Battles Of The Mind

Trigger warning: mental illness

Anxiety is omnipresent; it floats in and out of my every day, interrupting even the most simple and laid back moments. When it isn’t front-and-center, it is still within earshot, ready to destroy the walls of reinforced steel that I have built around myself. It crawls into bed with me at night, and my only reprieve is slipping into a fitful sleep with the assistance of my prescribed anxiety medication, which I’ve been taking for quite some time now.

There is a certain stigma attached to the use of prescribed medication, and if I’m being honest, I don’t see that stigma being alleviated anytime soon. I truly believe that the stigma comes from both pure ignorance and lack of education. It is quite simple, really: if you are not directly affected by mental illness, you do not understand the gravity of its presence; you don’t understand the ins-and-outs of the life-saving medication used to treat chemical imbalances.

It is a privilege to wake up each day and not have to take medication before you do anything else. It is a privilege to not have to think about antidepressants at all, actually. It is a privilege to go to sleep at night and fall asleep almost instantly, instead of lying awake with paralyzing anxiety clawing at you from the inside out. It is a privilege to never know what a panic attack feels like, and it is a privilege to never have to wonder how long your next anxiety attack will grab hold of your nervous system and dismantle all of the work you’ve done to keep the attacks at bay. It is a privilege to live each day with your health intact. These are all privileges I am not afforded. I have lived with the list of aforementioned afflictions for all of my childhood and most of my adult life, and it is absolutely devastating and not to mention debilitating in ways I can’t even express at times.

I am an expert when it comes to my body, my mind, and the way in which I heal and take care of myself. My body and I had somewhat of a cohesive relationship until I was diagnosed with severe anxiety, depression, panic disorder with agoraphobia. My PTSD and somatic nerve disorder arrived a little later, however that is two more villains to add to the lineup.

Needless to say, my relationship with my body is now tumultuous and turbulent at the best of times. And as I write this, I am in a deeply committed relationship with myself — and only myself. I have made the decision to stay single until someone enters my life and loves me where I am at, with all of my flaws and baggage in tow. I will wait for the one that holds space for me in the most gentle and affirming way, the one that I can trust with my wildly damaged and beat-up heart. I do not come without complications — I am messy and emotional and flawed. I am a perfect storm, a force of nature wrapped in scars, lessons and stories that have created and shaped who I am. I am slowly trying to learn how to be proud of the woman I am and the woman that I am becoming. And that means never settling for another human being treating me like I am the second choice ever.

For me, there is a direct correlation between relationships and mental health. I have trust issues that are so deeply embedded into my psyche that I am only now facing them head-on. I have been abandoned at my most vulnerable by people I loved, I have been told that medication doesn’t help and that I don’t need it, that I’m weak for using antidepressants. I have been emotionally and verbally abused so severely that it is no wonder I have substantial trust issues.

I see myself as nothing but a burden, and so to protect myself, I don’t even bother to let anyone inside the corners of my mind. The cozy, rustic rooms of my heart lay vacant or occupied by the love that I cannot let go of. I have so many complicated pieces that make me the young woman that I am, and I have come to a fork in the road – open my heart once again or remain closed off from the world, content to live my quiet existence and carry the heaviness of life on my own. After all, you do not keep returning to the fire if it’s inferno has burned you time and time again – you walk away and move the fuck on.

Mantras for Anxiety: Harness the Healing Power of Chanting to Ease Fear, Stress, and Depression

For anxiety:

‘This will pass’

It is very common feel as if anxious feelings will last forever. Use this mantra to remind yourself that even though you’re feeling anxious right now, there is an end in sight.

As uncomfortable and scary as it can be, anxiety attacks come and go. This reminder can be comforting and help you reach the other side.

‘One day at a time’

A sense of overwhelm can often trigger anxiety. Things like a looming to-do list or an upcoming test can bring it on. Reminding yourself that you only have to get through today can ease the pressure.

Whatever responsibilities or trials you may have to face in the future, right now you only need to get through today.

‘I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it’

Worrying about the future can often fuel anxiety. Instead of ruminating on what if, it can be helpful to remind yourself where you’re at in the present moment.

Usually, the present moment is much more manageable than a whole week, month, or year ahead. Start with now and go from there.

For depression:

‘I will feel good again’

Depression can sometimes feel like all the joy has gone out of the world. It can affect everything in your life.

The truth is that depressive episodes won’t last forever — there is hope. Reminding yourself of this truth may bring a sense of relief and perspective.

‘I listen to my body’

If depression has you feeling like you don’t want to get out of bed, maybe that’s OK for now.

You can remind yourself that depression has physical symptoms, and that honoring what your body is telling you can be a compassionate way to care for yourself.

‘I am not my thoughts’

One symptom of depression is negative self-talk. These critical thoughts can make it hard to look ahead and gain perspective.

Even in the middle of negative self-talk, you can choose to take space. Instead of taking all your thoughts for granted, you get to pick and choose which thoughts you validate and which you throw out.

