You are not alone and you are okay

LoveI was 21 years old before someone finally told me what was “wrong” with me . . . . 17 years after my first panic attack. It was eye-opening. Finally, I had an explanation. Finally, someone could tell me that the constant worry, the constant fear, the constant desire to run away and abandon my own skin was not the way it was always going to be . . . . that help was possible.

It would be another 14 years before I’d find the right combination of medication. It happened last September (well, August is when I started taking them, but it takes a couple of weeks before you start to feel a difference). It was as if a veil had lifted. It was no longer a fight to get out of bed in the morning.

I still have my struggles . . . . and I’m still working toward “normal.”

Every few months I have to do this questionnaire thing with my therapist. It puts me on a depression and anxiety scale from not at all to severe. The last time I did it (about a month ago) was the first time I fell into “moderate anxiety” instead of “severe anxiety” . . . . I still laugh about it because if this is what “moderate anxiety” feels like, I can’t even imagine what it feels like to not have anxiety. I’m pretty comfortable at moderate . . . . though I think mild would be nice! (For those wondering, I moved from “moderate depression” to “mild depression” and am now at “borderline depression.”)

Sometimes it strikes me as incredibly bizarre how good I feel, how in my most stressful moments I feel like I used to on a daily basis.

But none of that means my fight is over. I still have difficulties around lots of people. I still avoid social situations whenever possible. I still avoid my triggers instead of working through them. I still can’t move past some early traumas and accept that they’re over. It’s hard work . . . . every day . . . . but it’s worth it. I’m worth it.

And you’re worth it too.

Earlier tonight, I stumbled onto the video below. I love Wil Wheaton for his advocacy of geekdom and his overall “don’t be a dick” mantra. I vaguely recall hearing that he deals with mental illness as well. The thoughts he expresses here hit home quite a bit. More importantly, he’s right . . . . you’re not alone.

Check out more videos, important resources, and other useful information at Project UROK.