conversation with these.

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  11. Thanks for sharing this, Shane (and Cassie). I suffer from anxiety as well and I know how overwhelming it is. I agree that being told to calm down is so infuriating and hurtful- it's really beyond our control. Thinking of you!

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  12. Thanks, Amber. That's definitely our goal.

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  13. Thanks for stopping by to read and leave some encouragement :)

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  14. Really great post!! I have thought all of those things before. I love where Shane says "I have anxiety but I am not my anxiety."

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  15. I'm so glad you're speaking up about this, Shane! It helps to take away the fear and shame so many of us feel. <3

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  16. This is a great post - I love that she is comfortable and confident enough to share this! I can relate on so many levels. <3

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  17. Thanks for stopping by to leave some encouragement!

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  18. Absolutely! She's definitely an encouragement

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  19. Such a powerful post "I have anxiety, but I am not my anxiety." Such absolute truth! Thank you for sharing your story shane :)

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  20. Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}July 1, 2015 at 7:14 AM

    Such an amazing post! My mom has anxiety and it has basically ruined her life because she doesn't know how to deal with it. She is completely miserable. So good to hear Shane say she has anxiety, she isn't her anxiety.

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  21. It's so sad to hear that she is miserable. Maybe she would be open to therapy? It can be so debilitating, especially if you don't seek help!

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I would love to hear from you! I try to respond to all comments.