Anxiety+Mental Health in the age of #BellLetsTalk

HelloHalima

I wrote this poem a couple years ago when I felt consumed by anxiety/depression. For me, it wasn’t about the quality of the poem but the outlet it provided me to feel calm again. An anxiety attack makes you feel out of control, elevates the beating of your heart- to create intense palpitations, makes you feel like you can’t breathe- preys on the deepest darkest thoughts you have and brings them to life. Although most of the sentiments in the poem below still ring true in my life, I feel better when I am able to cultivate work that communicates exactly how I am feeling. For Bell Let’s Talk this year, I wanted to post it as a reminder that it will always be apart of me but doesn’t have to consume me the way that it once did. While Bell Let’s Talk is a commercial- way for industries to feel like they are apart of the mental health initiatives, it is an amazing way for the conversation to begin for people who are not apart of it as of it. If you feel lost, hopeless, anxious, empty, low- try to talk to someone! As terrible advice as that might sound, sometimes getting it out and out from your head into words will alleviate some of the pressures that you feel. I know it does for me. Write it down- if you don’t want to talk to anyone- writing down how you feel is so incredibly cathartic. Therapy also is a really great tool to use, I used to shy away from the idea of telling a stranger all your problems- I used to think- why would they even care? That’s weird! The stigma is something that I once fed into- but I’ve since found it to be the best way to bring myself out of days of complete despair and get myself back to feeling like myself again. According to CAMH, 1 in 5 Canadians are struggling with mental illnesses right now, by the age of 40, 50% of us will have experienced it first hand. With statistics like that- it is heartbreaking for places and people to still value the idea of physical pain as more important than that of mental health. It is as debilitating, confusing and detrimental to our health as well.

There are immediate resources (listed below) if you need help, would like someone to talk too or want to understand mental health further:

1. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has a 24/7 Psychiatric Emergency Department at 250 College Street location.

2.Toronto Distress Centres (416) 408-4357 or 408-HELP

3.Assaulted Women’s Helpline 416-863-0511, Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511

4.Kids Help Phone at 1 800 668-6868

Live Chat: https://kidshelpphone.ca

5. WHAT’S UP! Walk In Clinic: http://www.whatsupwalkin.ca/service-providers/

@ashsgreen

an anxious soliloquy:

Anxiety won’t let me rest

Palpitations and waves of arithmetic sensations fill my chest,

It doesn’t change when I turn over in my bed,

scattered thoughts echoing in my brain, making me feel “insane”,

Chest feeling heavy, brain feeling dizzy,

It’s 4:11 am and I’m feeling weary…

Anxiety knows no time,

Responsibilities and duties do not matter when anxiety’s around,

I wonder if it will always be this way

Or whether it will consume me,

Because right now it feels like my anxiety is winning

And I’m always losing,

The worst part is when my depression comes out to play,

Anxiety’s first cousin- twice removed on any given day

It makes me feel hopeless, like this world wasn’t meant for me,

hopelessly searching for a remedy,

Therapy helps- sometimes at least

But when they team up- it feels like an all out war against me,

I try to explain how I feel to my loved ones,

Some tell me to pray, others gently tell me “get over it”,

It’s hard to explain how you are feeling when people do not understand you-

Comprehension completely removed,

It’s not their fault, I think to myself,

Maybe it’s me- maybe I just need help.

I know now that that’s not true,

Not everyone is meant to help you,

My anxiety will always be apart of me- but at least now I’ve found coping mechanisms that work for me,

Setting aside time for me- removing people from my life that always belittle and doubt me,

Writing out my feelings is a huge win for me,

Makes me remember what I am feeling so I can better deal with it,

Verbalizing your stresses and pains are cathartic and soothing

It’s unfathomable to think,

That physical health is valued and understood more than mental health

But as long as I keep vocalizing my truth, I’ll always be fine.

forgetfulness

HelloHalima

You are a stranger in my mind- roaming about with no substance of memory to hold you up.

Pedestals you once occupied- now torn down-

renovated into vacancies that will never be filled again.

Souls cascading into an ever flowing stream of

awkward encounters and empty relations.

The love- one that was once plentiful and felt by everyone now ice cold

frozen to the touch.

I don’t know whether I miss you or want to forget you completely

If I think about it hard enough,

my mind unlocks a memory a day/ like a twisted advent calendar.

Instead of sweet decadent chocolates-

I get mirages of pure happiness turned bitter by the sadness in my heart.

Your impact on my life- left like bootprints on freshly fallen snow,

But like all snow fall, more eventually trickle down from the sky

Covering up any and all comprehension of our ties.

It’s hard to think  of how far we’ve fallen,

from the highest peak of our Ivory towers,

Now splattered on the ground- run over on the asphalt- gone forever.

You’ve become a ghost in my heart, a spirit that I so badly wish to resurrect but how can I?

Familiarity replaced with resentment,

Resentment in cahoots with constant misunderstanding,

Isn’t it easier to lock away the cookie cutter ideals of starting over than to

endure moments of Deja Vu?

Who are you?

Inconsistency n Anxiety: What gives?

