Good Monday morning, my friends! Monday Morning Coffee Talk returns next week, but today is all about Mental Health Awareness. May is many things, among them Mental Health Awareness Month. This little space here allows me to bring awareness to mental health and the need to break the stigma associated with it. Several years ago, when I was finally diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Health Anxiety, I realized I had suffered silently for too long. In retrospect, I realize I was concerned about what people would think about me if they knew I had mental health issues. Those days are long gone, my friends. Finally becoming unable to live with the intrusive thoughts affecting my life and being forced to seek treatment were the best things that could have happened. Now I have the proper dosage of medication, regular sessions with a fantastic therapist, and a knowledgeable primary care physician and psychiatrist allowing me to manage these conditions that are part of my life.
Anxiety is hard enough. Thinking you are alone with anxiety is unbearable. In sharing my experience, I hope to help even one person see that living with anxiety is possible. You are not alone in your worries, fears, anxiousness, and intrusive thoughts. I am proof of that. Recently I realized that my anxiety has lessened and that I can handle certain situations without becoming anxious or obsessive. My mind isn't ruminating, causing me to seek reassurance about things I fear. When I thank her for helping me, my therapist reminds me regularly that she is there to provide me the tools I need but that I do the hard work. Just recently, I realized she was right. I wish I could say a magic wand exists that will take all the anxiety, fear, worry, and obsessions away. But that will never be true. The truth is, I work every day to manage my OCD and anxiety. I accept that it will never be gone entirely, but I can honestly say I am managing it in a healthy, productive way.
I have learned a few things that may help you on your mental health journey.
*Show yourself the same compassion you show others. What do you do when someone you love is struggling? You offer help and support. Do the same for yourself. You deserve it.
*Accept help. Let your loved ones in. Struggling with anxiety while trying to keep it a secret is unimaginably hard. Don't ask for reassurance. Just ask someone to listen.
*Talk to professionals. Your doctor will help you find a counselor or therapist to talk with. And know this. Anything you say to the therapist has been said before. Be honest about your anxiety, your obsessions, and your fears.
*Medication can and does help. With your doctor's help, find the right one with the correct dosage. It might not be the first one you try but keep at it. You will get there!
*Stop Googling. Let me say that again. Stop Googling. Just stop. Stop looking for answers on the internet.
*Find an app to help. I love the Dare Response! It is the very best thing I have found to help me with my anxiety. Click HERE to go to the website. I use the app every day.
*And finally, keep at it. Show up for yourself every single day. When you start to see a change, keep going. Like brushing your teeth or washing your face, managing your anxiety should be a part of your daily routine.
Thank you for the support you have given me over the years. You have given me the courage to continue talking about my mental health challenges. And I hope I have done the same for you.
Have a cozy Monday, my friends!
Thanks for visiting!
(Insert cute puppy pics here.)
*Google for the image.*