Silent Seasons!

I guess if I had the influence that I now have, during the time when I first started experiencing my mental health problems, it would have been hard to suffer in silence. Maybe if I weren’t able to isolate myself and distance myself from life, I wouldn’t have had such an easy time putting on a front during the day as if everything were fine. I think it’s crazy how we work so hard to hide our flaws from people who are flawed themselves.

So let me be quite frank. Silent seasons are necessary in many season of life. A season of dealing with mental illness is not one. You need people around you who you can be loud with. People who aren’t judging you and who are willing to love and support you through this. There are many options when it comes to finding support in dealing with a mental illness. Family and friends, therapist and even support groups all come to mind when I think of my journey with mental illness and also my journey as a mental health therapist.

But, while it may be easy to find support, in my research and experience, I have found that one of the reasons why many find it so difficult to not allow their initial struggle with mental illness to become a silent season, is because many people don’t know how to talk about their mental illness. So, I went on a search to find ways in which people are educating others on talking about mental illness. I have complied a list of ways that I found via the internet along with my own ideas to help you feel more comfortable talking about your mental illness with the hope that you will use this list to no longer suffer in silence. not silent

  1. A Text Message to save face! Let’s face it. In the age of modern technology, it’s so much easier to start an important conversation via text. While this may not be the most effective way to go into great detail about your diagnosis, its a for sure good way to tell someone, “Hey, I’m dealing with some things and I need someone to talk to!”
  2. Never leave out the facts! People who care about you will worry about you if they know that you are dealing with things that may be beyond their level of comprehension. Always present with facts. How has your mental illness impacted your level of functioning? What kind of help have you sought? Has that help been effective? How can they support you? Be sure to ensure them that your mental illness is no isolated incident. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from mental illness. Many mental illnesses go untreated, but you are definitely taking the steps to make sure yours is regulated.
  3. Write a Letter! If you can’t find the strength to write it in a text or say it out loud, simply write a letter. gives this suggestion as a way to get the conversation going and I love it, because I often use letter writing as an intervention in helping some of my clients sort through feelings of past hurt and trauma in relation to depression and anxiety.

While these three very simple ways to get the conversation started about your mental illness are effective, they are definitely not the only ways to talk about it. Your mental illness presents a unique opportunity for your to not only gain support in dealing with you illness, but it also gives you a platform to raise awareness than can help others dealing with mental illness. My prayer for you, is that you find a way to not allow your mental illness to create ineffective silent seasons in your life. You need to be heard and you need to be supported. You are going through this, but it will not control your life, if you choose to not let it. This journey we are on is not an easy one. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real, the goal is to overcome every mental encounter.

It’s never the right time to say Goodbye!

It was literally driving me crazy. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even think straight. I was headed no where fast and I knew what I needed to do to free myself, but I couldn’t. I had grown accustomed to my dysfunction. In fact, I made my dysfunction, functional and accepted the horrible way I felt as my new norm.

I needed to be loved. I needed to feel accepted. I needed to feel the presence of another being, and if that meant going crazy in the process… there I was ready to be labeled crazy or whatever. The truth was that I didn’t understand how there could ever be good in goodbye. I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that the one thing I was holding on to, was the one thing that was impacting my mental illness in the worst of ways.

Letting go is often associated with loss of love and lack of caring, but what If I told you that sometimes, letting go takes love. What if I said that sometimes the best thing you can do to show you care is to say goodbye. It may sound crazy or maybe even selfish, but this was my reality. Saying goodbye and letting go was what I needed to do. It was the game changer I didn’t recognize was needed until it was forced upon me. I had to let go of things and people in my life that were not beneficial to my growth in God and me overcoming my depression and anxiety. Negativity had to go. Dysfunctional relationships had to go. Doubt had to go. Low self-esteem had to go. Insecurities had to go.

I was finally in a place where it mattered to me that I got better. I wanted to be whole. I wanted to be secure. I wanted to be free from what was controlling me. So… I learned that sometimes, there is good in goodbye.

