Saturday, August 27, 2016

Stop the Stigma / The Battle

Anxiety Level: Super High

"It's easy"
"You'll be fine"
"It's not that hard"
"Just do it"
These may be true to some people but not for me and others with anxiety disorders. It's different for everyone. Everyone has different triggers. My triggers are sometimes hard to identify. Sometimes I don't have a trigger. It's HARD to say "I don't know" when you're asked why you are having anxiety. I feel like I have to convince people that anxiety is real. If you are throwing up at work, you'll probably be sent home. When you're having an anxiety attack, which is so much worse, you have to suck it up. It sucks!! One of my friends passes out when she has panic attacks. I feel so bad for her obviously but it does make her anxiety appear more real. I read something about invisible illnesses a while back. Just because you can't see the illness doesn't make it not real. Most anxiety symptoms are not visible and that makes them not real to a lot of people. It needs to stop. How are we supposed to get better when we have to convince people that it's real? It's possible, but extremely difficult.
People will push us and tell us to get over it but they don't understand that they are making things much harder for us. In order to help your friend we need to stop the stigma and let mental disorders be seen as what they are, an illness. We have no more control over our anxiety than someone has over their cancer. Neither will get better without treatment. Telling a person with anxiety "you'll be fine"is like giving someone medical advice on an illness they know nothing about. Saying "It's easy" or "It's not that hard" is not understanding that they are experiencing something completely different than you are.

I have been going to work even though it's a battle to get out the door. Good for me right? I won the battle. Right? But what if winning the battles didn't help you win the war? Sometimes they don't...
For me there are 2 situations when I battle my anxiety triggers:

 1. Sometimes doing something is a really scary thought, but once you start doing it the anxiety lessens.

Example:  I recently had to return equipment to someone that I had started working for but quit because of my anxiety. I knew he'd be nice about it. He'd already been really understanding and said to let him know if I get my anxiety under control and I can start working again. Even though I knew this I was still freaked out and got terrible anxiety. After I pushed myself to answer my door and help him, my anxiety lessened. He was as nice as ever and it was all okay.

These battles help you win the war.
You begin to see that it isn't so bad, that there is hope and it gives you courage to keep fighting. 

2. You know something you have to do will give you anxiety, but you do it anyways and have terrible anxiety the whole time.

Example: I go to work even though I don't want to since I always get anxiety at work.. Depending on my specific duties that day and the people I'm working with, that anxiety will be worse or better, but it's still there. Once I get to work, my anxiety goes from bad to worse. The whole day is a bloody battle. Once I get home, I am relieved and think how I never want to do that again. The next time I have to go to work it becomes even harder to manage my anxiety. It's kind of like a conditioned response. I go to work, get anxiety, and in my mind work becomes anxiety. Then each time I go to work and get anxiety that idea gets reinforced. My anxiety gets worse and worse until I can't do it anymore.

These battles do not help you win the war. 
You may have beat your anxiety that day but if what you are doing makes your anxiety worse then you will reach a breaking point and lose.

These are my observations from having anxiety. Sometimes it's good to face your anxiety head on but sometimes it's counterproductive. Only the person with anxiety knows what that can probably handle and what they can't. Sometimes you have to take it piece by piece. My problem is I don't know what specific events cause anxiety at work. I know some people can help or hurt but I don't know what specific things make my anxiety worse. Don't push your loved one to do something they just can't do yet. There are things they can do. Try to help the figure out what they can handle and what their triggers are.
-Emily


Catching up/Reflecting

"I worked at a residential facility for people that have mental illnesses. I had many trainings and junk. I did a  training on Recovery Promoting Relationships and I absolutely loved the quotes from it.

