Struggling with mental illness…

If you live with a mental illness you will understand this blog post, but if you don’t maybe it can help you understand. Maybe I can help you understand how to help your spouse/friend/family when they are struggling. Even if it’s just one person. 

I have anxiety, depression, and a panic disorder/agoraphobia. My anxiety and depression has been a struggle since my Junior year of high school, 2012-2013. My “illness” was under control until about 4 months ago and now I’m going through the process with my psychiatrist to get back on track. 

My panic disorder has been such a hard thing to deal with the past few months. I can get about 5 panic attacks a day some days and some I will only get one. Panic attacks make me feel like my chest is tightening, they make me feel like I’m dying, my lungs get tight and my breathing speeds up. My heart beats like I’m having a heart attack. If I’m somewhere that I’m having a bad attack I have to get out of wherever I am. Sometimes the loud noises make my panic attacks worse than they even started out. I have to turn down the television some days and then it will slowly but surely slow down. 

If someone you know is having an anxiety attack or panic attack, some helpful tips I can give are to:

  • Get them some cold, preferably ice cold, water. It helps slow your fast heart beat. 
  • Get them a snack, their blood sugar could be low, a snack could help them tremendously. 
  • Take them into a quiet place. 
  • Do not smother them unless they ask for love/affection. Ask if they need anything but let them sit it through as they need. 
  • Remove them from loud situations or large crowds- it actually makes the situation worsen. 
  • Encourage deep breaths. In through your nose and out through your mouth. 
  • Be there for them.

If you are going through them yourself there are some tips I can give you:

  • Breathe deeply. 
  • Color. It may sound stupid but I love coloring when I’m anxious. It helps a ton, everything seems to fade away when I’m coloring. 
  • Sip cold water. 
  • Get yourself into a colder environment. 
  • Sit and relax, tell yourself “this isn’t going to kill me.” Or “this won’t last forever.” 
  • “This too shall pass.” Remind yourself of this. I have this as my lock screen on my phone to remind me when I’m struggling. 
  • Let whoever is with you know how they can help and let them know what is going on so they are informed. 
  • Try and distract yourself by doing something else. 

My senior year I decided to see a psychiatrist to help me with medication for my issues and I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I have helped myself a ton. I needed to do this for myself and my wellbeing. 

Don’t be afraid to get help. If you’re struggling or someone you know is struggling then I suggest reaching out for help, it can change your life. Hope this helps at least one person. 

If there’s anything that helps you and you have these issues, leave it in the comments below 🙂 

XOXO, 

Ashley 

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