“We need to talk.”

When I hear those words, a slew of anxious thoughts swirl around my brain and it can physically feel like I got the wind knocked out of me.

Your thoughts immediately turn worst case scenario. This can apply to any variation in any setting, of course.

I remember, a few months after starting my current job, I was asked to meet with two of my bosses, the original co-founders of the company. Part of the reason I was freaked out was that I don’t generally report directly to either of them. I have two people that are usually in between, the project manager and technical director, depending on what specifically I’m working on. So, naturally, I was convinced I was going to be fired. But I couldn’t figure out why.

My work was good and I always received great feedback (I still do, almost two years later, even though most of the time I don’t feel I deserve it). My first thought was that maybe I’d been doing things wrong that I was unaware of.

The most “logical” thing that came to mind had to do with the fact I was often needing to leave early because I was literally falling asleep at my desk every day. (Which btw, is completely not normal for me, ever and it stressed me out that it was happening because I couldn’t explain it.)

I see these conversations play out over and over and hopelessness creeps in as I prepare for the worst.

The worst part was, I was told about this meeting around 10am, but the meeting was not going to be until 9am the next day. That gave me about 23 hours to think of every possible thing I could be getting fired for. It was also going to be at the Tim Horton’s down the street because our office (which we’ve since moved out of and are going to be moving again in the next year) was ridiculously small and there was nowhere to really have a private conversation.

Many people may write this phrase off as a simple heads up to a future conversation, but as someone with anxiety, it feels like a death sentence.

To be honest, it’s easier to be told we need to talk immediately before the “talking” is to happen. Don’t give my anxiety time to stew and come up with ridiculous scenarios that are never going to happen.

Turns out, that my only “logical” explanation for the meeting is exactly what they wanted to talk to me about. Except they weren’t going to fire me for it. They were concerned about me. They wanted to make sure that I was okay and figure out if I needed a schedule change or something to make things easier for me. They were more concerned about me than how my issues were effecting the company.

In situations like this, being transparent is important. When I have an idea of what the situation is, it helps ease any anxiety.

I felt an immediate sense of relief that I wasn’t being fired, coupled with “holy shit these guys actually legitimately care about my well-being” and I burst into tears. I was glad I’d gotten there before them and chosen a table where I could sit facing away from most other customers, but if you’re familiar with the common Timmy’s store design, you know that also meant I was facing directly out a window to the parking lot, and even though I was beside the door, the foot path to the door required passing almost all the customers and the counter where all the staff was. So, not the most comfortable place to be having an anxiety attack and crying, especially in front of my employers.

It was a few months later when I finally made the connection that my antidepressants were causing my extreme, chronic state of exhaustion and sleepiness. My doctor and I made some adjustments that seems to help a lot (for a few more months before my brain and body decided to go a different way, but I’m not going to get into that story right now) and I was finally able to get through an entire week without dozing off at my desk.

The Most Daunting Phrase to Hear When You Have Anxiety

Awareness of mental illness on general is also important because I was very clearly struggling when I was a kid but I didn’t know. I didn’t have a clue what anxiety was and only knew depression from the glamourized way the media portrayed it. Whenever I tried to express my feelings, I was simply invalidated by my family. When I had unexplained physical symptoms, no one ever thought to consider anxiety. Instead I was left in agonizing pain for years without an explanation as to why. One doctor even had the nerve to tell my dad that it was all in my head. Looking back now, it was so incredibly obvious I had anxiety, but years of being invalidated let me unable to feel safe expressing my feelings and convincing myself that I was just being overdramatic or I sucked at handling life. I didn’t know that I was struggling with legitimate medical conditions that could be treated. I didn’t know I didn’t have to live like that.

What We Can’t Forget to Talk About When We Spread Suicide Awareness

This is so relatable!

“Sometimes I have what seems like a burst of anger and people think I have anger issues and that I’m being rude to people. I’m actually having anxiety and getting overwhelmed and it comes out as frustration and anger. I wish when it happened those close to me would take a minute to ask if I’m OK and what they can do for me instead of getting annoyed or saying I have anger issues. I hate that people think I’m rude to others when really, I just have anxiety.” — Sarah A.

~ The Mighty15 Secrets of ‘Rude’ People With Anxiety

Before I knew I had anxiety and depression, I had convinced myself that I had anger issues. I’ve you’ve read some of my earlier posts about how I ended up getting diagnosed, you’ll know that I realized something was legitimately wrong after hearing Wil Wheaton’s story on Aisha Tyler’s podcast. It felt like he was describing me. I’d forgotten this until just now, as I started writing this paragraph, but I had had the thought, on several occasions, to go to the doctor before hearing Wil’s story, but I was sure that I’d be told I just have anger issues and that I needed to suck it up and deal with it or that I needed to go to anger management. I think it was the moments where I found myself sobbing over the stupidest shit and being completely overwhelmed with everything in my life that made me think that, but then I’d remember all the anger I kept bottled up that was beginning to spill out at work when I was getting close to reaching my breaking point. I think that’s why hearing Wil describe his experience, at the exact moment I did, has such an impact on me. He explained how he was not “sad” but just always agitated and it was exactly how I was feeling right around that time, in addition to simply being completely overwhelmed. Once I found out I had anxiety and depression – and did some research to figure out exactly what that meant – it was like suddenly the lightbulb went on and everything in my entire life made complete sense.

