Three years ago, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder during the darkest time of my life when I was in rehab for alcohol addiction. It was a difficult and painful realization, but also one that has saved me many times since then. Before being diagnosed with anxiety, I often felt as if there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t figure quite out. Fear of judgment over my situation kept me from opening up to friends. I was scared that if I revealed the racing thoughts going through my head they’d abandoned me. I learned later that my racing thoughts and fears of abandonment were mostly symptoms of my anxiety. But eventually, with the help of my family, I sought help. And I am so glad I did.
Ever since I was diagnosed with anxiety, I have learned so much about myself and my mental health disorder. I can’t remember a day since my diagnosis and that anxiety hasn’t been a part of my life in some way but, thanks to therapy and a variety of other things, I have learned to cope with it in a healthy way that no longer involves relying on alcohol for stress relief.
My anxiety turned out to be a mean biotch but I’ve also found strength in dealing with it. For anyone who suffers with the monster I want to say this: You are not alone. And for anyone who isn’t sure if you are anxious or not, here are 21 things that I have learned about anxiety since being diagnosed.