Photographer & Mental Health Advocate
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Anxiety Awareness

The after effects

March 7th 2017, was the first time I've ever talked in front of a crowd of people about my mental illness. The whole month of February was excruciating for me because I was in anxiety mode, nervous for the TEDx talk and wanting to make sure that I would give it my all. Now that it is over, yes I am elated that my talk was successful but I am left feeling exhausted, drained and blank. 

No one ever talks about the moments before and after, as if the moment an anxiety attack is happening, is what is more important. But I can assure the before, all of that worrying and anxiety of having to wait,  is just as painful. Physically it made me eat less, my body was so tight and I barely slept. It also lowered my sex drive drastically. Those thoughts took over my everyday life but I was still able to keep moving forward to try and block out the fear of the talk. 

Now the after, that the talk is over, physically my body feels like I have been tossed and turned in a washing machine. I'm extremely tired and sleeping more than I have in awhile, kinda like a bear still in hibernation mode. I don't want to talk to people that much because I feel so sensitive and my mind is blank. What I mean by blank is that I feel numb like I'm just living my life and everything is moving faster than I am and I can't keep up.  I'm so happy the talk is done and I spoke what I felt to be true and honest but that doesn't mean I am protected from my illness. It is still with me and will always be with me. 

I guess, I wanted to write this post to tell people that if you are ever feeling drained and blank after a strenuous situation, that it's okay and normal or as normal as one can get. I think I beat myself up so much because everyone is making me feel like I should be relieved after the talk and happy for doing it. I am all of that but happiness isn't always equated to what we are taught happiness can ONLY be.  I am happy but I am also tired and stressed and wanting to hide in my bed for a few weeks. I also notice that my immunity dropped and I feel like I'm sick (though I also would love to blame mother nature for her crazy antics) with a cold. 

I just wanted to say, yes I am happy, yes I feel relieved for being so courageous to stand up in front of so many strangers and talk about my mental illness. But please let me just take everything in slowly, let my process of getting back to normal take its time. I know if I rush myself back into my everyday life, I will fall into more anxiety and negative thoughts. I know what I need to do so please trust that I am happy and proud but these after effects need to leave my body too. 

Until then, xoxo

Jacklyn