I don't usually like to talk too much about this but if my passion is to empower people to embrace their authentic self, I have to be willing to open up about who I really am and be able to talk about the experiences I am going through. For a few years, I have been secretly battling Anxiety. The only person, I spoke to about it was my husband. I was afraid of what people would think of me. Everyone saw me as a woman who has it all together. Yes, they saw that I was still figuring out myself but I was amazing at covering up my struggle inside. One the outside, I had a job, going to grad school full time, married at a young age, have an apartment, food to eat, etc.
What is wrong with me?
I couldn't figure it out. I was so anxious to go to work and felt overwhelmed all the time. I would come home drained, at this time, my husband and I had to do long distance which wasn't new because we did it majority of our relationship. I slowly started to get depressed. Then out of no where, my depression would go away and I felt like I had it all together and motivated to keep going. Then the cycle started all over again. I thought I was crazy because how can everything be going so well but I felt like the world was ending on the inside. It confused the hell out of me.
Fast forward a year later, I happily left my job to start school full time and participate in my mandatory internship. I felt so much relief and excited to start something new. I started my blog and moved back to be with my husband. I felt at the top of the world. A couple months past and I started to dip back into my anxious patterns and became more impulsive. I finally said enough is enough, I can't keep going on like this. I need to get some help.
Once, I was able to get our health insurance situated, I scheduled my first video appointment with a counselor. She was amazing! She was not judgmental at all and did not say I was crazy or anything. I found out that I have an Adjustment Disorder with mixed Anxiety and Depression Mood.
What is an Adjustment Disorder?
Adjustment Disorder is when someone is an abnormal and excessive reaction to an identifiable life stressor such as a new job, moving, etc. I had a hard to time adjusting to new transitions in my life. Even if they are good transitions, I could still have a hard time adjusting which could cause me to feel symptoms of Anxiety and Depression.
Even though I was diagnosed, my counselor never made me feel like I was my mental illness. She continuously encouraged me that yes, it will take work but I will be able to reprogram my brain to react to transitions in my life in a normal way. I have learned about Mindfulness and becoming more intentional. I am learning how to slow down so I don't become impulsive or feel overwhelmed. My sleep pattern has started to go back to normal. I feel like Mia again.
Even though, I may have a mental health issue, I am not letting it define who I am. I am not my mental Illness.
I am Mia Johnson.
I have a lot I want to accomplish and I will do it, but in my own timing.
As you have read my story, you can't assume someone is perfectly okay just because they look like they have it all together. You never know what that person may be going through. I have kept it a secret for years because I didn't know how people would react or afraid I would be called crazy. On the other hand, it is crucial that if you are going through anything, speak to someone about it. If I would have spoken up about my issues years ago, I am sure, it wouldn't have gotten as bad as it had.
We get so wrapped up on social media, trying to make our lives look perfect. We forget that we are all human. We have our off days as well. Some days we may feel on top of the world and other days, we may feel like we can't get anything together. Take some time to connect to each and see how they are doing.
I challenge you today to ask one person in your life "Is everything okay?" I guaranteed, it will make a difference.