HelloHalima, Life

How easy is it to be consistent? In the hobbies you have, the books you *attempt* to read after someone recommends yet another “coming of age” novel to you, in the relationships you have or the dreams you try and pursue? Are you consistent? I can begin by saying, no I am not. Not as much as I wish I was. If you would like to see the opposite of consistency- take my blog for example. I post sporadically. Once in a blue moon, I will strike up the creative means to create content then I will save everything as a draft and publish it months later never. //

This is where my anxieties come out to play: Perhaps my inconsistencies are being overshadowed by my fear of inadequacy, perhaps I am just a lazy person through and through- perhaps the idea of writing and the idea of people reading my words scares me. Who knows? What I do seem to realize is that inconsistency *sometimes* allows for a newfound perspective to be gained from the challenges you are trying to tackle. To have a routine, a plan, a dream and work towards these goals at a set time and at a set pace everyday allows for consistency to flourish within your life.

In some cases, it is easier said than done… especially if you suffer from anxiety or self-doubt. In my case, I suffer from the former and it sometimes has a way of creeping into what I try to accomplish in my day to day life. I find myself doubting my craft, doubting what I am interested in, doubting my own abilities and this may sometimes call on an anxiety attack or two. It is easy to dream up a plan in your mind but the realities in life (or in some cases, your own mind) sometimes find a way to deter you from your goals. It is easy to just take your inconsistent behaviours and dismiss them by saying “I am lazy” or “I am not good enough” but then what do you really accomplish? You not only hinder your own path to greatness but you miss out on opportunities to really *try* to perfect your craft and work on yourself.

Is this starting to sound like you? Are you reminded of any inconsistencies in your own life? Think of it this way, what are you inconsistent about in your own personal life? Perhaps it is a friendship you once held dear, a romantic relationship, progress with school, a partnership, a dream or an aspiration in your own life. What happened to make you lose hope? What happened to make you lose touch with your desire to complete this *said* project, to work on those relationships and to push yourself each and everyday to accomplish your dreams? These are questions I ask myself whenever I find myself falling short or not accomplishing the dreams I aspire to have.

What happens when your anxiety tries to eat you up alive and you are paralyzed with self-doubt? The worst part of inconsistency and anxiety is that you are often your own worst enemy. (I will try to stay away from cliches and catchphrases that may make you roll your eyes but) this type of crippling and paralyzing fear is what usually stops people with anxiety from contemplating and going after some of their dreams. It becomes apparent as you feel like you are constantly battling yourself-

Inner dialogue: “Should I do this? Should I attempt that? WHAT IF I am not any good? WHAT IF I am judged for pursuing this dream? WHAT IF I fail?”

While many of us (with and without anxiety) feel this way, it is a special type of worry that often takes away from what we are able to achieve within ourselves. It feels like a tug of war- an inner battle that is often hard to break free from. Just when you think you are over whatever hump and whatever debilitating feeling that is preventing you from going after what you want to achieve, it slowly but surely creeps up on you. A feeling that you just cannot shake. All throughout University and (now post-grad), I have had to shake this feeling as it tried to get in the way of what I wanted to accomplish. The trick to beating this and trying to rise above this type of feeling and contemplating prevention is to follow these three steps by Ijeoma Umebinyuo (three routes to healing):

  1. You Must Let The Pain Visit: Breathe in and out. While the initial feeling of anxiety- that pressure in your chest, the worry in your head and the debilitating feeling of losing hope or losing yourself may feel deafening, if you breathe in and out, rub the fronts of your wrists in a circular motion and repeat whatever mantra (I am enough, This too shall pass, My current situation is not my final destination) makes you feel the most at ease over and over, you will feel calm and at ease for the next two steps.
  2. You Must Allow It To Teach You: Know that “this too shall pass”, whatever situation you are in, whatever situation you are trying to get to and whatever you are experiencing is not going to define or take away from who you are. If you feel stagnant- stuck at whatever position you are in within life, do not stray away from how hard you are working. Do not lose hope in the fact that your dreams and goals will be tangible and attainable. The anxiety you are feeling will also pass. By knowing that it will, you are one step closer to your future progress.
  3. You Must Not Allow It Overstay: Understand this feeling, embrace it, allow it to show you what steps you need to take for growth, redemption and rediscovering what passions you are interested in. If you find yourself inconsistent in any aspects and areas of your life, follow these three steps and make sure you do not dwell with this feeling of inconsistency in your life. While your anxiety may make you want to dwell, to linger with self-doubt and self-criticism, know that you will be able to move beyond this and move forward with your dreams by recognizing that everything will eventually be okay.

While these 3 steps are easier said than done, focusing on these steps have helped me move beyond any moments of stagnation in my life and move towards focusing on what I need to accomplish to achieve my dreams. Inconsistency and anxiety may always go hand in hand for me but I know that my dreams and goals are attainable if I just hold onto the fact that temporary inconsistencies and self-doubt will not be as tangible as putting forth my efforts to work hard to become who I have always dreamed of being.

If you have read this far, I sincerely hope these ideals and steps help you in any way shape or form in the progression and success of your life.

Xo,

Halima