How I've Learned To Accept My Anxiety

It's not easy to accept the fact that you may have a mental illness, and not everyone is open and as accepting as others. There are people who have a mental illness that are very open to talking and discussing their mental illness with others, but there are many individuals (such as myself) that cannot talk about it, or have a very hard time being able to talk about it. This is my story of how I have began to accept my mental illness.

               For years I've heard friends, family, and people who barely know me make comments on my anxiety. However, I never chose to accept the fact that I may actually have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It wasn't until one of my closest friends started to notice how it was affecting me and started convincing me to get help. The final push was my first anxiety attack and I knew that I couldn't just ignore this anymore.  My first step was going to see my doctor, who officially diagnosed me with GAD . She gave me many options to cope with it and that is when I got put on medication. Many people are against medication, but I have found that it has helped me to be able to deal with my illness while working with other treatments.

               Even though this was the first step of me accepting, it was not the final. I had recognized that yes, I had a mental illness and I had decided to get medication for it. However, I only told a select group of friends and it took me a while to tell my sister about it. I worried what people would think and how they would react to it, but I did not encounter one bad reaction. I did have people tell me that I didn't need medication, however that is their thoughts and not mine.

               It wasn't until a few month later when I started counseling. I was trying to convince myself that I didn't need counseling, that medication would fix it all by itself, but it did not. I started seeing a counselor at family services. She helped me a lot. She gave me different methods to cope with my anxiety and talked me through numerous causes of my anxiety. This in itself helped me accept that this was okay; I had an illness and I was dealing with it. I could do this and this was okay.

               Then there was the fact of telling my parents. I did not tell either of my parents directly. My sister told my dad that I was on anxiety medication. After that we had talked about it and he was okay with it as well. My mom found out a different way. I had to go to the hospital one day after I fell off my horse and got a concussion. My mom met me at the hospital and then found out there that I had anxiety and was on medication. At first, she was hurt that I didn't tell her, but it wasn't about her, it was about the fact that I wasn't yet comfortable with the fact.

               I was worried how all of these people, my friends and my family, would react. I wasn't sure if they would accept it. But after I came to terms with it, it seemed almost easy to talk about. Everyone was very supportive and I have not encountered a single bad reaction. I'm still not completely comfortable talking about this subject, but I am much more accepting of myself and my illness than I was a year ago.

               It's okay to be afraid, but just know, if you're suffering from a mental illness, there are people who support you. It's not your fault and it's okay to talk about. It's okay to admit that you're not okay.