Happy May! Since this month is National Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m reaching out to you all to see if any of you would be interested in sharing your mental health journey. Each week, I will be sharing a new unique story. So grab your glass gals! This first story is Sara Miller’s.
Sara Miller is a twenty-something blogger living in Denton, TX. She founded Sara Strives in December 2015 during her freshman year in college. These are her thoughts on her mental health journey.
When did you first get diagnosed and what were the reasons you started to seek treatment?
I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder during my freshman year of college. Treatment was sought because of numerous panic attacks and crippling social anxiety, both of which left me feeling beaten down and depressed. I was in a constant state of anxiety, constantly on edge, and it got to be a lot. My boyfriend at the time, now husband, was adamant that I seek help because it had just gotten to be so bad.
What kind of treatments have you used to deal with the diagnosis? Would you say they have been helpful?
I was put on medication immediately but also tried counseling through my school. Counseling was not a positive experience because I found they were not prepared to deal with ongoing issues, only temporary situations. The medication was helpful for a while, but ultimately I chose to go off of it a year and a half in due to side effects I experienced, and a lack of trust for my doctor. I am not opposed to trying counseling or medication again but have been doing great without it and focusing more on coping skills and self-care.
What effect does this mental illness have on your personal relationships?
Anxiety impacts personal relationships immensely. I find for me, it’s a lot of thinking that someone is upset with me when they aren’t.
What is something you wish people understood about mental health?
I wish people understood that struggling with mental health doesn’t necessarily make you fragile. I find that family and friends sometimes tip-toe around me because of knowing about my struggles with anxiety.
What is one thing you wish people would stop saying about mental health?
I wish people would stop using “anxiety” or “depression” as descriptions for temporary feelings of stress or sadness.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with a mental illness?
The best piece of advice I can give somebody struggling with mental health, in general, is to get to know yourself. Figure out what works for you. Not everything works the same way for everybody. For me, this meant going on medication first to be able to learn coping skills and self-care habits that help me handle my anxiety off of medication now.
Mental Health Awareness Month
I hope you enjoyed the first mental health story of the month! Be sure to check out Sara’s blog: Sara Strives for more lifestyle, self-care, and mental health content. You can also follow her on Instagram and Pinterest.
If you would like to share your story, please reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to continue to highlight others throughout the remainder of the month!
Rosé & Ruffles