Anxiety?

GENERALIZED ANXIETY?

Is the constant stress you are feeling generalized anxiety?

Mental illness, sometimes it plays by its own rules; making you feel dreadful in a moment and inexplicably sad in the next. I don’t know about you but I think it’s fair to call it mother nature’s roller coaster. While it can feel this way at times, there are ways to combat its impact. Exercise being one of the best ones.

Anyone with a mental health condition can tell you all about certain emotional experiences, such as dread or fear but what about the impact mental illness has on us that we may be less aware of? Or even worse, no awareness what’s so ever?

So, what do I mean when I say less aware? Well, lets use my own life’s experience as an example. Rather disappointingly, I find myself almost chronically worried that I have done something to make people upset with me. This sad way to live isn’t new to me. However, relating it to mental illness is.

Like what you are reading? Try, Anxiety in the New Age

Generalized anxiety disorder, a mental illness that makes one ruminate and worry over anything and everything is the likely culprit. Whist I have always known that GAD made me a worst-case scenario thinker, I never thought that it would make me obsess over making everyone around me upset. But honestly, when I think about it, it makes sense. It is after all, a form of obsessive worry which; obsessive worry can be driven by an anxiety disorder.

Why DO I suspect that it is part of my anxiety disorder?

To start with, it was the frequency in which I was feeling worried. Sadly, I was worried over each and ever interaction. No matter who it was or in what way we were interacting. From social media to meeting in person, the chronic feeling that somehow I was making someone upset with me was and still is overwhelming.

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If that weren’t enough, I would and still do, build an entire mythical future in my head as to why I “Thought” my friends and family were made at me. adding layers. “Maybe I message them too often, do I not talk to them enough?” My biggest fear? Well, that the person I’m communicating with doesn’t really like me and thus I am seen as a bother.

GENERALIZED ANXIETY?

As time went on, I began to notice that I became anxious interacting with, not one person, but everyone; the everyone part is key here becasue:

  1. It was everyone. Best friends, family, co-workers, firefighter colleagues etc.
  2. And it was constant. In fact, it was so prevalent that It began to scream at me like a giant electronic billboard. “NO ONE LIKES YOU, YOU’RE BOTHERING EVERYONE!”

Generalized anxiety was the culprit?

To reach an ultimate conclusion on the cause, I had to use mindfulness to bring myself into the here and now. By doing this, I was able to let the logic centres of my brain and ask the right questions:

  1. Is it really possible that everyone you interact with dislikes you? Similarly, can everyone you know view you as an inconvenience? Of course not.
  2. So, since it’s not very likely that no one wants to interact with you, what’s really going on? Does it this feeling lay within you?
  3. If, so, what’s going on?

Want to hear people tell their stories? Go to The Depression Files Podcast.

Since I had been diagnosed with GAD years ago, I rightfully concluded that I generalized anxiety was the culprit. With that said, having a diagnosis made it easier for me to conclude but you don’t have to be.

So, if you recognize similarities, perhaps what I have laid out here can help you uncover some underlying mental health condition you did know you had. Through the process of mindfulness, you can quell the emotions and negative self-talk and clear your mind so you can discern what’s really going on and move towards healing.

Note: If you think you may have a mental health disorder, contact your doctor, psychiatrist or a psychologist; they are all able to diagnose you and thereby help move you forward.

Checkout the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency service’s, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently comes with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness, best of all, it attempts to give all you served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

OR

Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

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Signs of strength

Signs Of Strength When mentally Ill.

When I started my wellness journey, it was met with fear and uncertainty. I was unsure for my future. Nonetheless, I took a deep breath and prepared myself for battle. Leading up to this wellness journey
I was barely clinging to the everyday routine of my life. Like a broken branch being violently tossed about in a windstorm, so too was everything I ever knew. I was caught in the turbulence of a force that I had not yet experienced. I’ve had my moments of being pretty ill in the past, but this time it just felt different. I learned that you have to look for signs of strength when mentally ill.
A new demon had rolled into town threatening to uproot the mental illness that had already staked its claim on my headspace. This new sickness moving to town wasn’t completely foreign to me, I had wrestled with him in the past. When this disorder caught up with me this time however, I grossly underestimated its strength, as a result, it slowly overpowered and incapacitated me. This overwhelming force is the mental disorder known as (PTSD) post-traumatic stress disorder.
Before this adversary, I was at odds with my resident mental illness, (GAD) generalized anxiety disorder. Powerful in its own right, it was a trickster I knew far too well to be defeated by it on its own. I was battling the angst it produced and winning the vast majority of the days’ battles against it.

it’s up to you to find the help you need and discover what those tolerances are.

