Mental Health

Fighting Anxiety and PTSD

It’s 2:43 am and I am awake, again. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. I have had countless of sleepless nights in the last 4 years. Believe me when I say that I don’t stay awake out of pleasure or because I am being productive. The problem lies in my mental health; the problem is my depression, anxiety and PTSD.

I have been fighting anxiety for 4 years now, but PTSD came to my life exactly 5 months ago. Anxiety certainly affects me however, it’s the PTSD that deteriorates my life significantly.  The trauma that generated my PTSD is something that I am still healing from. Therefore, I will not be talking about it today but I hope one that I will be able to; one day I will be healed.

Nonetheless, I will certainly share how PTSD and anxiety affect my nights, and create this “battle” between my accelerated and overwhelming mind, and my exhausted body.

 

Anxiety

This is an interesting one. I often confuse it with just being “stressed”. I wish it was just stress. It is a LOT more than that. My anxiety increases my heart rate, even though I am simply sitting down. My anxiety comes with a constant worry, overwhelming thoughts and panic attacks. I obsess thinking about what happened during the day (repeating conversations or actions over and over in my head until I find something I did wrong). I obsess thinking about the future; all the possible scenarios of the things that can go wrong. The thing with anxiety is that you don’t always recognize the triggers or the little symptoms here and there. I fells like it snuck up on you.

 

PTSD

PTSD is plain horrible! I have vivid nightmares, flashbacks during the day – that can provoke very real scenarios of the trauma (odors, weather, location and extreme details that include feelings that I experienced during the trauma). The worst is the overwhelming fear even though I am perfectly save in my house with my husband.

 

All of this happens every day – morning, afternoon, evening and night. Especially during the night. That is why I am constantly exhausted – mentally and physically. But, you know what, I fight back. I don’t want to give in. I will not give up.

How I manage my anxiety & PTSD (and depression)?

1.Faith

Our Father, our God is my sole savior. Even though I don’t see it right now, I know that my life has a purpose that I need to fulfill. Being with anxiety, depression and PTSD is no fun, but I know it can be used for good at some point in my life. Perhaps, this blog is one of those good things. Sharing my experience and helping individuals who are in my same situation is a blessing. God has been with me every single day, even when I though I was alone. He didn’t abandoned me, because He never will. My Father is the core of my existence. To Him I owe my life. He has given me strength that I didn’t even knew I had. Every time I fall He picks me up. He brings stillness when I need it the most. He gives me love and comfort. Honestly, He is just awesome and all I need.

One of the many ways God helps me is though His people. See below…

 

2.Therapy

I was never a fan of psychologists. In fact, I grew up in a culture were seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist meant weakness and craziness. I broke through that stereotype. It wasn’t easy, but I had to do it. I am glad I did.

Therapy and Medication have facilitated my recovery and allowed me to have a fairly normal life. Break through the stigma and go see a professional! I know it is freaking hard, but you are worth more than people’s opinion,. You are worth so much more. Your life matters! Seek help and allow yourself to break free from mental health conditions.

 

3.Support System

I can’t be thankful enough to God for giving me such an amazing husband and family. My parents are phenomenal and my siblings are a blessing in my life. The love and support that I receive from these individuals makes all the difference. They are there for me, even when I am a mess and fail. They are there for me every time I have one of those fearful and overwhelming moments.

The other part of my support system are my children (my pets). I have an adorable cat named Tippy, and a fluffy guinea pig named Gene. Tippy is always present – she doesn’t leave me alone when I am feeling down. Gene – he sleeps most of the time – but having him makes me feel happy. Both of them are part of that support because they lift me up, and that is why they are spoiled. Tippy even has her own Instagram account (haha).

 

4.Coping Mechanism

I have so many coping mechanisms. The reason for that is that one single strategy doesn’t work all the time. Some are more accessible than others. Some are easier to do when I am feeling blue but not when I am having a panic attack or a terrible nightmare. Finding the right coping strategies might take some time, but I highly recommend you to invest your time searching for it.

I have written several posts about strategies and tools that have helped me cope and lift my spirit up to the light. You can find them HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

 

Fighting PTSD and anxiety can seem impossible. However, I assure you that it is totally possible!

 

Your body is exhausted and asking for a good night rest, but your mind doesn’t shut up and your thoughts keep bringing negativity to your life. Let’s finally end this battle! Give your body what it needs, and let your mind find stillness and peace. I won’t say that your life will change overnight, but putting one foot in front of the other will take you to a better place.

Use your spirituality, seek help, find or build your support system and invest time in finding coping mechanisms that can allow you to break FREE from the chains of mental health. If you need someone to talk to or you have different ways that have helped you fight anxiety, depression and PTSD don’t hesitate to contact me (jrodriguez-nieves@phdmind.com)! I am always looking forward to help and listen to all of you.

 

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