Today, I charge you to do whatever you have to do to protect your mental. Say Goodbye to people who can’t and wont support you through this, there are too many of us out here willing to support you, for you to be begging people to stick around. Goodbye to things that hinder your growth, there are too many alternatives for you to be stuck. Your willingness to fight like hell to rid yourself of anything that is toxic to your wellbeing will be what takes your from just surviving to thriving in 2018.

While it never seems like the right time to say goodbye, trust me, now is definitely the time to say goodbye to things and people who can’t come along with you on your journey to better. I know it may hurt to think about, anxiety may peak a little as mine did, but on the other side of goodbye, there really is some good. Your can’t become better, holding on to things and people who make you worse. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real, the goal is to overcome every mental encounter.

Lions & Tigers & Bears… Or Regular Stuff.

It seems like every time I pull up social media or turn on the news, there is something else to be disturbed by.  From the devastating hurricanes  of 2017 to the horrific shooting in Vegas, it seemed like we just couldn’t catch a break. I read an article about a man convicted of raping a 12 year old and after having served time in prison for the same and the rape of another child, years later is being granted joint custody of the child, he impregnated his victim with. Meanwhile, the rest of the world was mad about silent protest, paper towel throwing presidents, comments about women not knowing football, vice presidents walking out of football games, and Dove commercials.

The lions and tigers and bears of 2017 were everywhere and even if we would like to have ignored them, the truth is that we couldn’t because the things around us, play a vital role in our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

We could try to ignore the effects of recent events that may or may not have impacted us directly, but doing so would have only 1. hindered our ability to properly address areas in our lives where those things may have caused conflict and 2. hindered our ability to be empathetic towards those who may have been more greatly effected than we were.

Natural disasters, mass shootings and other events have the capacity to be traumatic for those who experience them because they can cause individuals to suffer from PTSD, paranoia, anxiety and can even lead to depression. The lack of proper support should be noted to be a risk factor that increases the likelihood of a person experiencing the prior. The financial devastation that can occur from unexpected events is also a risk factor that can increase the likelihood of developing a mental health concern in unexpected situations. If nothing else, these types of events simply hurt, and depending on who you are and what your connection is to the circumstance, sometimes they hurt like hell.

While different people respond to things differently, one thing that we should all acknowledge is that people have feelings. You do, I do and so do the people we encounter every day. To belittle the experiences of other is to be heartless, and well… who wants to be that kind of person.

2017 was just plain hard. I will even go as far as saying that as for the United States of America, if nothing about what happened in the world impacted your mental capacity to some degree, then I kind of wonder if you are even alive. 2017 brought tears, laughs, blank stares and more. It was one of those years that could make you question all of humanity and one of those years that at times may have had you wanting to just throw the whole year away.

So today, on New Years day and just incase 2018 is anything like what we experienced as a nation in 2017, I have decided to help you effectively navigate through the Lions & and Tigers & Bears… or regular stuff, of 2018 by giving you a few effective tips:

  1.  Remember, Even if you don’t… someone cares!!! For every life taken, every home lost, every false accusation etc., there is someone negatively effected, whether it be a family member who loves them or a friend who needs them… someone ALWAYS loses. Just because it’s not you, doesn’t mean you should be insensitive  about it. To you it may be nothing, but to others it may be everything.
  2. Words hurt and once they are put into the atmosphere, you can apologize for them, but you can never change what you said. Think before you speak.
  3. Petty is not cute. Trust me, I get it. Sometimes petty just makes you feel better. I’m guilty of it and you probably are too, but petty only makes things worse. I can’t count how many times my petty came back to hit me in the face simply because it did not solve the issue. Temporary gratification is not the key for future success (that alone will preach), but anyway… in 2018, lets do away with petty.
  4. Suffering in Silence does one notable thing: it keeps the issue hidden. As hard as it is to humble ourselves enough to admit we need help. 2018 is not the year to suffer in silence. There are people like myself, longing to help you through it, but we can’t help if we don’t know. Speak up in 2018.
  5. Lastly, The golden rule is still very golden. Treat other’s as you would like for them to treat you. It sounds so simple, yet it is apparently so hard for us to grasp. Lets not spend another entire year treating people like crap, wondering why good things keep skipping over us.