“I can talk, but I may not be heard. I can make suggestions, but they may not be taken seriously. I can voice my thoughts, but they may be seen as delusions. I can recite experiences, but they may be interpreted as fantasies. To be a patient or even an ex-client is to be discounted.” (1988)

I have talked about mental illness stigmas before but it is so important to me."
-Emily (written in Oct or Nov 2015)

 It's been quite a while since I posted. I had a really hard time at that job because I wasn't all there when I started. Towards the end of working there I'd to have panic attacks about going to work almost every shift. I kept calling in sick because I couldn't handle it. I wasn't lying. I was absolutely sick, but people don't see mental illness as being sick. My supervisor was awful. I once showed up to be trained for meds and she was "on her break" I asked the other employee when she'd left and assumed she'd be back soon based on how long she'd already been gone. He told me not to wait around and that she'd be gone for a long time. He said she had some kind of dance class on Tuesdays or something. I'd done that kind of thing when I'd started, forgetting appointments that is.  I was supposed to show up for a special training shift and I'd forget. Looking back, I was much more effected by Kimber's death than I'd realized. During that time I was distracted and forgetful and overall kind of sad. I wasn't crying everyday and I didn't constantly think about it, but I was sad. I did eventually quit that job. I should've quit long before I did. I had been having a really hard day and my supervisor wanted someone to cover her shift. Now I had just had a doctors appointment after getting no sleep that night. (I think I had worked a night shift) I was exhausted. To make matters worse my car broke down on my way back from the doctors. I was able to get it towed to my mechanic. I told her this. I then received a text, that went out to everyone by the way, that said "Emily gave some story about no sleep and and unworking car.." Then: "obviously meant to go to someone else." I quit a couple days later, I couldn't do it anymore. 
I'm a great employee when my anxiety is under control. I am productive and hardworking. When my anxiety hits it all goes downhill. I become less reliable, am late to work, scatterbrained, and shaky. 
Other things that happen when I don't have my anxiety under control: my heart is always racing, I often starts hyperventilating, I am constantly on edge, I get physically tense, I can't concentrate, I get irritated easily, and I get a strong feeling something bad is about to happen. It's not easy to put into words. This is just my anxiety, not my panicking. Panic attacks are much much worse but happen less often. I've always heard that panic attacks last for no more than 10 minutes. This doesn't feel true to me. When it comes to some things I feel like my panic doesn't stop until I'm removed from the situation causing the panic. It may actually be 10 minutes but if it is, it feels so much longer. 

Anxiety Level Nov-Dec 2015: SO SO SO HIGH

-Emily 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tragedy in Cedar City

Anxiety Level: Medium

I first want to say that I do not have all of the facts. Here is what I know for sure:
1. She went missing that day. 
2. Someone found her car up Cedar Canyon. 
3. They found her dead. 

Here is what I've heard but that I cannot verify:
1. There was a note found in the car. 

Now I know I few things about her because I was her roommate but I will not go into detail. Privacy is very important. I don't know the facts surrounding her death but the stigma surronding suicide is still important to talk about. 

I do want to say a few things about Kimber though because she was an amazing human being. 

I did not know her very well but we got along great. She used to draw and she showed me a few of her sketches and I thought they were fantastic. She was witty and goofy, which was awesome. She moved into the house after her grandmother died. She used to tell me stories about her grandma and she always used her "grandma voice", it was funny. She was great to be around. I know that she was a musician too and though I only ever heard her online, she was really talented. Even though we didn't keep in touch after she moved out, I still wondered about her every once in a while. I sometimes asked my good friend Kali about her because they were cousins. I know that she is missed by so many, including me. She really was a wonderful person. I'm keeping her family in my prayers.

-Emily

P.S. Mental illness is not a joke. 



Saturday, October 3, 2015

New job, Fitness, and Comics

Stress level: Medium

The past couple of days have been stressful but I absolutely love my new job. It is SO awesome. That's where I am right now. I am on my break. I'm working with mentally ill people that are transitioning from being in the hospital to being on their own. I can't say much about the clients, obviously, so I'll leave it at that. 
I'm stressing about my brother finding a job because I cannot provide for him and myself, it just doesn't work. I'm desperately looking for a second job so that I can get along better. 
My coworkers are really cool. We are all pretty mature and can have awesome discussions without offending each other. Too many people get too intense about things so I'm glad I work with chill people. I've only met a few so far but I'm hoping that everyone else is just as cool. 

I read Ultimate Captain America and it was awesome once I was able to put myself in the mindset of the ultimate universe instead of the normal one. I'm probably going to read Marvel Zombies next or maybe Ultimate Avengers. 

