Read “Anxious All Over” on Stigma Fighters

It’s always a little scary to write about my journey with mental illness. Stigma Fighters invited me to write a piece for them after reading my description of what anxiety feels like. I have long enjoyed Stigma Fighters and the work they do, so I was happy to put a piece together. I hope this resonates with some of you. A big part of ending stigma is discovering we are not alone.

I’m anxious all over. You can’t know me without seeing it. You don’t really need to know me to see it. I am told frequently to calm down. Strangers reassure me that “everything is okay.” And I know they mean well, but it hurts sometimes. I’ve been guilty of this myself—looking at a friend and telling them it’s not as bad as they think without knowing the full story.

That’s the meat right there: not knowing the full story. I write about surviving and work with survivors, and the common theme no matter our topic is that people assume they understand what we are going through when they are only seeing a fraction of what’s in our life at any given moment.

Continue reading on Stigma Fighters.


8 Discussion to this post

  1. wallaro1 says:

    This opens my eyes to the need to speak to this reality. Too much silence around all abuse exists and I recognize the exact experience you are speaking to when engaging with a child. I have ongoing flashbacks that happen in so many situations and am currently in therapy because I want not only the cycle of abuse to end but also, the general violence encouraged within my family. I am not a parent and at this point am grateful for that fact. I was recently telling my therapist that I want to find a way to speak about the entirety of my experience without being caught in the criticisms that victims only talk about it, victims live in the past…blah, blah, blah…my body responds way before the conscious thoughts begin and often, the thinking comes later. I react in ways that astonish me! I have worked hard for years doing meditation/mindfullness based practices to increase my awareness and devolop the ability to diffuse. For years, my own coping mechanisms were alcohol, drugs, and often, violence itself. It is habitual. It is addictive not because it brings pleasure in a typical sense but when you are shaped by it within your earliest history and it continues, it becomes a way of being. Thanks for this post. I have work to do.

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  2. To discuss another facet to the world of stigma, often those in certain religious communities are judged for their anxieties and told to “pray more, harder, or better”. I have also been told that my anxiety is a symptom of my weak faith in God…..

    The stigma of mental illness can be completely isolating and your words were captivating and rang true. Thank you so much 🙂

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    • YES! I was told that. I even told people that. It’s a horrible practice to assume faith has anything to do with trauma, our processing of it, or mental illness. I’m so sorry you have been isolated that way. Thank you for mentioning this here.

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      • No problem. Honestly, since my entire family struggles with various anxiety related illness; I knew that my disorder had nothing to do with a weakness in me. In fact, I try to use it as a testament to my strength. Despite my anxiety, I am brave. 🙂

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  3. Janice Wald says:

    Hi Shawna,
    I know Raphaela99. Small world. I came over to thank you for liking my Blog Critique page. No takers today, but at least there’s interest. Thanks for clicking my link and coming by.
    As far as your post, I have many people who blog about your niche who follow me. I have even started a link exchange, so people who blog about the same topics can find each other.
    I brought you the link. If you are interested, check it out. You will note, there are six blogs listed under “health,” many of these blog about mental health like you do.
    Thanks again for today’s visit.

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