Photographer & Mental Health Advocate
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Anxiety Awareness

Anxiety Fears

“If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days.”
Kris Carr

— www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/anxiety.html#f8k2FjucxCVlcw6l.99

There are many days where I wish I could just close my eyes and be somebody else, somebody who isn't forced to live with anxiety every second of their lives because it's hard to live in this world with judgmental and uneducated people. I remember when I was younger that I would hide because I was afraid that people would judge me. Sometimes even now thoughts like that linger in my mind. I want to tell you all that even though I am living with anxiety, I am doing the best that I can to live a normal life.

So how is it that I can deal with my anxious fears and still live as normal as possible? I wish I had an easy answer to that but I don't, I literally live one day at a time. Having that "one day at a time" mentality has been one of the hardest steps on my journey of overcoming my anxiety because I have always been fearful of the future and regretful of my past. 

I have normal fears, like others but my irrational ones are the ones that are hard to face and conquer. For example, I am terrified of elevators, I dislike the confined feeling and having "no way out" if something were to happen. But I try to understand why I am fearful, so I try and talk to myself. I'll explain to myself that having a fear of confinement is okay and that it is only this extreme because I have asthma and that I can relate to the feeling of suffocation because of my asthma. I try to remind myself that there is ventilation and that technology has come along way and if I were to get stuck, help would be on the way quickly. I get it, many of you must think it's silly to have a fear like that when there are far more worse things to worry about in the world, but I can assure you when you suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, everything becomes an "end of the world" situation. To make it easier for me, I try to surround myself with kind and caring people, people that I know understand and won't judge me and can help me if I were to have an anxiety attack. 

Having anxiety is one of the reasons why I am so cautious of people and it's sad because it stops me from opening up more to people. Having anxiety makes the world so much more lonely, but I fight on. I don't give up and I try to overcome as much as I can. I talk to others even when its uncomfortable and I always try to smile. Smiling heals inside and we all have the ability to heal others with our smiles.

Do I worry that having anxiety and writing about it will cause others, such as job opportunities to overlook me? Of course I do, I worry everyday that when I write about what I fear and my insecurities that people will use it against me or not give me the same opportunities as others. And then I think about that one person who is secretly living with some type of anxiety disorder, who is afraid to tell others and speak out about it. I think of them and how lonely they must feel and I write to them to let them know they are not alone. I was alone with my thoughts and fears far too long. I know how it feels to be alone and afraid of how others think of me, but I push that aside as best as I can because I know that if I don't speak up, nobody will.

People need education and understanding, they need to know as much as they can, how one feels and deals with anxiety disorder. One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million
Americans−experiences mental illness in a given
year
 Imagine that, one out of your four friends experience a mental illness. A mental illness they must be afraid to talk about because of the stigma around mental illness. This is why I speak, because I was that friend, I was the one who was so scared to express myself that it ate me alive. It made me feel different and isolated from the world. If me writing about my disorder can change the minds of a few, I'd gladly take that, because they then would teach others to be kinder and less judgmental to others and hopefully it would create a chain reaction of change. When you look into the eyes of someone who suffers from a disorder, you can see their hearts, their souls because they know all too well how it feels to be alone and afraid. 

When I feel afraid, I just think of the ones that I love, the ones that are rooting me on to do and be better. The ones who believe in me and know that I can overcome any of the obstacles my disorder brings. I also like to look up at the sky and remind myself that we are on a tiny blue dot in the universe. This amazing tiny blue dot we call home, it humbles me and comforts me in knowing that just because I have to deal with anxiety that I am no more important than any other person. I have accomplished so much already fighting through my fears and I know it will always be a struggle but with struggle comes strength. I am stronger than this, and so are those that suffer from these complicated and frightening disorders. I now know that I am never alone, we are never alone. Until then,

Xoxo, Jacklyn