Fears Keep Me Captive

Fears run my life. As someone who has an anxiety disorder, I have a lot of fears and I tend to let them win. They take the fun out of my life and cause me to miss things that I would otherwise enjoy.

Some of my fears include:

  • The unknown
  • Being judged
  • People not liking me
  • Being out of control
  • Not being good enough
  • Not fitting in
  • Failure
  • Ending up alone
  • Being embarrassed
  • Saying something wrong
  • Becoming depressed and not being able to get out
  • Reverting from the growth I’ve experienced in my anxiety disorder
I have other fears but those I don’t know how to put into words or I don’t know what exactly it is I fear.

As you can see from that list, I fear things that are not concrete. They are also very hard to avoid. When people are afraid of heights, they avoid heights. A lot of my fears are emotional or mental and I can’t really avoid my brain. There are times when I try to avoid my fears by trying to avoid people or any situation that may cause me to be anxious but that doesn’t always work and then my fear of ending up alone kicks in. So no matter where I go, my fears will follow.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog post about LungLeavin’ Day which is a day that a couple created to smash their fears. Today I visited their website to smash my own fears and I recommend you to do the same.

Don’t be like me and let your fears run your life. Get rid of your fears.

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Let’s Talk – End the Stigma of Mental Illness

bell_lavieThe stigma of mental illness still exists today. Most people suffer in silence because of it and this stigma needs to be fought. Here in Canada, the company Bell hosts a day they call, Let’s Talk. This year it is held on Tuesday, January 28. On this day, they donate money mental health research and organizations that work to help those with mental illnesses. This day is meant to raise awareness of mental health issues. They want to end the stigma of mental illness that is still rampant today.

I have experience with mental illness. I have family members who suffer from depression and schizophrenia. I have an anxiety disorder as well as have suffered with depression. I know the stigma attached to these illnesses and it took me a long time to get past my fear of the stigma to sharing my issues with people.

Below are some facts from the Bell Let’s Talk website.

27% of Canadians are fearful of being around people who suffer from serious mental illness. – Canadian Medical Association

Mental health problems and illnesses also account for more than $6 billion in lost productivity costs due to absenteeism and presenteeism. – The Mental Health Commission of Canada

2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection. – Canadian Medical Association

I would be included in this stat. I used to suffer in silence because I feared judgment and rejection. I started struggling with depression when I was ten years old and feared how people would judge me if they found out all the thoughts that ran through my head and that I was depressed. It took me until the age of nineteen before I started telling people about my depression.

Adults with severe mental health problems and illnesses die up to 25 years earlier than adults in the general population. – Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

Less than 4% of medical research funding goes to mental illness research. – Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health

Only 49% of Canadians said they would socialize with a friend who has a serious mental illness. – Canadian Medical Association

I find this fact ridiculous. No wonder people suffer in silence and fear judgment and rejection. If you heard friends saying that they wouldn’t socialize with people because they were depressed or had some other form of mental illness, would you want to tell people you had this illness. No. Why is having a severe mental illness seen differently than having a severe physical illness?

Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities. – CMHA

It helped me tremendously when I finally reached out for help with my depression. I saw a mental health worker and just talking with her about my struggles helped. She also helped me realize that I had an anxiety disorder which played a huge part in my depression. Getting help and just talking about issues such as depression helps.

Every day, 500,000 Canadians miss work due to a form of mental illness. – Mental Health Commission of Canada

Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year-olds and 16% among 25-44 year-olds. – CMHA

I could have been one of these statistics. I guess I still could but it’s not as likely as it was a few years ago. When I was depressed, I was suicidal. I hoped and prayed that I would die. I would think of ways I could end my life. At the worst of my depression. I would imagine myself taking a knife and piercing my heart with it. I would imagine suffocating myself. I would think how many pills I would have to take to end my life. I even considered driving off a bridge and even researched suicide methods. You may never know if someone is considering suicide.

1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life. – Canadian Institute of Health Research

At this very moment, some 3 million Canadians are suffering from depression. – CMHA

Two-thirds of homeless people using urban shelters suffer from some form of mental illness. – Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health

In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them. – CMHA

Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadians population. – CMHA

Most people don’t realize how much mental illness controls your life. My anxiety disorder has controlled my life and in the last while I’ve tried to take it back.