For social anxiety:

‘It’s not about me’

Most people are far too busy thinking about themselves to be scrutinizing others. Remember, you’re likely your own worst critic.

By reminding yourself that it’s not about you, you can relieve the pressure of trying to please others and instead enjoy your time with them.

‘I’m only human’

Everybody makes mistakes. In fact, your imperfections are what make you relatable, lovable, and human.

Instead of beating yourself up when things don’t go as planned, remind yourself that you’re just as fallible as everyone else, and that’s perfectly OK.

‘I am a contribution’

You may see yourself as awkward, insecure, or not that interesting.

The likely reality is that people genuinely enjoy your company. It may be the unique perspective you bring to the table, your deadpan sense of humor, or simply your quiet, reserved presence.

By simply showing up, you’re making a contribution to whatever social circle you decide to grace with your company.

For grounding:

‘I am in my body’

When you feel ungrounded, you likely feel disconnected from your body. No matter how “in your head” you may get, you can always connect to the sensations of being alive.

Feel your breath move in and out, or your heart beating in your chest. No matter what’s going on in your head, your body can remind you where you really are.

‘I am connected to the earth’

Sometimes simply feeling your feet on the ground can be enough to ground you. You’re being supported by the earth and the gentle pressure of gravity, and you’re here to stay.

‘I am anchored like the roots of a tree’

If you want to take the feeling of your feet on the ground even further, imagine that you’re sprouting roots like a tree. Imagine these roots reaching down, down, down, and a deep sense of being anchored to the earth.

Pair with the words above to give it even more power.

My Body Is Doing Its Best and It Deserves My Forgiveness

I am working toward loving my physical body in a way I have never been able to before.

I want to feel gratitude, appreciation, and admiration for my body, and I want to feel sexy, desirable, and beautiful. I want to feel so many positive emotions when I look at and think of my physical form, but unfortunately, I usually feel like my body and I are constantly at war with each other.

I struggle with Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and Chronic Pain, and it makes loving my body even more difficult than the “society and the media have taught me to hate my body weight, body shape, imperfect skin, height, nose etc. ” issues that so many of us deal with already. Loving a body that is actively causing you physical daily pain and stress because it is genetically different from a “typical” person’s body is a different type of challenge than the hell of trying to overcome accepting you don’t look like society’s aggressively attractive “ideal” woman.

Trying to love a body that you feel somehow hates you is… exhausting. I am exhausted from being in nonstop pain, from trying to operate with constant fatigue, from gagging on 50 pills a day, and from the heartache that comes with knowing that this is not temporary. This is forever. This is my state of being.

This is my life.

I am acutely aware that all of this is extremely valid. I am also acutely aware that my body itself has no malicious agenda, no evil plan. That, however, doesn’t make me any less angry.

Have you ever been hurt by or angry with someone who not only had no intention of harming you, they were just kind of moving through life in the most benign, typical way, and had no idea they even harmed you at all?

It’s kind of like that.

Learning to love my body is going to have to begin with learning to forgive it for struggling exactly the way that it has. My body is not sentient, my mind is, and it didn’t get to choose to experience bullying or to struggle with chronic pain etc.

I know I sound bananas trying to somehow both personify and dehumanize my body at the same time but just go with me here.

My body was in the womb, creating itself, doing what little unborn bodies do, but it had somewhat the wrong blueprint, and it made itself the best it possibly could. How could I possibly be angry at it for that? I still am. But it did its best.

I’m not mad at it for doing its best, I guess I’m just angry that I have to deal with the faulty outcome. Any contractor can tell you that if you build your house with flawed blueprints on an unstable foundation, your house is eventually going to crumble.

My house is crumbling around me. It’s hard not to be frustrated with that.

I am doing my best with the body that did its best to build itself into a stable and safe shelter for me, I’m just frustrated, exhausted and I pray one day for a cure of it all.

Meanwhile, the most important thing that I can do to move my mindset toward loving my body, the vessel that carries me, is to forgive it for being imperfect, forgive it for not having the right information, and appreciate it for blessing me with its best.

When You Can’t Help but Compare Yourself to People Without Depression or Anxiety

I possess the unique combination of unwavering determination and paralyzing uncertainty. Until recently, I didn’t realize my anxiety probably played a large part in why I feel these things. I’m determined to always try to do more because I never feel like I’m doing enough, but I don’t know if the things I’m doing are the things I should be doing. It’s a conundrum, I’m aware.

I look at the people around me who seem so sure of themselves. They have this idea of what they want to do and how they’re going to get there. I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt that way. I have questioned almost every path I’ve ever gone down. Not only do I wonder if it’s the right path, but I also question my ability to make it down that path. Everyone else seems so much more qualified than me. They’re more organized. They do their hair every morning and put on makeup every day of the week instead of getting 15 more minutes of sleep.