It came at a cost however, my fight or flight response was always engaged and causing a significant amount of mental fatigue, but I knew this and compensated for it; going to bed earlier was just one of the ways I coped. I was still king of the mental health castle.
That all changed when the PTSD and the GAD started a turf war vying for absolute supremacy over my mental health. I could slowly feel the happy being withered away, caught in their crossfire.
Despite my health being held at the mercy of the two, I still went to work, still forced a smile on my face and tried to be the positive helpful John I had always been. I diligently fulfilled my personal obligations and went through great lengths to ensure my kids were none the wiser. Something had to give though, socially my life took on serious damage as I increasingly sought refuge behind the safety of my own four walls and as the battle within intensified, the need to withdraw became more and more frequent.

I gave up, retreated. Exhausted, I stayed at home, I was defeated, too weak to fight on; or was I?

At some point the two disorders decided to call a truce, good news right? Wrong! They figured they could have ultimate control over not only my mind, but they also realized that they would be stronger together, and they formed an alliance and have now attempted to take my soul and body as well. I was up against two very, very clever adversaries, and up to this very day they have wreaked havoc with my health, not only mentally but also physically.

Now allies at war with me, I felt powerless to combat the two, I felt weak, lonely, and defenceless. They were the perfect storm, intense and always in my head. The PTSD produced so much fear that I made retreating from public my second occupation. I constantly lived in fear of the possibility of seeing death or having to render aid to someone in an emergency. I was reactive to every little noise and the outside world had become way too loud and intolerable.

may I suggest that you are not weak and definitely not alone.

The GAD amplified the fears I had and still have around death, and being the ever-constant storyteller, it will construct scenarios of people dying in front of me in any number of ways.

See, the perfect partners. Their combined powers were too overwhelming and I eventually conceded to their power and became unable to face my job, the world around me, or enjoy the company of my loved ones. I felt like the weakest most useless person on earth, and I felt I had little choice but to surrender to my woes. With a feeling of shame and experiencing a numbing and persistent sadness, I gave up, retreated. Exhausted, I stayed at home, I was defeated, too weak to fight on; or was I?

Taking leave from work and faced with a lot of time on my hands I found that being absent from the constant stimulus of my occupation and the outside world, allowed me to spend a lot of time reflecting on the events in my life and all the effort I had put into trying to live a “normal” existence. Getting up every day, dragging myself through the everyday trials of life, work, kids, bills, dealing with conflict etc.
While all at the same time fighting not one but two mental illnesses and their tendencies to take the wheel and drive through whatever they wanted, like two teens without a license, taking me along for their destructive ride. Yet despite all this, I was raising my kids and doing a pretty good job. Not being able to work and contribute, although very tough, it made me realize that I had a tremendous support system.
“We the mentally ill don’t necessarily have disabilities, we have smaller tolerances, we simply need to learn how to work within them.”
(John Arenburg).
replaying my story in my mind, I have rightfully concluded that I wasn’t weak at all, that taking the time off was not a shameful act. I was merely aware enough to understand that my illness made me to sick to work, and perhaps, more importantly, it wasn’t because I was weak that I conceded to the PTSD and GAD, it was just out of pure exhaustion, battle fatigue if you will, physically and mentally spent. I needed and still, need time to get better.

What to hear real-life mental wellness journeys? Go to A New Dawn

I believe that if one exceeds their tolerances in life, as I had for many, many years one naturally, but incorrectly feels weak; simply because they are living up to someone else’s standards.
I think we would thrive if we acknowledge that we are all costumes made and have our own threshold, once exceeded we simply tire to the point that our body and mind say “enough”! Also, when we go against our own grain, neglect our true passions we then start to become ill and end up slugging our way through it because of our socially-expected obligations.

If this story sounds similar to your own, then may I suggest that you are not weak and definitely not alone. You’re also far from useless, you are a pillar of strength, an example of one who is strong; just drained and your tank is on E. Yet, despite this, you keep going.

I have had the honour of hearing many people’s life stories and I have yet to find one example of weakness, not one.  It’s OK to take time to re-learn your tolerances and as with any other illness, mental disorders come with their own challenges that need accommodation on your part, it’s up to you to find the help you need and discover what those tolerances are. these are all Signs Of Strength When mentally Ill.

To learn more about your limits click here: Mental illness and knowing your limits

Email:roadtometnalwellness@gmail.com

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