So things are pretty good but I still have this underlying stress that is kind of like a weight on a subconscious level. Even when I'm not thinking about it, I can still feel it. I hope that makes sense. I pretty much always feel that way, but sometimes it's worse, like now. 

Last night I exercised and something weird happened... I liked it. How weird is that? Today I am excited to go home so that I can exercise more. It's like it can feel myself getting stronger. I'm doing a 30 day challenge on Wii Fit Active. It is just so cool. Maybe I just had to find the right kind of exercise. The thing with Wii Fit Active is that it tells you in detail what to do and it tells you if you are doing it wrong. I just love it. 
Anyways guys! I'm going to read comics now. I promise to update soon!

-Emily

Friday, September 25, 2015

Comic Con and an Accident

Anxiety Level: As high as Superman can fly. 

So these past two days have been comic con and its been amazing. It's soul crushing that I won't be able to see Chris Evans, also Hayley Atwell and Anthony Mackie. I wasn't able to afford any kind of photo op or autograph and I don't get to see the panel tomorrow. I feel like I had a lot of wasted excitement. It's still awesome that they all came though, it gives me hope for another chance someday. I DID get to see Sebastian Stan today though. I went to the Sean Astin panel and it was super awesome. Since Sebastian Stan was right after Sean I got a great seat to see him! I loved it. So much. I fan girled so hard, I definitely hyperventilated a little bit and I screamed my head off (at the appropriate moments of course). It was an AMAZING experience. I got to see my favorite twins ever yesterday too!! It was fantastic!!! There are really no words to describe my excitement and happiness during those panels and I was pretty hyped up afterwards too. I'm all hyped up now but in a different way and for a different reason. 
After Comic Con I witnessed something terrible. A trax accident with a car. It was terrifying. A Jeep ran a red light and as soon as I saw the trax coming I knew that it wasn't going to make it through the intersection. Sparks flew from the point where the front of the trax hit the back of the jeep. I watched as the rear of the car swing around clockwise from the impact, The car disappeared from sight as the train came to a stop. At first I was just shocked, if I could've see myself from the outside I would bet that my mouth was hanging wide open, it was like everything stopped and time had slowed. After the initial shock I was really worried and I immediately said that we needed to call 911. My phone was at 1% battery so I suggested, more like ordered, that my friend use his phone. He dialed quickly and handed the phone to my mom. I still called on my phone but hung up as soon as my mom got in contact. She was the first one to contact. We were stopped at the red light that the car had ran and I just stayed there. My mom had been driving and she hopped out to see if they were okay. She told me to get in the drivers seat while she checked it out. The UTA police were quick. One was there within a minute or two. Since we were on the opposite side of the Trax, I didn't know what was going on with the car, I wanted to run and see if I could help somehow but my mom had already done that. I really wanted to know if the people were okay. I had no idea what to do so I just stayed in that spot on the road for what felt like forever. Another police car came up eventually and told us to turn right and we went around to the other side of the Trax and I got my mom. She said that they were all ok and that there was a baby in the back seat but that the car seat was on the opposite side that was hit. I was so glad that everyone is okay but I'm still shaken up. 

Well that was my day. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Things Are Looking Up, Comic Con, and Depression

Anxiety Level: Medium

I finally have a place to live!! My family has been helping me out a lot. My dad told me a few days after my panic attacks post that he had a feeling that things would start looking up very soon. He was right. We secured the place I'm living at now, my grandma is selling me her Van (I will be making payments), I finally have health insurance, and I got a call for a job interview at a place I really wanted to work (mostly for experience).
This past week I've had the interview on Wednesday and today I got a call and they offered me the job. I immediately accepted. When they interviewed me I made sure 100% that they knew that I couldn't miss Salt Lake Comic Con. So I'm starting a week later than I would otherwise but it is so totally beyond worth it. I actually got a call for an interview at another place that would've started the Monday before Comic Con, they informed me that I could not miss any training and I told them that I needed the 24th-25th off but they said I couldn't do that and offered to start me later... Later as in November. I ain't about that business. I pretty much said okay whatever because there is no way in heaven, hell, purgatory, you name it, that I'm going to miss Comic Con (seeing as it's the highlight of my entire year). If things work out and I get to see all my beloved Captain America characters, win a photo op, and get to go to the Cap and Falcon panel, this Comic Con would be the highlight of my life, the whole 20 years that I have lived. I'm trying not to get my hopes up because I know it probably won't happen, but I still have a little possibility flame inside of me saying... "What if it did happen?"

