“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

The reason it’s so important to address mental health accessibility for youth, Kurdyak said, is that some of the most common mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, have their first onset between the ages of 16 and 30.

“So you really need early and prompt access when these illnesses develop to have better outcomes down the road. And any delay in treatment we know affects the individuals lives as a result,” he said.

~ CTV News — Young Canadians struggling to access mental health services: study

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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.

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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

You don’t see the strain in my eyes every time I have to talk to a stranger. You don’t see me crawling underneath my covers because I don’t want to step outside my door and interact with anyone. You don’t see me struggling to post on social media because I’m afraid of harming someone or being hated for my opinions. You don’t see me staring at your texts and Facebook messages for hours before giving up on finding the right response.

What It’s Like to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Social Anxiety Disorder – Ahmad Abojaradeh, Contributor, The Mighty

Yesterday was an extremely stressful day. So stressful that I actually couldn’t go to work today.

The Stress Came First…

Yesterday, I had a performance review (they’re only just starting to do this, so it was more of a random 9 month review than the usual 30 days or 3 months or whatever). I knew about it since last week, and even though I knew nothing bad was going to happen, I was still extremely anxious about it. This is something I have always struggled with. I always think I’m in trouble and when it’s work related I always think I’m going to get fired.

Obviously, that wasn’t the case. It went really well. As I expected, but I was still terrified and was spending a lot of time in the bathroom beforehand.

However, that was not the worst part of my day and is not the reason I had to stay home today.

…Then The Phobia

I’ve had a weird phobia for as long as I can remember. I have absolutely no idea what caused it. There’s nothing I can remember that may have caused it, except for the fact that my imagination is excellent and it causes me to visualize things a little too well, so even someone mentioning something that seems harmless, it can make me cringe because I get a very vivid image in my head.

I’ve always been kind of hesitant to call it a phobia too because of the fact I didn’t have a good reason for it and it’s not even like a specific thing that I’m afraid of happening, it’s more that like a concept that gives me the heebie jeebies. That’s not even a strong enough phrase to describe it.

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And I’m on to antidepressant number 4! Yes, four.

I’m probably a little too good at hiding my symptoms. Years of being made to feel like my feelings are irrational and overdramatic, or that I am way too sensitive have taught me to internalize everything.

Talking about it while I’m in the midst of is super uncomfortable. I don’t mind talking about it afterward the fact, because it’s in the past, but when I’m in it, I don’t know if I’ll get out, and that’s stressful on its own.

I know they say it gets better, but when you’re depression is chronic, rather than episodic, it’s a lot harder to believe.

It hasn’t been quite as bad as this time last year, but last year I had an emotionally traumatic event as a trigger. This time, everything is going excellent, which makes it far more difficult to deal with because there’s no logical reason for feeling like a worthless piece of shit.

This time last year, I was so overwhelmed with emotions and pain that I didn’t know how to deal. Now, it’s not like this:

  • lack of emotion, most of the time.
  • Inability to sleep, but not because I’m worrying about everything and it’s keeping me awake, more that I’m not drowsy when I should be, even though I’m physically exhausted and all o want to do is be curled up in bed.
  • Absolutely zero motivation to do anything, except to make sure no one notices, to I continue on as if everything is fine, waiting for it to go away.
  • Almost constant suicidal thoughts or wishing I was dead.

I feel lost in life. Like in just going through the motions. Simply existing, rather than actually living. I’ve felt like this before without a trigger, but that was before I understood what depression was, before I was diagnosed.

I talked to my doctor today because I’ve been on the same dosage of medication since January, and the fact I’m feeling this way indicates that it’s not helping as much as it should.

Because one of the meds I’m on had been making me tired, he decided it’s probably time to try something else.

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I started seeing a new counselor recently, because I was getting fed up with not feeling like I’ve made any progress. Even though I have made progress, it doesn’t really feel like it, especially because I’ve been battling frequent suicidal thoughts again.