I get so frustrated with myself sometimes. I feel like I should be better than this. I should be more capable of fighting off the depression that has been looming over my life. I should be more. I should be better. These are statements I’m constantly telling myself. There are days when I just feel like a colossal failure. The depression and anxiety I’m battling exhaust me, and I have no desire or motivation to do anything else, which makes me feel even worse.

You see, I compare myself to everyone around me who isn’t fighting these battles. I am so focused on how functional their lives seem and how dysfunctional I feel that I forget no one’s life is perfect. I forget to give myself credit for the little things and celebrate my small victories. I forget perfection isn’t attainable. I forget to give myself the advice I would give someone else in these situations.

I am not just sad. I am battling depression. I am a warrior, and this is my fight. Every day I go to battle. Some days, I may lose. I have to remind myself I haven’t lost the war, I’ve only lost the battle and getting up every morning and fighting that battle is, in itself, a victory.

Your war may not be the same as my war, but I commend you for getting up every morning and fighting your battle, whatever it may be. You’re not always going to know where the next day will take you, but one thing I’ve realized is it’s important to remember you deserve love just as much as anyone else. Give yourself love on those tough days. Be gentle with yourself. You will figure out where you’re going and what you’re meant to do. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen. When it does, all of these battles you’ve been fighting will have prepared you for it. They’ve made you stronger. They’ve made you wiser.

Today, I’m sending you as much love as I can fit onto this page. I hope it helps heal some of your battle scars.

12 Hidden Ways High – Functioning Depression Completely Devastates Your Life.

You have to keep your feelings locked away.

You can’t let yourself feel sadness, grief, or pain. Even your joy is manufactured – you are so defeated on the inside that you don’t even know what happiness feels like anymore. The idea of letting someone in, showing them your pain and your darkness, scares you more than no one ever knowing you at all.

You never truly allow anyone to see you.

The only way you can survive is is if don’t let anyone see what’s hiding underneath your carefully maintained surface. Every day is a struggle to stay afloat, but you are terrified that if you slip, even for an instant, the persona that you present to the world comes crashing down which will leave you exposed.

You cause yourself literal pain.

When you are this tightly wound and bottled up, the body responds by manifesting all your internal suffering in external symptoms. You might have migraines, digestive troubles, body aches, extremely tight muscles, irregular appetite, or a myriad of other symptoms related to constant mental and emotional stress. You think you are fooling the world , but you can’t fool your own system.

You are constantly exhausted.

It does not matter if your days are are full or free – you are tired. You are so busy keeping up appearances with your high – functioning version of Depression, you do not give yourself any time to rest. Again, you are afraid that if you have a moment to actually sit with what’s going on inside, you will lose that fragile façade you have built and never recover.

You are trapped in your own mind.

When you have no outlet for your pain and your fears, you end up caught in a cycle of self-destructive thoughts. You may turn to anything and everything to try to numb your brain, but it only helps temporarily. You might function fine, even exceptionally, in the outside world…but your internal world is barely hanging on.

You feel heavy and hopeless.

It is such a constant state that you don’t know any different. There is no release, no relief, no break in your need to keep up appearances. Not only are you depressed, no one understands that you are having a hard time. Your high – functioning tendencies only keep you isolated and misunderstood. They are a burden, not a help.

You are completely disconnected from yourself.

It’s pretty tough to stay rooted in your intuition and inner self if your system is constantly working to present an image of high functionality to the outside world. You may not even realize how disconnected you are – that’s how focused you have to be on controlling your image. You are in a toxic rut and you do not see a way out.

You numb to cope with the pain.

You can get away with many sorts of socially acceptable numbing, like drinking a couple glasses of wine every night or spending your free time mindlessly watching trash TV. Just because it’s how a lot of people cope with their unhappiness doesn’t mean that it’s healthy or that you should use it to numb your pain, but that’s what you always end up doing anyways.

You can’t change any of your unhealthy patterns.

When you’re spending all of your energy covering them up, you’ll never fix them. Living in survival mode is not sustainable and that’s why you are always sick, stressed, and sad. Just because you can function in a passable fashion in society doesn’t mean that you are living a fulfilled life.

You are stuck in survival mode.

It’s a recurring theme, but it deserves its own section. This is something pretty much everyone with high-functioning depression experiences, but you’re probably not even aware of it. If you were, it might send you over the edge, so you live in this constant denial of your truth that feels like a uniquely torturous sort of purgatory. You can’t do this forever.

You seem like you have got everything together, but really you are miserable.

That’s basically what high-functioning depression is – the ability to move through life as if you’re fine. That’s what makes it so dangerous. You are less likely to display obvious signs that alert others you might need help or support. It’s horrible to live in a self-made cage where no one really sees or knows the real you. When things get really bad, you feel more alone than ever.

You don’t have the capacity to find real healing.

As long as you stay stuck in this endless cycle of misery and numbing, nothing will ever change. That sounds like reason enough to seek a way out, but that doesn’t work when you are so wrapped up in your patterns that you feel entirely trapped. Nothing is more devastating than living your entire life in a state of complete and utter unhappiness that you feel you must maintain in order to stay alive at all.