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Saturday, 17 June 2017

162/ LIVING WITH ANXIETY

I've been sitting here trying to figure out what to write for this post for what seems like forever. To add some context - these pictures were taken two weeks ago. I keep going back and forth trying to decide between writing about the outfit itself or the anxiety attack that I experienced that night. In one of my latest posts (Beyond the Instagram) I discussed being more honest with myself and with my social media so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

I have lived with anxiety for as long as I can remember. It has always been a constant and dependable thing in my life. It comes in many forms, but I mainly live with social anxiety. I'm a textbook introvert and can be extremely shy at times - all of this tied in with being anxious in social settings has affected my life in more ways than I care to admit. It's still not an easy thing for me to talk about, but I think it's important for me to do so.

I have good days and bad days. Some days I can go out, talk to new people and do all of the things that I want to do but some days I just can't. I can't put into words how difficult that can be. It's like there's a road block or a fence; you're standing on the other side, wanting to participate, you can see everybody else having a good time but you just can't. The night that these pictures were taken was one of those nights.

It started out well. I was having a good time and I was surrounded by some of my closest friends, some of the people that I feel the most safe around. But anxiety doesn't care about that sort of thing. We were at a club that I am semi familiar with (I've been a handful of times) but the second that I stepped out for fresh air, it all hit me. I began to panic. There are too many people in the club. It's too hot in the club. I don't know the music. I don't want to talk to anyone or look at anyone. There are people everywhere. When I (reluctantly) reentered the club, I felt the walls closing in. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath. That is an absolute horrible feeling and I'm sorry if that's something that you can relate to. I grabbed my friend, Michael, by the arm the second we reentered and told him we had to leave ASAP. I found the rest of our group on the dance floor and explained the situation.

I'm extremely fortunate to be surrounded by people who understand what it's like to live with anxiety disorders. My friends were all understanding. Michael and I left that bar and headed to one that I was more comfortable being in. We ended the night by dancing to Beyonce and Rihanna and I was finally to able to breathe. It took a bit of time, but I finally felt at ease.

Knowing my surroundings and being surrounded by people that I feel safe around are key for me during anxiety attacks. I had a pretty mild attack that night and something small like a change of scenery was all that I needed, but sometimes it takes a lot more to feel comfortable and safe.

I just want to throw it out there that if you've ever felt like this, you are not alone. Anxiety is a painful and scary thing to live with. It comes in many forms and has ton of different symptoms. This just scratches the surface for me. It can feel like a cruel joke when a social event that I've been excited about for months turns into a nightmare, sometimes without a distinct trigger, and it's not fair. It can feel like a joke, but it's 100% real. Nothing about it is fair but it's nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.

*** There are a ton of great resources online if you'd like to read more about what anxiety is or how to care for yourself during an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks are extremely personal things, meaning that no two people will experience it the same way. What works for me may not work for you. What works for you sometimes may not work for you other times. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed about. Seeing someone like a doctor or counsellor, while it is not for everyone, can be an important step for some people. You are not weak for living with anxiety (or any other mental illness), you are not weak for seeking help, you are not weak for doing what you need to do during an attack and your feelings during anxiety attacks are 100% valid. 

JACKET/ Michel Studio (similarTOP/ Forever 21+ SKIRT/ Penningtons (similar)
TIGHTS/ Addition Elle (similar) SHOES/ Old Navy (thrifted / similar)
HANDBAG/ Rebecca Minkoff LIPSTICK/ Sephora 'Cream Lip Stain' in 001 Always Red

Photos by Michael Tundo

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I learned something to help someone close to me who has anxiety.

    Again, thanks and nice blog.

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