Comfortable on stage, acting, singing and speaking in front of huge crowds, I am not your stereotypical image of a person suffering from anxiety on a daily basis. My anxiety follows me everywhere, its with me everyday. From walking into an unknown building, to making eye contact while speaking, everyday I fear for the littlest things. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the excessive worry that often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals with GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties. This makes everyday extremely stressful. I am constantly on edge, worrying about everything and over using adrenaline so that I am always exhausted by the end of the day. My mind is always on high alert, over thinking and catastrophizing the smallest things, constantly battling “what ifs” that are highly unlikely. It’s an everyday battle, but I know I’ll make it through it.
My depression and PTSD come from a long series of tragic deaths that haunt me everyday. Starting in just grade 5, I started losing the people I cared about consecutively one by one. I went through things no one at that age should have to face.I fell into a deep hole at such a young age. It was a very difficult time then and it’s a very difficult time now. The only difference is that I’m more comfortable with opening up and seeking help, although it took me forever to do that. My depression hits me randomly, I get so sad that I can’t get out of bed, I have zero motivation to do anything and everything seems hopeless. I want to quit everything that I love and waste away to nothing because I believe that’s what I am. I have very low self esteem, self worth and the hardest time believing people care about me when I know they do. I struggle with PTSD often in the form of flashbacks and nightmares, which is not a good combination for someone with GAD that over thinks everything. I make up scenarios about a death that I wasn’t present for, or that’s not how it happened, and I believe it.
I wish I could change my past.
I wish I wasn’t me.
I wish I could forget.
I wish I was okay
I’m glad I’m me
I’m glad I’m strong
I’m glad I’m helping others
I’m glad I’m alive
I’m glad I joined this campaign to help end the stigmas of Mental Health.
My mental health is a part of me, but it does NOT define me.
Join Jessica and lend your voice to the #MyDefinition Campaign by submitting your story.