As much as I'm looking forward to Salt Lake Comic Con, I have been feeling depression sneaking up on me. I feel like I have no purpose right now, I feel like I'm a burden to everyone around me. It's also terrible to not have a place to sit. I also still feel the sting of a fairly recent betrayal my a former close friend. It hurts when you trust someone so much and you think you know them but then they take advantage and lie to you. This makes me question everything about this person. Is everything about her fake? Did she really come here to try to be a better person like she says?... (Continued in RANT)

RANT: Last I checked stealing is worse than drinking. She said she's left her hometown so she won't be tempted to do certain things, drinking being near the top of the list, but what she did to me is so much worse so what's up with that? At least drinking mainly effects the person drinking. Whereas not giving someone their money back when they desperately need it so you can go on vacation can completely screw up someone's life. Never mind me needing to survive as long as you're enjoying your vacation. It really is SO irresponsible AND immature to spend money you don't have, especially on things you don't need to survive. I, myself have recently come to understand this on a deeper level. 

So thing whole factor with my ex friend has cause me so much anxiety and sadness! Sad about the betrayal, anxious about the homelessness/can barely afford to eat thing. I think another part of my depression is how useless I feel. Seriously a lot of times my anxiety makes me feel disabled. Thanks for reading. 
-Emily


Thursday, September 3, 2015

An anxiety attack is like... It's the worst!

Anxiety Level today: Very high

Today I started freaking out because I had no place to stay. I was going to try to leave religion out of the blog but I still wanna share this experience. 

A few days ago my bishop called me. He said that he had been thinking about me lately and wanted to know how I was doing and if there was anything I needed. I explained to him my tough situation but that I had a place to stay the next couple nights. He asked if there was anything I that he could do for me right then. I told him I was okay for the moment. He said if I ever needed anything at all to call him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He asked if he could call in a few days to check on me. I said that would be great. Today I had to leave my friends grandparents house because they were going out of town and they were going to have family coming in and out of their house. So we got up at like 7 and helped change the sheets and got all of our stuff. We were gone by 9. We went to the Library like we have been and I finished the first Princess Diaries book and I just barely finished the second. While at the library it was getting later and later and I was getting no where with trying to find a place to live. That is when I started freaking out. Here is a text conversation I had with my mom. 

This was me during my anxiety attack. I have a prescription that I only use when I have "significant anxiety flare ups" I can take up to 2 a day but no more than 5 in a week. It can be very addicting. I took it and like 20 minutes later I felt better. So I went back to reading then it got much later and I started freaking out again. The library was closing in less than an hour. I called my mom and I told her my fears she told me to call my bishop. I started freaking out just thinking about it. What if he says he can't do anything? What if he's busy? What if he doesn't want to help? What if he ignores my call? 
I know that some of these thoughts are irrational but I can't shake the feeling that something is going to go wrong. My mom eventually said she'd call him. I didn't want her to because what if he thinks I'm just a child that needs my mom to do things for me. I was against it at first but I knew that he needed to be called so I tried not to think while I sent my mom his number. He called me back and asked what he could do for me. I told him how I wasn't quite old enough to check into a hotel and asked if he knew of anywhere that I could stay. He asked if I had the cats because I had mentioned them a few days before. I said no and he said he'd call me back in a few minutes. Five minutes later he called and said to come to a specific hotel and that he got us a room. I was so grateful that I started crying. I was praying so hard that day that things would be okay and they were. I'm in the hotel room now. My little brother is reading my blog as I am typing this. He mentioned a typo here and there which I will probably be fixing. For the record, I only have one brother. He is awesome. I really wanna read the Captain America civil war comics, not because of the movie, but because it's what comes next in the Vol 5 that I'm reading. I tried ordering the graphic novel on Amazon a while back but it was out of stock. I guess I'll half to wait. Cap makes me so happy I love him so much and I also love Chris Evans. I really hope I can meet him. Hi Adam! That's all folks!

-Emily