Photographer & Mental Health Advocate
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Anxiety Awareness

Ataraxia

Ataraxia in Greek means "Robust Tranquility," a state of mind free of distress and worry. I got this tattoo one Sunday afternoon where I woke up with the urger to do something spontaneous and different from my very safe and orderly life. I wanted it to have meaning just as the other tattoos on my body have. Like the butterfly I got when I was 15 years old, to represent freedom, the tattoo on the side of my stomach that reads "always do what you fear the most," and my newest triquetra tattoo that I did with my best friends. This tattoo is a reminder to find peace within my mind, a mind filled with so much that at times can be a storm of thoughts and fears. 

 

But this isn't about the time I got my tattoo, it's about how to live with ataraxia. As of late, my mind seems to be growing weaker or at least I feel weaker. I haven't had an attack in quite some time, which now will probably happen since I brought it up, but that's a good thing I guess. That isn't to say I haven't had extreme bouts of worry that I'll have an attack so worry about having an attack makes an attack come, the irony of my life. 

I've been trying to figure out, what can I do to live with ataraxia, how can I calm the storm that rages within my mind and how can I continue seeing the beauty that this world has to offer. I stated before that having a mental illness is a never ending battle and I hold true to those words, but I know there must be a point where I can cease fire.

I've done the yoga, tried the meditation, did the eating better and even tried to find religion but nothing works. I'll be heading on new medication soon, a step that I really didn't wish to take but know I need. And I have to admit, I am a bit worried about this medication for two reasons. One I don't want people to judge me and belittle me because I needed help. A lot of anxiety sufferers get a negative associate once they are put on meds. For example, if you take medication and are seeing a therapist, when you are older you might not be allowed to get social security because the government doesn't think you are "capable and intelligent" enough. My doctor scared me because he told me that if he writes it off as such, it can ruin my life.  But why? Why should we have another difficult situation to deal with because the government doesn't think we're "model citizens"? Everything in America is totally fucked up for us and growing up seems a lot worse more than ever. The second reason has to be because of what reaction I might get while being on my new medication. I don't want to change who I am and I sure as hell don't want to get worse. I've heard an equal amount of horror stories and stories of peace, so I'm really hoping for the latter for me. 

And I know all of that last paragraph might seem so frightening and it truly is for me but there is something within me, something so much more powerful than I, that keeps me going, keeps me fighting to see the beauty. I don't know what it is, but I really don't want to lose it. Maybe that is the ataraxia I've been looking for, the little glimmer of hope that keeps me going another day.

 

Maybe I should stop trying to find ataraxia and just be. 

Until then, xoxo Jacklyn