Everyone says "Ask for help."
I shared my feelings about that yesterday. Here's what I posted on Facebook:
"It's not just about asking for help. Lots of people get help. Maybe their therapist isn't a good fit. Maybe they get tired of trying to find a good therapist. Maybe they go on meds but hate them and stop taking them. Maybe they even try different meds, but don't like the way they feel on the meds. Maybe they start feeling good on the meds and think they don't need them anymore. Maybe everyone around them does the best they can to help, but it's not enough. There's no simple answer."
I wrote a lot of that about myself, but I realized that even THAT isn't "helping." We all need more awareness about mental illness, and many of us live in denial that people around us are suffering. Even if we're not in denial, we don't know what to DO. What constitutes "help?" And how many of us keep this aspect of our lives under cover because we fear people's negative perceptions of us?
So today, I came up with something I can do to help, in my own small way, someone who might be suffering in silence.
I don't know what it's like to experience depression or suicidal ideation, so I am not going to try to talk about that.
But I do know what it feels like to experience extreme panic attacks and anxiety, to go through therapy, to go on meds, hate the meds, go off the meds because I'm feeling good, go on different meds because I'm out of control and totally losing it. No matter what the issue is, many of us go through the same routine trying to find a solution.
I know what it's like to try herbal remedies, supplements, exercise, dumping alcohol, caffeine and sugar - and having none of it work - and then feeling like I'm "not doing it right" because people clearly eradicate anxiety with these methods. Apparently.
I know what it feels like to be completely not in control of my mind and body and be almost completely nonfunctional because of it.
And I know what it's like not to tell anyone because I'm so worried about how people will see me after they "know" about me.
I wrote an e-book on my experience with panic attacks and I usually sell it on my site, but I'm going to make it free from now on. The last update was in 2012 and things have changed even since then, so it's not entirely my whole story. This is how it goes with mental health issues.
But it's one way I can help, by offering it here to those of you who have your own struggles with panic and anxiety, and maybe reading about my experience and my tools and lifestyle changes will help someone.
And please contact me if you ever want to talk.
Download Panic Sucks here.