Smiling through the pain

Processed with VSCO with acg preset
Processed with VSCO with acg preset

Anxiety is a weird thing to talk about for me. If you asked me five years ago what I thought about anxiety, I probably would’ve told you it’s a myth or it’s not really a serious thing. I was in denial when I first realized something wasn’t right with how I was acting. A few years ago I began feeling extremely uncomfortable in social settings. It started off minor; I’d get hot flashes at a party or I’d have to have a pep talk with a friend before stepping into a get together. That was never really my style…KB was always the life of the party. I was always smiling and laughing. I lived to talk to people and get to know as many people as I could. I loved it when people paid attention to me and I loved being the one everyone was excited to see – I know, conceited isn’t it? Maybe that’s why it all took a turn. I was living on a high that was unrealistic and unsustainable. I started going out less, slowly at first. I would say “Oh I can’t come, my parents won’t let me” or “I have an appointment, rain check?” I didn’t really know why I was cancelling all of these plans or trying to steer away from my friends and I really didn’t pay attention to it for a long while…which was a huge mistake. All of this anxiety that I was experiencing started to build up until a certain incident impacted me so much that I completely shut off.

I was bed ridden. I wouldn’t leave my condo. I would lock my door and stay in bed for up to 18 hours a day. I wouldn’t even go out to buy groceries; I had just about every food ordering app available in my town just so that the furthest I would have to go to interact with someone would be my lobby door (morbid, but funny). My friends knew me at the time to not like going out to parties, but at this point my anxiety wasn’t just about not wanting to go to a party. It was much more than that.

Many of my friends didn’t understand what was going on with me. They’d try to say “Just go outside for some fresh air, that’s all you need!!” or “God, you’re so flakey lately”. What they didn’t know is that I was saying the same things to myself in my head, but those things just can’t fix the bigger issue; that I was mentally ill. I can’t speak negatively in regards to the ignorance of my friends because I was just as ignorant until I faced this terrible illness first hand. I genuinely was unable to function as a ‘normal’ human being, I stayed inside for about three months and went outside maybe 15 times max within that time period.

One morning, I looked at myself in the mirror. My skin was grey from the lack of sun exposure, my eye sockets hollow, and my always-there smile was nowhere to be found. This wasn’t the KB I wanted to be. I made a call to my psychiatrist and went in to see her a little under a week later. The first thing I said to her as I sat down in her office was, “Dr. S., I want to smile again.” She put me on a regimen that slowly but surely began to help me get back to where I wanted to be. I suddenly felt like I could breathe again.

I began to feel like myself again. A more refined, less moody version of myself, nevertheless I felt like KB. Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days, just like everyone else, but the good usually outweighs the bad these days. I find serenity in blogging and doing my makeup and just talking to the people in my life that I love. I don’t feel the need to lock myself away from the world.

Serious topics like mental illness are really hard to speak about, but I find that writing about it is much easier and helps me to come to terms with what I have and continue to experience. I don’t like speaking about my own mental health issues because I feel like people will pity me for my downfalls. I don’t want anyone’s pity, so my goal while writing this is to educate people on how a small problem can turn into a huge issue and it might help others to recognize how their own or their friend’s behaviour might be an indication to a larger issue. Mental illness is real, and I’m glad to see that people are more willing to recognize that fact. I let myself sink deeper and deeper into a hole that didn’t need to get that deep, because there were people around me who cared about me and wanted to help. I let a piece of me rot in my bedroom for three months, when I could’ve gotten help sooner. Please don’t do what I did. I can say that I am a stronger person from that experience, however I don’t even wish that experience upon my worst enemies. There are so many people silently struggling with inner demons and it hurts me to know that many people have it even worse than I did! It can really happen to anyone; it happened to me. I was a seemingly happy teenager who had a downfall just like so many others. Even if I can help one person by writing about my own experiences, it’s worth it to me to share them.

It takes a certain kind of darkness for the stars to shine. And let me tell you, the stars are shining baby. They really are.

XO KB

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25 thoughts on “Smiling through the pain

  1. This has made me feel hopeful. I denied myself to come to terms with my anxiety until recently. It’s taken over my life. I never go out anymore, I even struggle to go to work because that’s when my anxiety is at its worst. I also suffered from lack of sun exposure too, to a point where I collapsed at work because my vitamin d was basically non existent which caused my bones to soften and my body to ache. I’m trying to get better but I don’t know where to start. It’s really overwhelming sometimes and I don’t know how to explain that to people so I just let it be. I hope I can take inspiration from your story and thank you for sharing it. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It makes me so happy to know that my post inspires you! I really do want you to know that it does get better. It sounds super corny and I was in your exact position not too long ago. Please seek professional help, whether that be through therapy or a psychiatrist. Stay strong love ๐Ÿ’›

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story. I really think it is through talking that more people will understand what mental illness is all about. I have anxiety, and can connect with some of the dark times in your life and like you, have found “serenity in blogging.” All the best! Thank always for supporting my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I related to every word in your post as I also suffer from anxiety. In my early 20s it was still there but so much easier to manage and I was able to go on living normally. I’m not sure why but as I got older it started to affect me so badly. It crippled me. I have OCD and I am an insane hypochondriac. Some days are better than others just like you said. The problem is that most people dismiss mental illness unless it’s something really big like schizophrenia or such and tell us to get over it if it’s OCD or bipolar. But what we deal with is a big deal and it is serious and unless you go through it you truly won’t ever know. We will never fully be anxiety free but finding an outlet that helps you manage it is half the battle. All the best to you girl! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally understand what you’re going through; I deal with anxiety and depression and at times it is really hard to deal with, especially if you’re trying to deal with it the best way possible without having friends knowing that you’re breaking down emotionally. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression since I was 16, and not until last year when I was 21 that I finally sought help from my doctor because I was afraid to tell my mom and friends about what I was dealing with because everyone viewed me as “perfect” or I don’t look like the type of person to deal with something like this because my life is amazing; which it is but it just goes to show that never judge a book by its cover because you’ll never know what a person may or may not be dealing with…. Such an inspiring post!! xx…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Coming from someone who battled depression and social anxiety….IT IS NOT EASY!!! But one thing I learned is you HAVE TO WANT to get better. YOU have to take the steps needed to get over your own inner battles. Stay strong and realize that we have great days, because we tell our self and truly believe that we are having a great day (same with depression). I have written about my “overcome” stories as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Know that you are NEVER alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing! I am a therapist and I work with so many beautiful women who share your experience but do not have the courage to speak about it! Kudos to you

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes girl! This is very important. I’m so happy that you’re doing better. It is hard to deal with and even harder for outsiders to understand. I have anxiety and it manifests itself in stomach issues among other things. I’ve managed to control mine on my own for the most part (with amazing understanding from my friends, boyfriend, and family), but it’s not a severe case (according to my dr.). It really is hard though! Thanks for sharing with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Please consider attending our Rally Against Pain on 10/22/16 @ the Ellipse (right across the street from the White House) in Washington DC from 10 am to 5 pm. Bring lawn chairs and snacks and enjoy an afternoon of powerful speakers, interaction with fellow pain warriors, and gain valuable information about the state of pain today and what we can do to make improvements.

    http://www.rallyagainstpain.com

    Like

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