2018 can be a really good year if we make it a really good year. Trust me, I know the struggle is definitely sometimes real, but the goal is to overcome every mental encounter!

So I Creep!!

One of the things that I pride myself on as an Author/blogger, mental health professional and disciple of Jesus Christ is my devoted priority to living a transparent life so that others can know and see God’s work in and through my life.

In the same breath living a life with that level of transparency is not always the easiest thing to do. Especially with a diagnosis like anxiety, and having experienced battles with depression on multiple occasions. The very thing that I pride myself on doing, is the one thing that often makes my symptoms peak.

I learned a time ago that sometimes you have to be uncomfortable in order to make life a little better for others. It comes along with the territory of spending your life to serve others. While the benefits of living this type of lifestyle are priceless and the people you impact are totally worth it, there may come a time when you have to work extra hard to fight your personal feelings of insecurity and doubt. 

For me, prior to this blog, I would tell people all about my life, dysfunction, success and failures, often failing to mention that I have high functioning anxiety and that I had to fight like hell to overcome my depression. Not because those things weren’t impacting my life, but because mental health diagnosis are often seen as a sign of weakness and defeat, and I didn’t want to be seen as weak when my number one compliment from others was in regard to how strong of a woman I am.  

So there I was… creeping… keeping my diagnosis on the down low, hoping no one would ever know. 

The truth is… My anxiety was making me believe that if people knew they would leave me. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough and the depression only co-signed on the rejection letter I had to look at in the mirror every day.

My anxiety had me feeling like no one could ever LOVE me. Like I was hard to love. It had me wanting to give up on seeking things that I desire, like a healthy relationship, lasting friendships and overall happiness.

I didn’t want to live like that. So one day, I woke up and decided to change!! I couldn’t change my diagnosis but I could change my response to it. 

I had to strap my seatbelt and get ready for the journey of a lifetime. One that just may last my entire lifetime and well, I’m finally okay with that reality. 

The truth is that, mental health diagnosis don’t just go away over night. You don’t just wake up one day and no longer have to deal with them. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to overcome any diagnosis, and even with all the dedication in the world, some mental health diagnosis are not…  let’s say “fixable,” for a lack of a better word.

So I said all of that to say this… don’t be ashamed of your diagnosis. You have absolutely no reason to be. Your fight may be the very thing that encourages someone else to not give up. This world needs what you have to offer as a result of having to overcome and deal with something many people can’t even imagine. You are good enough. You are worth it. You are necessary and you do not have to creep!!! Be bold. Be loud. Be beautifully you!!!

Trust me. I get it. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real, the goal is to overcome every mental encounter!!

– Oddesty K. ❤


This is simply beautiful. Reblogging because a heart of this magnitude deserves to be heard on every platform.

The Renegade Press

A few days ago I suffered through a crisis of confidence while attempting to gain a better understanding of what direction I am trying to move in with my writing, and my life. During this crisis I managed to convince myself that I have nothing of value to offer a potential lover, and that I was destined to be the man who spends his life writing about love, without ever being fortunate enough to experience it for himself. Realising that I’d fallen into a creative and emotional lull, I decided to write down how I was feeling in a piece that I have since come to know as Dirt. 

I never intended to share the post with anyone. It was simply an opportunity to release some of the angst that has been building inside of me as I continue to work towards establishing myself and my voice within the literary…

View original post 1,106 more words

Daily Ways To Protect Your Mental!

If we are going to live in a world that encourages so much focus on self, we might as well learn to help ourselves navigate effectively in all aspects of life, right? The truth is that life has a way of knocking us all down at some point or another. There will be times when we feel great and times when well… not so much. I believe that Tauren Wells paints the perfect picture of what life is truly like in his hit song, Hills and Valleys. While doing so, he also paints a picture of what I believe is the perfect perspective to get through this thing called life. That perspective is that in life there will be ups and downs, and the same God that assists you in getting to the highs, is the same God who will comfort you through the lows.

