In honor of World Mental Health Day I wanted to talk about my story, and for the first time, I’m truly opening up about battling the mean voices inside my head.
I was incredibly lucky to grow up in a really “normal” family. You know? The average mom & dad, a sibling, a dog, and then there was me! From an early age I noticed how my emotions and feelings were a little more intense than other people’s, I would worry and overthink so much, it was definitely not normal for a 11-13 year old. But I would NEVER speak up about it. Because I was always told “oh you worry too much, just like your Grandma” or “you’re just like your dad, always nervous”. So basically for me I was just categorized into this “over thinker” “worry too much” but you’re still totally fine. Unfortunately, where I grew up in Mexico is pretty old school and going to the psychologist was pretty much taboo. My entire teenage years I was so scared to bring up the fact that I wanted to visit a psychologist because feeling emotions THIS intense was making life difficult and I would really get into my own bag thoughts. All I wanted has to vent to someone who could help me.
And I kept living life just like that, worrying, overthinking, crying, etc. I would always have such strong emotions to the point where I was a very grumpy, angry girl… ask my friends! I was always in a bad mood and the smallest thing would trigger me and ruin my day. You have no idea how many times I wished I was normal. All I wanted with all my heart was to be a positive, happy girl, who could easily let go of things. Because that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do when you’re young! Fast forward to when I was 21 years old, my parents got divorced, and I’m not going to get too much into details but… let’s just say those were some pretty rough days. And looking back at it now, I can totally see this being the point where my Mental Health started going downhill from there. A few months after the divorce I moved out to Los Angeles. A big part of me was so excited to finally leave my small town and expand my wings. So the first month or so, I was so excited and incredibly happy, I thought that moving to LA finally fixed my “ugly personality”.
But then it all started to come back up, I fell into a “pre-depression” (it was not really depression but I was just really extremely sad and miserable). Because the reality of my new life finally hit me, I was living on my own, in a foreign country, with no mom, no dad, no best friends. I would call my mom every day after school crying (AT 21 YEARS OLD!) because I just could not deal with this new life. This lasted about 4 months. Until one day, a counselor approached me and ask how I was doing, that’s when I mentioned I was really considering moving back after the semester was done and he suggested going to the psychologist on-campus. ”A counselor?! I didn’t even know we had one! I would definitely love to go!” And so I did…
Long story short, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You have no idea how happy it made me to hear that my ‘ugly personality’ had a justification. In a way, this was such a relief for me… knowing that indeed, there is something going wrong with the chemicals in my brain and that completely explains why I act the way I do. And then, of course, my psychologist and I continued with weekly meetings, talking about life and helping me overcome everyday situations. Unfortunately there is no cure to anxiety, you just need to accept it and try to take it one day at a time. Catch yourself when your “anxiety brain” is acting up, and stop whatever it is that it’s doing.
College was not easy, every semester was getting harder and harder, I had multiple living situations that were challenging (maybe I’ll share some stories in the future). But I eventually graduated. And no longer had access to the psychologist on-campus. I haven’t seen a therapist since then, and lately I’ve been considering seeing one because I feel like the busier I get with blogging and my full time job, the more my anxiety gets triggered. I have not been very nice to myself lately and I’ve had several anxiety episodes. On the other side, I also feel like I need to learn to control it and live as best as I can because the truth is I can’t go to a psychologist for the rest of my life. Thankfully my anxiety is not to the level where I get panic attacks and need medicine, which is why it gives me a little bit of hope knowing that maybe, just maybe I’m able to overcome this on my own. But for now, I definitely need to get some help just to make up for 21 years of my life living with anxiety and now knowing how to control it from an early age.
My story might not be the most dramatic, or revolutionary. But I personally think it’s pretty damn sad that I grew up wishing I was different because I could not bare with my emotions and anxiety. So if there is something you should take from this is that you need to speak up. You need to approach your parents or of you’re al adult, you need to go out of your way and actually seek for professional help. The best advice that my therapist gave me was, if you’re every in a situation where you feel like you need to leave because your anxiety is peaking, do it. You should not care about if others are going to think that you are weird, or rude, because at the end of the day your mental health comes FIRST. And ever since then I spend more weekends at home than I do going out. Because that makes me feel safe.
So don’t be afraid to do things for YOU. As long as you’re respectful of others, and always do things from a place of integrity: you do you!
I’m not perfect, I am nowhere close to where I wish I was mentally, but I’m here. And for the same reason, I cannot stress enough how much I want to keep being honest with you. Stay transparent when it comes to my content because life is not perfect. Mental Health problems not only happen within people who have had tragic lives, it can also happen to someone with a perfect childhood, like me. It’s totally and completely OK to not be OK. And you’re are certainly not alone.
I’m incredibly lucky to have found a man that has been SO supportive in this journey and stays so patient with me and my anxious personality. So if you’re wondering… there IS someone out there for you that will see the ugliest parts of you and still love you. And even better, help you overcome them.
If any of you ever feels like you need to speak to someone, I’m here for you. Shoot me a DM via Instagram @anaxmolina, I really want to be here for you and help you the way I so-wished someone would’ve helped me.