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Reactive Anxiety Disorder – My Story

I think my recent facebook post said it best:

reactive anxiety disorder mental illness these are your days

Anyone who knows me knows that this is what I look like the majority of the time ~ smiling and laughing. I’ve got the laugh lines to prove it. But what nobody really knows is what’s behind it all.

The thing is, everybody has a story and I think it’s time to tell you mine.

I am naturally wired to be happy. To pick myself up and keep moving, and always with a genuine smile. But now things are a bit different and while I still smile and find happiness in my every day, there’s also an intense sadness behind it all. In a show I recently watched, a character explained that she felt like she was losing her mind every 20 minutes. That sounds just about right….like clockwork, where I can’t really ever quite escape the heaviness that looms.

I’ve made no secret recently that I’m in a difficult phase but the truth is, it’s actually been several years. And as a result of some things that have happened in this time and multiple discoveries this past year and a half, I am now trying to manage what has been described as Reactive Anxiety Disorder.

Reactive Anxiety Disorder, to make it easier, is similar to PTSD. I know the effects are different for everyone but what it means for me is that everything I do takes about 10 times the amount of effort and self talk it used to. Anything that requires some sort of commitment (except being a mom, thankfully) has become either impossible to commit to or something that requires heaps of self talk and build up to follow through. It means easily feeling overwhelmed if there are too many factors to consider. And all too often my motivation even for things I want to do, is nowhere to be found. I crave human interaction and connection but it also terrifies me….because I worry I’ll never truly be worth it or wanted. That fear and the depth of pain is debilitating. I have people I can rely on but I also feel terribly and paralyzingly alone. And every post I make (especially this one), every comment I leave and every message I send is for one specific purpose: to fight this infuriating darkness. Because my life is meant for more than this and I’m determined to make that happen.

I’ve been off work since the middle of June and despite the fact that I legitimately love my job, I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to go back in September.

For now, I’m finding the areas and people that make me happy and fill my soul. And I’m sharing my story because I truly believe that silence helps no one. I’ve had friends share their stories of struggle with PTSD, depression, anxiety and even a suicide plan. Now it’s my turn because I know I’m not the only one, which is both comforting and devastating.

This is long I know and if you’ve read this far, I am beyond grateful. 💗And if you need a friend, whatever the reason, please know I am here for you always. We’ve got this.

 

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