People with mental illness want to be seen as normal even when they don’t feel normal. Help end the stigma on mental illness so more people feel free to talk about it and seek help.

Below is a video of a young woman sharing her story with mental illness. If you want to watch more, there are more videos on the Bell Let’s Talk website.

Back to School Anxiety and Adjusting

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, I’m sitting in a classroom waiting for my class to start. Today is the official first day of classes while yesterday we had an orientation. I think I’ll enjoy the program but I know that my anxiety will but a shadow on the classes itself.

I’ve wondered what exactly is causing my anxiety so I can better combat it. I think the part that gets me anxious the most is the busing to get to school because there is so much to know and look out for. I need to be aware of which bus I need to take, what time it will be arriving at the bus stop so I can be early, when I need to get off, where I’m going once I get off the bus, etc. It can all be a bit overwhelming for me. Because of it, I haven’t been able to eat much the past couple of days and I’ve actually gone to bed really early.

All the changes and new things I need to get used to, all produce anxiety to some degree. I have to get used to living in a new place, sleeping in a new bed, the noise levels, the unavailability of wireless internet connections, the food, busing, new people, new schedules, a new building and having to find my way around.

I seem to be fine once I get in the classroom with the people in my program, though. So I’ll have to see how it goes. There have been times when I want to quit but I’m not a quitter. I’ll at least stick out the week and see how it is after that.

I know it may take a while before my anxiety is under control for this year because when I first went to SBC, the school before this one, it took at least a week and I seem to think it may have taken a couple of weeks.

I’ve been so tired these past two days, it’s been ridiculous. On Sunday, when I arrived at my aunt’s (who I’m staying with for the school year), I went to bed at around 10:30 which is early for me. Yesterday, I took a nap after I returned from orientation and I rarely take naps. I’ve probably doubled my naps this year. Then, in the evening, I felt really tired again and was in bed before 9:30. When at SBC, I would never go to bed before 11:00 so this is very uncharacteristic of me. It might have something to do with waking up every couple of hours in the night and waking up early. Yesterday, I got up out of bed at 6:30am so it kind of makes sense why I’d need a nap in the afternoon.

Anyways, enough of boring you with the changes in my life and my sleeping patterns. Hope all of you enjoy your days.

Problems Galore in Myself and Others

Glazomania

I am a glazomaniac. I am sure most people probably don’t know what this is. I had never even heard about until a few days ago. Glazomania is a passion for list-making.

I make lists like crazy. Sometimes I do it without even realizing I’m doing it. I would probably average writing 1 list a day if I were to try to figure it out.

to do

to do (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

If you were to go through my bag, my room, and my phone, you would find tons of lists.

In my room, I have two calendars on my wall, plus a calendar on my phone. I have a list of fiction books I want to read that I do not own, a list of non-fiction books I do not own but want to read as well as a list of all the books I own with the ones I’ve read crossed off.

I also have a list of blog ideas, long-term projects I want to do, possible book ideas, shopping lists and numerous to-do lists. I also have tons of lists that involve the book I’m currently working on as well as about my already published book.

I love making lists! Often when I’m bored, especially at work, I make lists. I sometimes try to think of something I can write down to make into a list.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Mexico: Monopoly Deal at Hotel La Siesta in Ma...

Mexico: Monopoly Deal at Hotel La Siesta in Mazatlan (Photo credit: eliduke)

I am also slightly obsessive-compulsive. When I went on my trip to Mexico in January, I told people in my group I am borderline OCD and there was one guy in particular who liked to use that against me and annoy me. The game of the trip was Monopoly Deal and I would always hold my cards a certain way and have them the right side up. I would not hold them upside down. A guy in our group would constantly mess around with the piles of cards so they were not straight. It bothered me and he knew it.

I like things in order and like them to be a certain way. Sometimes I contribute this to my perfectionism, although I’m not a perfectionist about everything.

Social Anxiety

I also have social anxiety, which anyone who read my old blog would know as I talked about it many times on there. I fear what people think of me and fear messing up. I have gotten better in regards to my social anxiety but I still need to work on it. I won’t bore you too much with my social anxiety but you can check out my old blog angeladueck.wordpress.com if you want to read more about it.