I have heard from too many professionals to not use the word “bad,” or use harsh words or punishments; that is what I follow. Why? I know how much it destroys an already-fragile self-esteem to have someone call you these things.

I know when those words are used in reference to myself, I internalize them, add them to the negative tape on constant repeat in my mind…. oh, and before I forget the point behind this post?

“Aggressively do your homework. […] Do your research and you’ll gain a better understanding of what is happening and you’ll know what to expect.”

“Seek professional help sooner rather than later. Anxiety is treatable and there is no need for extended struggling. And there is nothing to be ashamed of. It is as real as physical illnesses, even though we can’t see any of them on the surface.”

“And almost lastly this: People with anxiety are thinkers. We’re over-thinkers, actually. It makes us creative and compassionate, sensitive and caring. As odd as it is to say, it makes us good people.”

What You Need to Know If Your Child Is Diagnosed With Anxiety

I don’t want to to be here.

I want it to end.

I don’t want to kill myself. I don’t really want to die. I just don’t want to exist.

I’m so sick of feeling like shit all the time. I hate feeling like a failure at life, like I’ve never accomplished anything.

Whenever I feel like I’m making progress, something happens that sets me back and feels like the world is crashing down around me.

Continue reading

I’ve said this before, but usually I find these types of articles too generalized or completely out of context, therefore they don’t make a lot of sense, especially to an outsider. But this one, as someone with social anxiety, I found to be very relatable. So, I wanted to share some quotes that I connected with, personally.

Bustle – 5 Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Social Anxiety

Many people who have social anxiety feel an immense amount of pressure to perform the “right” or “correct” way, even in a casual atmosphere like a holiday luncheon.

People who suffer from social anxiety often feel like they’re ultra-aware of everything going on around them, so it’s easy to feel overstimulated or overwhelmed.

For many people with social anxiety, there’s already a fear of being monitored and judged, so to have someone suggest that they need to smile more (or laugh more, or essentially be someone other than themselves) can feel like a nightmare coming true.

For people with social anxiety, it can feel like you’re never right. There’s an impulse to constantly question yourself and those around you, not because you doubt them, but because you want to make sure you heard them correctly. You want to make sure you remember each detail and get everything “right.”

I know I’m going to feel really guilty if I let #BellLetsTalk day go by without actually talking about my current state of mental health.

Last year, I had no problem being open about my experiences and where I was at because, this time last year, I was feeling pretty okay. I wasn’t great. I’m not really even sure what great feels like. Although, in comparison to whew I am now, I was pretty close to good, of not great.

That’s kind of a errors way to say it I guess, but this time last year, I was writing lots about how I watched feeling and it came pretty easily. Right now, in this particular moment, it is not easy. Not even a little bit.

Back in about May or June of 2016, something changed. It happened so gradually though that I didn’t realize it was happening until sometime in July. I kept thinking, oh, its just one of those down periods they always say happens, even after you’ve been on antidepressants for a whole. It’ll pass. I’d had days where that was totally the case and it always did pass. But this time it didn’t.

This time, there was no trigger. This time, nothing I did could bring me joy. This time, I find myself not having emotional reactions to anything. This time, I was legitimately scared that I really might try to kill myself because I didn’t feel like there was anything to live for. I was a failure at everything I touched. I began driving recklessly because I literally didn’t give a shit about my life anymore, and I secretly hoped singing bad would happen, but I couldn’t bring myself to cause it intentionally.

The peak hit in September, the night before World Suicide Prevention Day. I began actually believing there was no way out and I need to go to the hospital. But I still had trouble admitting it to myself, let alone to anyone else, to asking my parents took take care of my dog so I could check in to treatment somewhere was out of the question.

Thankfully I trust my doctor enough that I tried to get in to see him right away. I had to wait because he was on vacation. That was probably the first two weeks of my life, doing to get in to work and stay focused and pretend like nothing was wrong.

A few months and several medication changes later, I am feeling a lot better, but still not where I was this time last year. I’m still finding my emotions are very numbed out, but some of the things that normally bring me joy are beginning to feel good again. Not every day, but most days. Yesterday actually happened to be a pretty decent day. But today I feel like shit again. I’m not suicidal like I was s few months ago, but I still find myself wishing, sometimes, that I could just die so I wouldn’t have to deal with this anymore, but I’m thinking significantly less often about different ways to kill myself. So there’s that.

I still feel hopeless most days but not too the extreme that I had been.

