Strong, brave, fierce. These are words that would describe me - from my family, my friends, my peers. These words empowered me. They also swallowed me whole.
I can still feel the tightness in my chest, the loss of breath, the constant worry that clouds my mind. Anxiety. For a long while, I avoided addressing those feelings. I thought asking for help made me weak, that I would let down all the people that thought I was this person I clearly wasn’t. I was an imposter. I was on overdrive trying to avoid the reality of my own self and feelings; but the panic attacks, the stress, and the tears were always there.
Speaking to a professional has allowed me to begin addressing my anxiety. Opening up to my family, friends, and peers is still a struggle but I have a more open and honest relationship with myself. Learning to understand my feelings is an important step in accepting them as they are - accepting myself. I spent so much energy trying to “be” those three words that I forgot to just be.
Taking care of your mental health is not weak. It is strong. It is brave. It is fierce.