My mental health has been up and down for over two decades.
I know what it’s like to have a severe social anxiety disorder and depression, I also know what it’s like to overcome that social anxiety disorder and live a relatively normal life. I know which signs to look out for when my mental health is going down the toilet again, so I can work on it and prevent it from getting too much to handle.
I understand my anxiety and depression like they are levels of a game that I have spent countless hours playing.
This doesn’t mean that things don’t get bad at times, it just means that I can typically recognise what’s happening when they do.
The last few years however, I have had to learn how to navigate both my mental health and chronic disease at the same time, after finally being diagnosed with endometriosis, an incurable condition that has now left me in severe pain 24/7 and requires surgeries and hormones to manage.
For a long time, my main method of keeping my social anxiety at bay was to challenge it on a regular basis in small ways. But, lately I have found this almost impossible to do because I find it difficult to walk when the pain is at its worst and I’m so fatigued from being in pain all day that I can barely leave the house.
The longer I go without leaving the house, the more anxious I get when I finally get to go out. The tiredness from my chronic illness makes my anxiety worse too and I find that anxiety is always heightened when you’re not at full capacity.
Depression also plays a strong role in this battle between my mental health and chronic disease.
Dark thoughts start to creep in and I tell myself that I’m worthless, that there isn’t much point to my existence and that I’ll never be able to live my life normally again. None of which are true but my mind takes me there anyway.
The nights where I can’t get comfortable enough to sleep because the pain is so severe, I desperately want someone to put me out of my misery.
I live for the days where I can see life a little brighter and when my mindset makes my pain a bit easier to manage. I hope some day I can figure out how to keep my mental health in good shape despite my chronic illness. If I figure that one out, I will let you know.
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