My worries and anxieties have taken on many different forms over the years. Certain things that used to bother me, don’t bother me at all, and things that I was never bothered by, I am paralyzed by now. I’ve passed up amazing experiences, pushed away people that I love, and have allowed myself to feel inferior because of it. I have also been plagued by the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety. I was diagnosed with ulcers at the age of 21, shingles at 23, and experience headaches, body aches, jitters, low immunity, and other digestive issues. I’ve had periods of “normalcy” as I like to call them. Where I’ve felt great, and was able to function on a more “standard” level, I was even happy! But those fearful feelings always found their way back, destined to plague me forever, (or at least that’s how I feel sometimes). I’ve tried many forms of treatment, and have only found short term relief at this point; hence my advocacy toward Mental Health awareness. With all of the other disease related awareness out there I guess Mental Health got lost in the mix, unfortunately, which needs to change now! I believe that because of the lack of awareness, many people are forced to deal with these demons internally, afraid or ashamed of stepping forward. There is a stigma associated with mental health as we all know. It’s almost as if the words “mental illness” are forbidden, and if you speak them, they somehow attach themselves to you. Mental illness is not who you are, it’s what you are experiencing. Those people who think victims of mental illness are “crazy,” are just ignorant.
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