Whether Christian or not,  I think there is something we can all get from the message of this song, and that is to trust and believe that you will overcome the “Hills and Valleys!” So, in case you are struggling to do that, here are some practical ways to protect your mental on a daily biases.


If you live your life as though you have total control over everything that happens to you, chances are, you will probably experience life a bit tougher than those of us who have come to realize that this life is so much bigger than us. At the end of the day, what you believe or not believe is crucial to you protecting your mental.

In an article posted to the American Psychological Association, Azar (2010) explains how as human beings, we have a natural tendency to seek order and avoid chaos. We search for meaning in life, if at no other time, in times of confusion or uncertainty.  In doing so,  our cognitions allow us to see the world as an intentional design that was created on purpose for a purpose.  Azar goes on to note that neurological research supports the idea that our brains are wired to believe, and that common traditions associated with believing in something bigger than you, such as prayer and meditation have the power to change the wiring of the brain to assist in emotion regulation and attention.

The point is, if the only thing you have to hold on to is yourself, you will have a hard time protecting your mental. Believe in something bigger than you, because doing so will allow you to focus on something other than you, during times when you are falling apart.


Image result for higher power


For me, A person who has built her life around helping others, one of the hardest things for me to do was to spend time on myself when there were so many other people who needed me. It wasn’t until I got to a point of total exhaustion that I realized that I can’t be superwoman for everyone, all the time. So at my breaking point, tears and all, I began to look for ways to take time doing the things I love and doing them for me, so that I could ultimately be better for those around me.

If you want to protect your mental, you must take time for yourself.  Do what you love and what makes you happy, regardless of what that looks like to others; you must take time for you.

Image result for reading in the park


In a world of wraps and get fit quick diets, the idea of exercise may seem a little less than appealing, however, one of the easiest ways to protect your mental is to establish a consistent workout life. In doing so, you give yourself a much needed boost in many aspects:

1.) Exercise enhances your  mood. Weir (2011) explains that research shows that exercise has both short-term and long term benefits when it comes to mental health. It has the capacity to enhance your mood after just 5mins of exercise and that it also helps to decrease the symptoms of long-term depression.  2.) Exercise helps to protect your physical health. In a nut shell, if you are physically healthy, you will have less stress and no added circumstances to increase the impact of any mental illnesses. 3.) Exercise helps to normalize sleep and increase serotonin.  Getting sleep is important to maintain good mental health because when you sleep your body and brain has the opportunity to restore and become fully functional for the next day. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that anti-depressants target to help people overcome depression.

So basically, just like you have been told many times before, exercise is still one of the best ways to protect your mental.


Of course the Therapist would be the one to recommend counseling, but seriously. Even before my calling led me to this career path, Counseling was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself. To have an unbiased, skilled professional help you through the challenges of life is not only beneficial, but it is often necessary. At the end of the day, we all need somebody, and pretending that you don’t will only place you in a position to be defeated and living with your mental unprotected. Even if therapy is not something you are able to do on a weekly basis (although this is the recommended consistency), find a therapeutic group counseling session to join. A simple google search on support/counseling groups in your local area can help you to locate the one that is best for you. Protect your mental by seeking help.

While there are many other ways to protect your mental, these are my personal favorites and the ones I most commonly recommend to those who reach out to me for help. Life can be tough, but you can be proactive in protecting your mental.  While the struggle is definitely sometimes real… your reality can be Healthy, Whole and Highly Functioning. The goal is to overcome every Mental Encounter.



Azar, B. (2010). A reason to believe. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from

Weir, K. (2011). The exercise effect. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from


Your strong friend needs your help!

