Breaking through the many obstacles of mental illness
Imagine being awake at three in the morning. No, it’s not because you binge-watched so much of the newest show on Netflix or you got too caught up in the most recent release of NHL’s video game series. And no, it’s not because you are heading home after that booty call you didn’t expect.
Imagine being awake at three in the morning replaying every moment of your day because you’re afraid you made a life-altering decision.
Imagine going over every social interaction because you’re afraid you said something that could ruin a relationship.
Imagine wondering what every person in your life is thinking about you because you’re too insecure to be confident in yourself.
Generalized anxiety hurts. And it hurts. And it hurts. And it hurts.
Every day I go through the same three experiences: I wake up wondering what would have happened if I woke up earlier and got a better start to the day, knowing I’m going to regret it later; I deal with a terrible pain from an ongoing ulcer caused by stress; I lay in bed at some hour of the night questioning every action I made that day. And it never ends.
Generalized anxiety disorder, admirably known as GAD, never leaves my side. It’s the boyfriend I can’t shake after a bad breakup, or the hangover that didn’t really want to leave after the alcohol is flushed out of my system.
I deal with a lot of every day experiences that are intensified because of anxiety.
I’m no where near the worst of its victims and I’m grateful for this. But it never ends.
In ways, I’m still struggling. I refuse to allow medication be the muse to my pain so I find alternative methods such as exercise, writing and sports, but sometimes the alternatives are not strong enough.
Oftentimes I sit wondering why I can’t be better, anxiously pondering what mistake I’ll make next.
But then I remember something else: I’m not perfect. Anxiety or not, I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to have to learn. I’m going to work hard and sometimes it’s not going to be enough.
I’m going to fail. I’m going to deal with the troubles an individual without anxiety has and I’m going to deal with things other people have a million times worse every day.
The moral of this very depressing anecdote is whenever you feel like GAD — or whichever mental illness you are unfortunate enough to suffer from — has a stranglehold on your life, there is always something better.
There is always a strong, positive way to release endorphins into your life.
Some days it’s harder than others — from personal experience, I’ll cry randomly when I don’t know why, or have panic attacks that have no cause.
I’ll feel lonely surrounded by family and friends and those who have said directly to my face, “I love you.” But when anxiety has me, none of that matters.
But the other days, the ones when I realize how beautiful life can be and how incredible it is to experience what I’ve experienced — and to know there’s so much more — it’s a victory.
It’s a victory in a long line of ongoing battles, culminating a in war bigger than life. And I’m only one soldier.
Mental illness is a bitch. It hurts me, it hurts my family, it hurts my friends. It hurts people I don’t even know. And someday, we’ll be able to realize the stigma is just that.
A small bandage on a problem no one wants to face.
A revolt waiting to break through the walls. An upset in the final minutes of the championship game.
When I lay down to go to sleep tonight, I’ll probably still wake up at three in the morning questioning all of those things.
But when I wake up, I’ll seize the moment I have to take on anxiety and conquer it.
And someday, I won’t have to question my life.