Anxiety can be incredibly exhausting. Anxiety can us down physically and emotionally. One reason anxiety is so taxing is that, once in our mind, it takes almost complete control. Fears and worries grow and they stick. It’s a vicious cycle: anxiety makes us worry, and the more we worry, the bigger anxiety grows, and the bigger it grows, the more we worry. However, even when anxiety grows so large it threatens to consume us, there is a way to shrink it back. Keep reading
Lately, I have found myself with some extra free time on my hands. Which isn’t a bad thing, except for the fact that when I have free time I tend to ruminate, and when I tend to ruminate, depressive thoughts and symptoms often come up. This left me searching out new ways to deal with my depression symptoms and discovering writing as an outlet.
A diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or having panic attacks doesn’t automatically mean there will be a co-occurring diagnosis of depression. However, many people with an anxiety diagnosis do suffer from clinical depression, even if only from time-to-time. In my case, I have both bipolar and anxiety disorders. Like many others, I have found that serious anxiety can lead to depression.
On a warm October day, I hurried to to class, maneuvering around groups of slower-moving students. I checked my phone – fifteen minutes before class started, enough time to pop into the mini mart and buy some iced tea or soda. Approaching the entrance, I smelled the faint scent of fresh cigarette smoke from a passerby. Then my eyes caught the posters featuring cigarette brands on the mini mart door. All of the sudden, pleasurable memories wafted over me. I could feel the cigarette between my fingers and taste the hot smoke. I was experiencing a smoking craving.
My trauma happened in childhood and completely severed me from any healthy sense of self. Later, one of my biggest problems in recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was this: I felt completely disconnected from who I had been before my trauma and who I had never had the chance to be because of my trauma. I grieved that lost girl and the woman she might have become. In fact, the grief I experienced was so vivid it felt like a jab in my soul. I resented that trauma had taken from me so many opportunities at the same time that it turned me into someone I neither liked nor completely understood. Keep reading
I hear voices. They’re different than the voices of a psychotic disorder. A person living with schizophrenia, for example, can physically hear voices as if they were real. There is a sound to them in the brain. There are other ways to hear voices that do not involve psychosis. I happen to have a voice in my head, and it speaks to me loudly and clearly. The voice, in my case, belongs to anxiety, and it never seems to shut up. Keep reading
My name is Gabe Howard and I have bipolar and anxiety disorders. As a public speaker and writer using my lived experience with mental illness, I say that sentence often. Some version of that is on my business card and website and it is how I start most of my speeches. But, is that my identity? Is a set of diagnoses really who I am?