What, me? A health activist? How did that happen? But here I am, writing about my experiences in therapy, my battle with PPD, and my ongoing struggles with anxiety and mood swings. Blogging about all these things has kept me honest with myself about them – has allowed me to shed any last bit of shame I had. And I’d like to think that I’m making other women feel less alone, and maybe (just maybe) kicking mental-illness-stigma’s ass in the process.
My profound and inspiring friend, Melissa at Sweetly Voiced has convinced me to participate in WEGO Health Blog’s Health Activist Writer’s Monthly Challenge. I know I won’t be able to post for each daily prompt, but I’d like to think I’m meeting the challenge just by committing to raise awareness for my health cause. I can definitely do one a week, so I’m aiming for that instead.
Today’s prompt is to ask a question about your condition Yahoo! Answers-style and answer it. I hear this question a lot. From family…friends…well-meaning people.
Question: What are you so worried about? What’s wrong?
Answer: Nothing. Everything. Both. When you live with an anxiety disorder, although your worries may have root in reality, the anxiety does not. So on any given day, while I may be able to articulate a trigger for my anxiety, it can’t be just reasoned away. People want to know what’s wrong so they can fix it and help find a solution. I get that. But in my case, it just doesn’t work that way.
It may seem like a contradiction to see me visibly upset, but for there to not be a good reason. In my case, I usually know my anxiety is unwarranted, but can’t help it. It’s not uncommon to hear me tell someone, “I’m fine. I mean, I’m freaking out. But there’s nothing wrong. I’m fine.” And it’s the truth.
I’d rather people asked, “How are you?” because I am not my anxiety. I am a person suffering from anxiety. And I can’t even begin to tell you everything I’m so worried about. But I can tell you how I am, and how you can help me.