The STRONG friend is the one who is resilient, tough and seemingly unbothered. The one who holds you together and everyone else too. The one who overcomes evil with love and turmoil with defeat. The one who has a heart that forgives and is always focused on the problems and issues of life, endured by those around them. The strong friend is the one who has the guts to stand their ground. The one Who loves and loves hard, and isn’t afraid of doing so again, after being hurt a time or two. The one who is quick to walk away from unhealthy situations and quick to speak up when it comes to injustice, unfair treatment or just plain out foolery. They don’t settle for less than they deserve and they do everything in their power to make sure you don’t either. The strong friend is the one we openly and sometimes secretly admire. The one we sometimes wish we could be more like. The one who carries the weight of the world on their back and without hesitation steps up to be the GOAT (Greatest of all times).

…But what happens when your strong friend burns out after months of emptying their cup to fill yours, and never being poured into or refilled? What happens when the strong friend becomes exhausted from being strong? What happens when the strong friend suffers in silence and develops a mental health issue as a result of being the strong friend?

Life is rough and everyone needs someone willing to and able to pour into them. Yes, even the strong friend. Unlike previous blogs, this blog is a call to action. This blog is a charge for you to, even if only for a moment, step outside of your small problematic world and actually care about your strong friend. Your strong friend is human too. At the end of the day, they go home and have to look themselves in the mirror and deal with life issues, insecurities and stress, just like you.  Here are some things you may or may not know about your strong friend.

  1. Your strong friend has been hurt more times than they can count, by people they loved and trusted the most. That hurt built their strength.
  2. Your strong friend is motivated by your dependence upon them. This may or may not be a healthy motivation.
  3. Your strong friend has days when they really just want someone to come along and tell them it’s okay to not be strong.
  4. Your strong friend has feelings too.
  5. Your strong friend masks a lot of their hurt and pain in order to be effective in helping you.
  6. Because your strong friend is seen as the strong friend, they do everything within their power to try and keep their cups filled and to help you from their overflow. Unfortunately, there is only so much self-care, a therapist and prayer can do, when we were created to be in relationship. (In a nutshell, your strong friend needs reciprocal relationships, starting with you)!
  7. Your strong friend often cries themselves to sleep, because they are tired of not having their own strong friend.

The point is, that we become so selfish in failing to realize that the very people who are there for us and seek to help us through, need us to help them too. Relationships and friendships should not be one sided. While your strong friend is suffering in silence, they cover it up by keeping the focus on you and your problems. So this is what you do…

  1. Pray for your strong friend – because they have become so used to suffering in silence, they may not be open to the level of vulnerability it takes to share their problems with someone else.
  2. Let your strong friend know that it’s okay to not always be strong and that you are there for them, to listen, talk or just be a presence during tough times.
  3. Encourage the people around you to also check on their strong friends, because in a world that encourages so much self-centeredness, its a large chance that you are not the only one who needs to do better by their strong friend.

Dealing with mental health issues is hard. Your strong friend may be dealing with some issues that you don’t even know about. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real… your reality and your strong friend’s reality can be Healthy, Whole and Highly Functioning. The goal is to overcome every Mental Encounter, and to help others do the same!


NAMI: When Support meets Knowledge!

A week ago today, I had the opportunity to attend my first of what I expect to be many NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) meetings. When I walked into what was easily recognized as such a warm atmosphere, I was immediately greeted by people just like me. People who were somehow impacted my mental health diagnosis and who were there not only to offer support and knowledge, but to gain knowledge about the ever so present phenomenon of mental health and what it’s like to live with a mental health diagnosis.

What I expected to be an hour of hearing things I already knew as a mental health professional, quickly turned into one of the most beautiful learning experiences I have encountered to date. Not that there was anything extraordinary about this meeting, but simply because of the hearts that filled the room. People who were years into the world of dealing mental health illness, as well as ones who were newly introduced to what will be a lengthy journey, were there to show more than anything else, that they care about themselves and others who live life with a mental health illness.

What stood out the most to me in this meeting is that regardless of what issue someone presented, there was someone else there whom they could connect with for support and information. The level of unity filled my heart as the weight of despair exited my brain. I was reminded of why I entered the field of Mental Health to begin with and for me, that was a game changer.

Oprah Winfrey once said, “I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware, and awakened. To answer the call.” A week ago today, NAMI reminded me of my purpose and of the reasons why I decided to answer the call to help people just like myself who have been diagnosed with mental health illnesses.

