Hi there my beautiful lovelies! Hope you guys are doing well and staying safe. Mental health has been at the forefront of today’s culture. Whether watching Simon Biles bravely stepping away from the Olympic friend to focus on her mental health or watching Michael Phelps or Prince Henry talking about their struggles with mental health, more people are talking about their struggles. How was it for me to live with mental health issues? Today you will hear my story growing up with anxiety.
The stigma of Mental Health
I have told you about growing up with ADHD. Besides that, I also had to fight a monster that I couldn’t see or control. It was my anxiety. I always felt that there was something wrong with me. I always had a knot in my heart and pressure on my chest like a shadow I could not shake. I couldn’t talk to anyone. Mental health problem is something you don’t talk about. There is a huge stigma about talking about mental health, especially in Southeast Asia. The stigma of mental health in those communities is real. I grew up hearing “it’s all in your head”. An extended family member who I now know had schizophrenia, was isolated and away from everyone else. No one took her seriously. She tried committing suicide. It was her plea for help that no one heard.
Growing Up With Anxiety
I was always anxious about everything. I didn’t like the person I was and felt like a small fish in the big ocean, getting crushed by the big waves and unable to swim. I was laughed at at school for being a scary cat. My anxiety made me susceptible to being bullied and shattered my self-esteem. I had separation anxiety (was called a big baby), social anxiety (called too shy), and very low self-esteem. I hated going to school or going out. No one heard my cry for help. Well, being a middle and high school in the 90s and early 2000s was no fun either. The pressure of school, to excel academically, dealing with teenage life was overwhelming. I still remember throwing up before school, not knowing what caused it but was always told it’s because I was too skinny.
In college, I went from the upper 90s to low 90s weight, with the pressure of the added load of college, and then 9/11. Having panic attacks became the norm in my college life. It was not until I started working, I learned the issue I was facing, the enemy within. I was introduced to mindfulness-based medication and I finally saw light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. I still have my ups and downs, but my support system is more aware and open to mental health, and that made all the difference.
My dear lovelies! I would love to hear about your struggles and triumph with mental health. I look forward to your wonderful feedback and stories.
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