My doctor and I are currently exploring the idea that I might had Attention Deficit Disorder. We bit 190% sure yet, but I’ve been taking s stimulant for over a week now and have experienced significant improvement in my choice function and my ability to stay focused at work. Only problem is, he started me of on a low dose, short acting drug that wears off after 5 hours. But if it helps, he’ll give me a longer lasting one.

Anyway, I’m literally falling asleep on my phone right now and sooner or later there’s going to be a bunch of randon characters across the screen and I don’t think I want that since this post is probably already horribly written because I’m struggling so hard to form my thoughts into different sentences, on top of dosing of every few seconds.

Maybe I’ll add to and edit this post later when I’m more awake. I guess that’s all for now.

What we already feel in the midst of an anxiety attack is a loss of control of our emotions, our thoughts, our being. Every word that wants to come out cyclones into a monstrous torrent of incoherent thoughts. Only a few words ring clear through that garbled mess, and for me, they’re not pretty. Dramatic, stupid, monster, b*itch. Those are the only words I can make out when an attack comes on me.

It is not an understatement for me to say in those moments when my mind shuts down and my emotions break loose that I genuinely feel like I’d rather die than for the person on the receiving end of this meltdown to see me like this.

The other element to my panic is imagining situations that aren’t real. I mean, that is usually what causes the outburst in the first place, am I right fellow anxious friends? For me it is an imagined situation where I have disappointed someone again, and I am getting ready to receive an onslaught of hateful speech from a loved one for how insignificant I am and how I just can’t get anything right. They don’t love me anymore so what the heck, just leave already.

I did not wake up asking the universe to flip on its axis and catapult an ocean of emotions down my throat. I too am trying to figure out how to understand what is happening.

So what do you say to your loved one with anxiety when they scream, “I can’t take this anymore!” A hug. The best thing you can do is hold them in a tight embrace and say, “Everything is going to be OK. I am here for you. We will get through this.” Because really, the reason all of this is happening is because your loved one is feeling immense pressure to measure up. Whether it be your standards or ones they have placed upon themselves (usually the latter), all they need to hear from you is that they do measure up, there is nothing to worry about, and things are going to be just fine.

Read the full article: The One Word Your Partner With Anxiety Doesn’t Need to Hear by Sarah Wallace, Contributor, on The Mighty


This is something I can definitely relate to.

Growing up, I had meltdowns exactly like this at least once a week. They were less frequent during the summer, but during the school year it happened all the time. Thankfully, it was usually only at home and my parents, usually my dad, were on the other side of it. Because at that time we didn’t know I had anxiety, it was usually made worse by my dad’s agitated, angry response to my irrational thought processes.

The good news is, now that I know this is caused by my anxiety and depression, I am usually able to feel when it’s coming and can work my way out of it. Sometimes it does still get the better of me, but most of the time I can take control of it.

Why me? Why do I not want to be around anyone? Why does everyone annoy me? Why does everyone sound so loud? Why am I so stressed all the time? Why don’t I have patience anymore? Why am I going through all this? Why do I feel alone? Just why? Why?

This article expresses it so well! It’s long and a little scattered, but it’s perfect because it’s exactly how it is.

I go online, see posts about depression and anxiety. Maybe the more I post and share, the more they will understand this illness and then I will not have to explain it.

I did this, for almost two years straight. When I hit my worst, I realized no one was reading or responding to anything I shared. So I stopped. I weren’t I whole months without a single post. The last one being on World Shocks Prevention Day, talking about suicide. One person noticed. One.

I shared one blog post I wrote, a months later.

After another month, and some serious struggles, I posted that I was in my wrist depressive episode ever. There likes/reactions on Facebook. One private message. One text message (from one of the three people who liked the post). That’s all. And those responses were all from people I expected some sort of interaction with. It makes me feel like no one cares.

I learned years ago to not rely on Facebook as a source of support. The problem is, 99% of the communication I get from my family members happens through Facebook. Not because I want it to, but because they rely on it. I hate Facebook! But I can’t get rid of it (also partly because I’m a web developer and I use the API at work).

I do not want to have this illness. I know I am loved. But I feel so alone. I know other people struggle like I do, but I feel I am the only one. I know it’s an illness, but I feel like I am just crazy and fucked up. I know people are aware of mental illness, but they really do not understand the struggle and day-to-day challenges of this illness. It is real.

A Look Into the Head of Someone With Depression and Anxiety By Alana Willis, Contributor, The Mighty

I really connected with this article, so I wanted to share it. You can read the full post here.

I want to hang on, so I play my role. Inside, I am suffocating. I need support but don’t know how to ask, so I’m hanging on the best I know how.

If you care about someone struggling with anxiety or depression, please reach out. Don’t expect them to make the move, even if you think you have made it abundantly clear that you’re available to them. They might believe their problems are a burden. They can become so consumed that they don’t think you care anymore, and don’t take it personally. Please reach out. Worst-case scenario, you appear too concerned or caring. Best-case scenario, you save a life.

~ When You Spend All Day Pretending to Be OK
By Audra Bothers, Contributor, The Mighty