Hey everyone. Today we're gonna get a little emo, but I promise it's all in good taste.
This month is mental health awareness month. Thirty-one days designed to bring awareness to those suffering with mental health and how to stop pegging stigma on a disease that's very real and very normal for a lot of people. A new report shared that 63% of Canadian millennials are at a high risk of anxiety and depression. That's a pretty scary statistic, but it's also a bit reassuring. Reassuring in the sense that there are a lot of people dealing with the same thing that you could be. I decided to take today's post and share a bit of my own anxiety demons, as well as give you a little playlist of songs that have always made me feel better when I felt scared or anxious. Here we go.
I never felt that I had any serious anxiety until I entered high school. Even still a lot of it was pretty tame, but the older I got, the more apparent it became, especially in grades 11 and 12. Towards the end of high school there's an extreme amount of pressure to have your whole life figured out. You should know by now what you want to do, where you want to go to school for it, and what jobs you should be applying to before you can even vote. This kind of pressure, as well as trying to maintain grades, keep a social life, eat well, etc. builds up really quickly. I felt this pressure, as did a number of my peers, and for some it's just easier to not talk about it and push it down. The problem with that, I found, was that it quickly bottled up and would explode like a mentos in a coke bottle.
Typically for me whenever my anxiety would bottle up and come out it would result in a lot of hyperventilating and crying. A lot of this continued into university where I felt a pressure to maintain a certain status or else (and as I saw it in my mind) I wouldn't succeed. It was as if I could never have a bump in the road or else everything would crash down on me. I'd get anxious that one wrong move would put me in the worst position and that it would ruin everything I worked hard for. The same went for people in my life. At the time I was in a relationship where I was spent obsessing over whether I was good enough or if I was doing everything right. I wanted all the stars to align perfectly because I was anxious of inevitable fights. My mind would rack up every worst possible scenario, which would only leave me crying and scared. That wasn't healthy either. I spent a lot of time curled up in bed trying to avoid a lot of situations so I wouldn't have to deal with any consequences. I didn't want to talk about it to anyone because I didn't want to burden anyone with my problems, something I've learned now is the opposite of what should be done.
Anxiety would often be my worst enemy, and it would get to a point where I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to go out with my friends, I was constantly harsh on myself, and I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn't talk to anyone about it, and I had instances where I would lash out on co-workers and friends when I had absolutely no reason to. It was just how I reacted. If you've been there, you know how much it eats at you and ultimately feels like you're not worth the life you're living. It's the worst feeling in the world, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But sometime around last year, I realized the damage it was causing me when I saw it wasn't benefiting my life. I didn't want to apply to jobs for fear of rejection, so I'd hide under the covers until I went to try again, but I just felt that fear come right back. I knew I didn't want to be in retail forever, and I wanted to try to make an effort in my life. You only have one, right? So I had to push myself to send the applications and accept that rejection is a normal thing. It's like finding the right pair of shoes; they may not be for you, but they could be someone else's favourite pair. Same goes for the people in my life who were just causing me more anguish. I decided it was time to sever ties with them. There was no sense in being around people who would just bring me down, and cause more strain on an already exhausting state. But making that first move is often the scariest. And it's not until you put one foot in front of the other and you see you're walking a couple steps ahead of where you were before. It takes a lot of time.
What I'm trying to get at with this is that I thought there was no way I could talk to anyone. It wasn't until I stepped back and realized the amazing support system I had to help get me through it. It may not sound very real when I say that there are people who will listen to you, but there truly is. Whether it's your mom, best friend, or a random stranger you met through Tumblr, people are there to listen to you. Whether you realize it or not, they probably went through, or are going through the EXACT same thing you are. The best part too, is once you start talking, a conversation happens, and you no longer feel like you have to bottle up your emotions. If you're too scared to talk, there are definitely other alternatives to get your feelings out, whether it's through a sport, art, music, dance, writing, whatever it is that makes you feel good, and at peace, use it to channel that negative energy into something positive. It's incredible to watch how much more accepting the discussion around mental health has increased, and it goes to show that it's a serious issue that we should talk more about. I would by no means say I've combated anxiety. There are definitely days when I come home and overthink everything I've done, and cause so much worry over nothing, but that's just how my brain thinks. I could very well be stuck with it for the rest of my life, but I've definitely found ways to make it less harmful to my well-being. I like to think I'm on a better path now than I was this time a year ago. I'd definitely say I'm happier. I'm grateful for these kind of discussions for future generations who I know will need it. These things don't go away quickly. It's a big learning curve and a process that only you can go through, but you're not alone when you do.
I know I'm fairly lucky to have had things unfold the way they did for me, and I know there are some of you reading this who are still struggling. I've left some links on internet resources to reach out to, and if you don't feel like talking in person, I've got my social links and I will happily be there to listen to you too. As well, below, I have a playlist of songs that have always made me feel better during times when I was feeling at my absolute low. I hope they help you, and I hope you find your light again.
Lots of endless love to you always,