Why I decided to share my anxiety disorder

Anyone who knows me knows that, when it comes to my panic and anxiety disorder, I'm not shy about talking about it. But it hasn't always been that way.

I've spent most of my life hiding this fact about myself. Then, one day, I realized -- what's the point? I've always wanted to help eliminate the stigma of mental illness...yet I was too ashamed to tell my own story. How could I help others accept their mental illness when I couldn't accept my own?

The reason I hid my disorder for so long is because I felt guilty about it. I had a good and comfortable life with parents who loved me and a group of close friends. I knew kids who actually had hard lives, so why was I feeling this way?

But that's the thing I've learned about mental illness. It's not logical. In my experience, mental illness is feeling all the physical symptoms of being sad or anxious without having a reason behind it. And that was so much more confusing than actually having a socially acceptable reason to feel that way. It made me feel like I was a weak person.

I decided to share my experiences with anxiety to show others that mental illness can happen to anyone, no matter what your life may be like. It's a disease you can't control and, for me, beating myself up for feeling that way only fed my anxiety. So I stopped beating myself up and decided to, instead, accept it as being a part of my life.

Like I wish I would've been told when I was younger and first coming to terms with my disorder, I'm telling you: If you're battling any kind of mental illness, it's not your fault. And, like any other disease, there is treatment available to help you get through it. There's a huge community of people to talk to who are going through the same thing. Like me. 

You are not alone. 

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