For a while, it was down to where it might pop into my head in the form of a Pure-O (OCD) intrusive thought, maybe once or twice a week, but I could brush it off with the simplest, even unintentional, of distractions. However, over the past month or so, it has gradually returned to the point of, almost daily, obsession.

There wasn’t any one specific trigger, but maybe a few small things happening in a short time span. I started feeling worthless again. Like a failure at everything. A waste of space. I began to spend hours thinking about it — and trying not to think about, which makes you think about it even more. For the first time, I actually started to become afraid a may act upon my thoughts. It’s never gotten to the point where I actually thought I might act upon them before. It usually just remains frequent obsession, but my anxiety would take over and give me all sorts of reasons not to actually try. Maybe my anxiety is getting better…? That’s scary.

Since I first met my new counselor a few weeks ago, it’s gotten a little less frequent. Not that we’ve actually talked about it. We’re still in the getting to know each other phase. But I think there was something reassuring about the fact that someone new was legitimizing my struggles. I think things had just gotten a little stale, and I needed a refreshing perspective.

That’s not too say my suicidal thoughts and feelings of worthlessness are gone, but I’ve managed to have a few days of peace, at least in that regard. The anxiety and depression are still alive and kicking. The social thoughts are a whole other beast.

Taking about this when I’m still kind of in the midst of it is really difficult. I don’t tend to do that. It’s easier to talk about it after its passed. Partially because I just don’t have the energy. I think I’m also afraid of letting anyone see truly hope much pain I’m in while in in it. Especially when I don’t feel there’s any good reason for it. And that’s basically depression in a nutshell.

Anyway, the reason I am talking about this right now is because it’s relevant to something else I wanted to talk about.

So, part of how I ended up seeing this counselor was because at my last doctor’s appointment, he asked when I was next seeing my social worker (who is part of the mental health team at my doctor’s clinic) and I mentioned that he’d been making it about 6 weeks between appointments. He asked if I was OK with that and I finally said what I’d been procrastinating saying for a while. I wanted something more regular, because I feel like I’m not dealing with things that well. Whether it was with my social worker or someone else didn’t matter, although I was beginning to feel he wasn’t equipped to provide the insight I needed. So my doctor offered to refer me to some psychologists/therapists/etc. to get a new perspective.

A few days ago, I had my second appointment. He’s still on the big lists of questions to sort of figure out what we need to work on. I don’t remember what I said or what he had asked me, but while we were getting into the anxiety questions, he suddenly said, “I wonder if you might have ADD.”

He picked up his phone (apparently he only came prepared to cover anxiety and depression) and said we were going to do the short list of questions to see if we should do the longer, more detailed one.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve done a lot of reading about mental illnesses. In doing so, it helps me sort of understand my mind a little better. It also makes it hard not to self-diagnose. The good thing is, my anxiety kind of prevents me from actually believing my self-diagnoses, until someone else actually legitimizes it. My short also prevents me from specifically bringing it up.

I’d been wondering, for several months now, if I may have ADD but it has never come up before.

So, it was about 20 questions, and to get a result of maybe having ADD, you had to answer ‘yes’ or ‘sometimes’ to I think not than half of them. Not including my sometimes, I was already up to about 15 or 16. I think I only said no to 1 or 2.

It’s not an official diagnosis yet, but he said he’s not ready to rule it out.

He also said that if I do have ADD, it may actually be there main issue that my anxiety stems from, which would explain why my anxiety hasn’t really gotten better. By only treating one of the symptoms, you’re not actually solving the problem. So even if my anxiety gets better, or goes away completely, it will probably keep coming back. If the main problem is ADD, and we treat that, it could potentially solve everything else.

I thought it was quite interesting and makes a lot of sense. We’ll see how it goes when we get into the detailed, 70 question version of the ADD stuff.


Anxiety & ADD Tip

Fidget toys are incredible! I’ve tried a few because I have a lot of nervous energy, so I’m always fidgety, but now knowing I might also have ADD, it makes even more sense. For smaller, more subtle fidgeting, I love these and these! I had heard of these first though, but never knew where to buy then till a few weeks ago. This one is my favourite. I absolutely love them!