Mental Health - @stephanieraevh

"I'm truly in love with my A.W.A.R.E. necklace. It represents mental health which affects so much of my life & a lot of people in it. I noticed it when I was a young teenager. Constantly nervous, upset stomach, overwhelmed with worry, shortness of breath, looming doom, tightness in the chest, spiraling thoughts of worst case scenarios, tunnel vision, perpetual abdominal pain & cramps, diarrhea was a regular occurrence - the lists goes on. I didn't know it had a name. I didn't know I could manage it. I didn't know other people felt the same way. At that time, it just was was it was. In my late teens I got sick. I had to leave my job. Turns out I was suffering from IBS induced by stress and anxiety. The entire situation through me into a depression. I went on medication to manage my anxiety & depression. In my early 20s I learnt some things. Anxiety, panic & depression were ruling my life. Medication helped. I could learn coping skills. And soooo many people struggle with variations of similar feelings. I started telling the people closest to me what I was going through and a lot of them could relate in one way or another. Turns out mental illness runs in my family. Specifically depression. I was determined to get a handle on things. So, I went to therapy once a week for over a year, unpacked some issues, learnt so many coping skills & got off my meds. I felt equipped to manage my anxiety and panic. I managed it pretty well for almost 10 years with a few attacks here & there. Then, in March, I experienced the trauma of losing my baby girl and I was enveloped in grief. On top of that, every management tool I had ever learnt completely vanished. My anxiety & panic was off the chart and I felt out of control. I leaned on family & friends, got medication again and started therapy again. I relearned skills that I had been using and learnt new tools & techniques. I'm managing my anxiety better. I'm still in a fragile state which makes things difficult & I'll continue to work on it." @stephanieraevh

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