I waited a week to write about my NAMI experience because I wanted to be able to fully process the level of motivation I was left with after attending the meeting. What I can say and am willing to stand by is that if you are diagnosed with a mental health illness, have a loved one who is, or if you simply have a heart to make a difference in the world, joining your local NAMI group will be very beneficial to your journey in life. I recommend it. I support it, and I will continue to be a part of it.

Dealing with mental health issues are hard. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real… your reality can be Healthy, Whole and Highly Functioning.  The goal is to overcome any Mental Encounter!

10 Things Your Therapist Wishes You knew!!

If you have ever seen a therapist, then at some point or another the thought of what your therapist may be thinking about you or your circumstance, has probably crossed your mind. For me, I found myself in the mist of some individual counseling sessions, wondering if my clients knew the truth about my thoughts concerning them and their circumstances. I often wonder how much progress could be made, if only people knew the truth about my thinking process as a therapist. So I decided to put pen to paper and write out the top ten things I wish that all of my clients knew.

  1. I’m not judging you. 9 times out of 10.. as a therapist who has been around the way a time or two, I have heard and seen things far worst than what you are telling me. I’m here to help you. Not judge you.
  2. While its my job to assist, offer some guidance, be supportive and help you… it’s ultimately up to you do to the work to reach your goals. I can’t do it for you, but as you strive for your goals, I will surly be there to help you sort through challenges you encounter along the way.
  3. You are not a burden. I can’t even count the number of people who I come across, especially in the African American community, who shy away from counseling or don’t give the full story in sessions because they “don’t want to be a burden.” Listen, It’s my job to listen as you release all of the hurt, pain and challenges that have you in a state of uneasiness. YOU ARE NOT A BURDEN!!!!
  4. I help regular people overcome irregular circumstances. An irregular circumstance is anything that is causing you stress, dysfunction, or uneasiness.
  5. …and that leads me to number 5. Even when you think you have it all together, you can still benefit from counseling. God created us to be in relationship. He knew that at some point or another we would need the help of someone else. It is not possible to be successful without some form of help. The good thing about a therapist is that we operate from a none-biased standpoint that allows you to release what you want and receive help from someone who in no way benefits from your downfall.
  6. I want this for you more than you want this for yourself. Now this one is tricky because it sometimes plays out as both a blessing and a curse. It’s a dangerous thing for a therapist to want something for a client more than the client wants it themselves because being this invested can lead to burn out and or countertransference. However, when balanced correctly, this can be a beautiful blessing because it can allow the counselor to build a sense of rapport that motivates the client to accomplish their goals because they know that at the end of the day, if no one else is, their therapist is most definitely rooting for them.
  7. Feelings and Thoughts are the two things in life that I feel that we have the power to change. Regardless of what type of work we do in your session, or what theoretical framework is used, I can guarantee you that the big picture will always be to ultimately change your thoughts and feelings towards your situation. If you can change how you feel and change how you think, then trust me… you can change your life.
  8. I have problems too. I’m human, and being a Clinical Mental Health Therapist does not eliminate me from experiencing life. In fact, I just may have experienced the same thing that you are going through or something worst. If I was able to overcome or am in the process of overcoming, you can rest assured that my fight motivates me to help you fight through yours.
  9. You can decide how our time is spent. As your therapist, I am going to seek to move you in the direction of accomplishing your goals, but sometimes you may be having a rough week. We may need to take a step back from goal progression and focus on something you are going through in the moment, and guess what? That is perfectly okay!
  10. I witness pain daily and I still choose to help you! Being a therapist takes a lot of hard work, training, education, focus and commitment to daily self-care and healing. It’s a difficult occupation, but when I decided to do it, I did so with people just like you in mind. My passion is to help.

Regardless of how you may feel about a counseling experience, I can pretty much guarantee you that most therapist would agree with the above. We understand that life can be tough and our only intention is to help others overcome those tough challenges. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real… your reality can be Healthy, Whole and Highly Functioning.  The goal is to overcome any Mental Encounter!

