Don’t Feel Ashamed – Anxiety and Other Mental Illnesses

It’s easy for me to tell you not to feel ashamed of the fact that you have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or any other mental disorder. I’ve been told numerous times how common anxiety disorders are.  Many people have been diagnosed with some form mental illness, we just don’t always know that because people don’t talk about it like they do with other illnesses.  That always tends to make me feel a little more comfortable knowing that so many other people have experienced what I have gone through, and still go through today.  Not that I wish this upon anyone else, it just makes me feel more “normal”.  If so many people have experienced what I have, why don’t I hear others talk about it?

In my opinion, people are ashamed to admit they have a mental illness.  I know I have been.  One thing I have learned over my many years of experience with anxiety, is that when I open up to someone and share with them that I have an anxiety disorder, many instantly feel relieved and comfortable enough to tell me that they have experienced something very similar in their lives. It is an amazing feeling to be able to connect with someone that knows what you go through.During a conversation with my husband, I told him about my idea of a blog to help people who suffer with anxiety, depression or any other mental illness. I told him how nervous I was to actually publish it.  I was hesitant to put myself “out there” and worried about what people might think of me.  In the back of my head, I was telling myself that I am doing this to help others and offer support to those that need someone to talk to.  He said, “You know that is your anxiety talking right now, don’t you?”.  The answer was no, I didn’t realize it until he said that to me. Sometimes it helps to be reminded that your thoughts are often controlled by your anxiety.  It becomes such a normal part of our thought process, and what seems so obvious to others, might be hard for us to see.So I am leaving my comfort zone and telling the world that I have anxiety.  Most days, anxiety doesn’t control me, but it sure tries.  It has taken me decades to get to the point in my life where I refuse to feel ashamed, and I want to get others talking about it as well.  Opening up to others, talking about how you are feeling, or what you are experiencing is a great start.

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