"Why does reaching out terrify me?"

I've noticed sometimes when you try to explain anxiety or depression to someone, it feels as if they still don't get it. Their lack of understanding can be really frustrating for me, as someone who is living with a mental illness. The keyword being, ILLNESS. If what goes through my head was "logical" or "rational" then I wouldn't have anxiety and depression. Then it would make "sense" for people. 

I have no control over what things can set off or make my anxiety react. What I can manage though is the way I let it effect my mental state and try to avoid things that I know make me anxious. Sometimes, it is hard to avoid the things that can make me anxious. That's life, learning to manage anxiety and depression in a healthy way is a constant work in progress. When things come up for me, I choose to see the lesson in it and learn from my reactions. Yes, it is easier said than done and occasionally it may take me a while to work out the lesson. But what I know is, it is worth it. It helps me manage. 

Being the type of person I am, it is easier for me to help others, before I help myself or reach out. Reaching out, when I know people still don't understand what anxiety is, can be terrifying. Often so much so, that I won't even reach out to the people who I know for certain would be there for me. That is what anxiety can do to me. 

However, this week when things came up for me. I actually reached out. I know, it doesn't sound like much to some. For me this was huge. This was 3 years of trying and re-training my brain, to ask for help instead of shutting down or avoiding it. This time I did it. My inner ninja has been working over time. 

The fact that I reached out showed me, that I can re-train how my brain reacts to certain things. Slowly I will get there and slowly it will become my first point of call. Nourishing and nurturing my inner ninja is a full time, 7 day a week, 24 hours a day, rest of my life type of investment. 

I am ready. 

Live, breathe, embrace. 

Stefani  

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Tenille Westerhout