Everyone Has Problems

As you can see, I have problems. But that doesn’t make me different. Everyone has problems. No one is unique in this way. We all have problems of some sort. I may be more aware of mine or admit them more readily than some people but I am still a human being.

I sometimes make myself appear more troublesome on here than I am. It’s not that I necessarily try to but I find it easier to write about my problems and I’m constantly aware of them.

Most people won’t recognize our problems if we don’t tell them. I’ve been told by someone they wouldn’t have taken me as an anxious person. Numerous people have also told me I’m a people person which almost contradicts my social anxiety.

Problems are Opportunities

Problems are Opportunities (Photo credit: DonnaGrayson)

The same probably goes for you. You may have a problem with depression, anxiety or something else that people don’t realize but rather see you as what appears opposite of it. People may say you always appear so happy, yet you struggle with depression. They don’t know your inner struggles unless you’ve told them about it.

You may not want to talk about your inner struggles with people because it’s hard and you fear they will judge you for it. I know I’ve feared what people would think of me if they knew about my inner struggles.

However, I think talking about our struggles allows us to know we’re not alone in our struggles and allows us to seek help if we need it. It also helps people to understand us better. People don’t judge us as much as we think they will when they hear what we struggle with. They may just surprise you in a good way.

The Possibility of Meeting with an Anxiety Group

Anxiety - Stress ... Time management vital for...

Anxiety – Stress … Time management vital for finals — cancel your Netflix subscription (7:45 PM, Nov. 28, 2012) …item 2b.. Muddy Waters – After The Rain – Full Album (1969) … (Photo credit: marsmet481)

The other day, I received a letter from a hospital in downtown Winnipeg about partaking in one of their anxiety groups. At the beginning of last summer, I attended two sessions of a quick start to overcoming anxiety program at the hospital I had been referred for by the psychiatrist who works with my mental health worker that I had been seeing last year. The letter I received from the hospital said I should contact them if I want an appointment to see if I would be a fit for one of their anxiety groups. Part of me wants to just let the deadline they set for contacting them pass without calling them so I don’t have to go.

I mean, I’ll have to meet with people I don’t know, which I don’t enjoy doing. I’ll have to go to downtown Winnipeg, either by driving or by taking the bus. Both don’t excite me and I can’t always have my mom come with me which is what I normally do in these types of situations. I’ll have to go downtown by myself and I could totally make a fool of myself at any time.

I’ll have to talk about my problems face-to-face with people I don’t know which scares me. I will undoubtedly feel anxious and may even throw up because of it. (Nausea is one of the symptoms I get when I am anxious and I have thrown up numerous times because of it.)

English: Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety

English: Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t need to go, right? I’ve improved enough in my anxiety disorder I don’t need to go, right? I can handle this on my own. It may be beneficial but I don’t need to go.

Oh, who am I kidding. The very fact that I don’t want to go should be evidence enough I should go. Anyone could read what I’ve written here and know that I should probably go.

But it’s so scary. I know a lot of people won’t understand this. Making the phone call itself scares me.

Why can’t I be like most of the people I know? They seem so sure of themselves. They do new things all the time without a second thought.

Why can’t I strike up conversations with people and make it look easy? Why can’t I make and answer phone calls without dreading them? Why can’t I do things without worrying about everything?

Why do I have to get anxious and feel like I’m going to implode? Why do I have to get nauseous, light-headed, sweaty, have difficulty breathing because of rapid breathing and my heart’s beating a mile a minute?

Why can’t I be like the normal people I see around me?

Because I’m not. I wish I was but I’m not. I’m the loner who stays to herself because it’s safer (although I do also enjoy, sometimes). I don’t feel like my body’s going to implode when I stay in my bubble. I may occasionally get depressed because of it but that’s still better than the feelings of discomfort and panic that occur when I try to step out of my bubble.

Maybe I will not contact the anxiety program at the hospital. My body will most likely thank me for not putting it through the symptoms that come with my anxiety. I know my heart-rate and breathing are already slowing down just thinking about not phoning them.

Besides, when I am at work, I see the growth I have accomplished with my anxiety disorder and maybe, just maybe that growth is enough I don’t need to call them and can continue to grow in it by myself.