Anxiety: When the struggle is real

Living with mental illness is tough. While many mental illnesses go undiagnosed and are not disabling, others have the capacity to impact our daily functioning and often determine how we manage our day to day activities. I find it pretty ironic that, myself, having a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, have a mental health diagnosis that I have struggled with for quite some time.

At first, it was a little embarrassing, although most people wouldn’t even know about it unless i told them. I guess it was more so the thought of needing help, while working to help others, that didn’t sit right with me. “How can I help someone else, when I often can’t help myself?”  I’ve since found common ground. The truth remains that it is always easier to give advice than it is to take our own advice, and well… even the most amazing rocket scientist will have some sort of hang up at some point in time. Human nature is flawed, but it’s our flaws that make us uniquely beautiful.

So here I am, on a mission to help regular people overcome irregular experiences;  all while combating my own irregular experience with anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorder, as the DSM-5 would categorize it.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting some 40 million adults age 18 and older; or 18% of the U.S. population. While everyone, at some point in time, experience some form of anxiety, an anxiety disorder has the ability to impact so many areas of life in a negative way. The good news is, there are solutions for anxiety. There are ways to minimize the impact of it and what better time than now, to share “My Truth” about anxiety and how I work to combat it daily, in hopes that it brings light to the phenomenon of anxiety disorders and brings awareness to how normalized a mental illness can be.

My Truth About Anxiety: how it impacts me and what I have learned from it

  • Anxiety is a real thing that often can’t be turned on and off like a light switch.
  • Having a high functioning anxiety disorder means, still being able to do life, but having life be very difficult to do, at times.
  • OVER has become a common word in how i describe myself. I OVER think, OVER analyze, OVER worry, OVER care, OVER love…you get the point.
  • People with anxiety disorders are not for everyone. I tend to not let many people close to me, because most people simply don’t get it, and well… that’s okay.
  • I can sit at home all day doing nothing and STILL be extremely exhausted at the end of the day, because sometimes… battling my thoughts is as tiring as running a marathon.
  • I’m often in a battle between what I know to be correct and true; and what I fear may happen.
  • Anxiety is typically the result of past trauma, failures, hurts and scars
  • Sometimes…, a lot of times, it doesn’t affect me at all.
  • Overachievers are among some of the most likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders… (wait… there is that OVER again).
  • My anxiety disorder has never impacted my ability to succeed academically.
  • My anxiety shows up most in romantic relationships (makes sense, given my history of heartbreak, headache and mistakes).
  • A combination of spiritual and physical fitness seems to help me combat my anxiety the most.
  • However, my anxiety sometimes has me feeling unmotivated to stay on top of spiritual and physical fitness.
  • I make a daily decision to not let it defeat me.
  • I’m learning to take life a day at a time.
  • You have to be willing to fight like hell to not let anxiety control your life.
  • I have learned to truly value the people in my life who are patient with me and love me despite my OVER.
  • A little extra love, attention, reassurance and support can be the difference between a full panic attack and a brief moment of high level anxiety…
  • It’s a thin line between okay and not okay.
  • There are lots of treatment models for anxiety: mindfulness, exercise, psychotherapy, and prayer are the ones I have found to be most effective.
  • There is a thin line between anxiety and depression.
  • Not ignoring how I feel helps me to stay on top of my mental health.
  • I seek people and connections who can handle my OVER… those who can’t… are simply not my people.

Living with an anxiety disorder is definitely not the most disabling mental health condition a person can have. It’s usually not a cause for major concern, but it’s rough. We fight battles people will never see. We overcome obstacles people can’t even imagine.

Battles of the mind are some of the hardest battles to fight, because they come with little to no instruction and are often won by trial and error. At the end of the day,  the best thing that you can do for yourself when dealing with any mental illness is to pay attention to your body’s natural warning signs that tell you when it’s time to seek help. You don’t have to live every day in an uncomfortable or low functioning manner. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real… your reality can be Healthy, Whole and Highly Functioning.  The goal is to overcome any Mental Encounter!