‘I woke up feeling as if I had a brick on my chest and couldn’t catch my breath.’: Anxiety warrior urges to normalize talking about mental health

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“Hello, my name is Emily, and I have anxiety.

Do I have your attention?

Good!

Can we please make it the norm to talk about our mental health?!

Mental health is health, and we should talk about it just like we do any other medical issue.

Just like you go to the doctor to talk to them about treatment for high blood pressure, it’s absolutely okay for you to ask for mental health treatment.

There should be no shame in talking about your struggles because, more than likely, a large percentage of your circle around you deal with similar things!

If someone says they have anxiety please don’t tell them to ‘calm down’ or ‘just stop worrying.’

If it were that easy, I would have just done that.

It’s not helpful.

It makes things worse.

It’s okay if you don’t know what someone is going through, but please for the love of everything, just validate their feelings and listen.

I’m not being emotional.

I’m not being ‘extra.’

I couldn’t fall asleep because my mind was racing and wouldn’t shut off.

I’m tired.

I woke up feeling as if I had a brick on my chest and couldn’t catch my breath.

I felt as I was going to snap if one more person asked me a question or needed anything.

I had a mile-long list of things to do but didn’t get it done because I couldn’t focus.

Or I did get the mile-long list of things done and didn’t take time for me, and I’m physically and mentally exhausted.

High-functioning anxiety doesn’t have to look like not being able to leave your house.

It can be constantly going and doing for other people and feeling the pressure of someone always needing something that you can feel your chest tightening from stress while you do dishes and make dinner, and feeling like you never have time for yourself.

You want to take the time, but you also need to have a clean and tidy house, or your anxiety increases even more.

Anxiety looks different for everyone.

We’ve all been through so much added stress over the last couple of years.

Pandemic stress is a real thing.

Add in major life changes all rolled into a few months, surgery, and taking care of a special needs kiddo with multiple weekly appointments; I’m tired.

Some days are great.

Some days are not.

You’ve got to find what works for you, and you have to take time for yourself each day.

Identify your triggers and work on creating a plan around those times of the day to help!

Self-care is so important!

The moral of the story: it’s okay to ask for help.

It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay no matter what profession you work in (or don’t work in).

Everyone needs help.

We all need a village.

If a therapist and doctor prescribing meds is part of that village, that’s okay!

We’re all fighting battles that nobody else typically knows about, so please be kind.

Check on your loved ones.

Just that simple text someone sent can literally be the one thread someone is holding onto.

If we post things on social media that seem lovely and wonderful, it’s because we’re trying to find the joy in each day and focusing on that and not the negative.

Remember always: you are smart.

You are strong.

You can do hard things.

Deep breaths.

You’ve got this!”

woman in a peach sweatshirt taking a selfie
Courtesy of Emily Crawford

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Emily Crawford. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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