Confessions of the Chronically Ill

Co-Written by myself & contributor Amy Nora

When you have a chronic illness like Lupus there are going to be some thing’s that you hold true. Things that you don’t share with most people, things that you know most people don’t want to know, or simply wouldn’t understand. Things that you feel people who aren’t sick would never understand. So as we have come to an end of the 2018 Lupus Awareness Month, I want to share some confessions from the chronically ill. Remember they might not be true for all chronically ill. This is based of the experiences/issues we have and deal with.

1. I often feel guilty — Some of you are probably wondering why we would feel guilty. Well, there are a MILLION different reasons. We may feel guilty that we can’t contribute to our families like we want to. Or we might feel guilty because we feel like we are a burden to our family and friends. Or because of the constants needs or help for basic daily life we need to ask of others. There are a million reasons why we might feel guilty.

2. I feel like I’m alone — Again you may be wondering how we could feel alone when we have friends and family all around us. Well, that’s simple, we may have people around us but they don’t know the struggles we face everyday. So it’s not so much that we may feel alone physically, it’s more mentally and emotionally. Because most family and friends don’t know what it’s like to live our lives, and they can never truly understand our world.  We try and protect them from what we go through, because as much as what we deal with, we also know that they feel a stress.  This can intensify a lonliness.  It creates a vicious cycle.

3. I often experience some level of anxiety and depression — There are so many reasons we may feel this way. We could be anxious because we aren’t feeling well and there’s nothing we can do about. Or because there is something coming up that we aren’t sure we have the energy or stamina for. On the other hand we could be depressed because we had to cancel ANOTHER date with a friend or our spouse. We might also be down because we feel terrible and have for awhile. That takes a toll on your mental health.  The very nature of having a chronic illness creates a constant mental battle that is medically known to alter brain chemistry.

4. I am almost always in pain — Even though you know I have pain medicine and have taken it. I am generally always hurting somewhere. NO, it’s not searing, burning level 10 pain. It’s more like a constant nagging annoying pain. Like a level 3 Pain. But it’s usually constant. And chances are I won’t say a word, and will often say “I’m fine” when asked.  Just remember, your fine and my fine are not the same.  Sometime ask, “No, how are you really doing today?  I want to know.  What can I do that would help you?”  When in pain and tired, these words are a balm physically and mentally.

5. Every good day is truly a gift —Sadly, we don’t always have a LOT of GOOD days. So when I do I may need help remembering that this day is a gift and I should take full advantage of it.  Do not make me feel guilty for having a good day, do not take my joy for this good day.  I may have to pay for this good day for a week to come or a few days in bed or on the couch with pain, fatigue, or any combo of problems including infections.

6. I don’t look sick — Nine Times out of ten you wouldn’t know by looking at us that we are sick. That our bodies are constantly at war with itself. We just look like average people on the outside, but inside we may be a disaster. Going out in public knowing that others can’t see our illness can lead to feeling alone, or being anxious.

7. I am often afraid to work, make plans or have a life — I know this one sounds silly. Why would anyone be afraid of those things? It’s simply because we never know what our body is going to do. I may feel fine at 8am, but at 11am I may feel like I was hit by a bus. Our bodies change so quickly and often without reason. So we never know if we make a dinner plan for next Wednesday how we will feel.  Every plan is made with the caveat of, “If I feel okay,” and buying tickets for an event is a terrifying exercise in wasting money and letting friends down.

8. Not all doctors understand — Sadly, this is the case a lot of the time. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a doctor who’s not my own and they know nothing about Lupus or how it impacts a person’s life, body & health.  The American Medical Association even acknowledges that auto-immune diseases are one of the most under taught areas in medical school because of their complexity.  More times then not, as the patient you are educating the provider when you are already ill.  At best, they believe you and do some additional research quickly to understand.  At the worst, they do not listen and make medical decisions that do not help you are your condition because they do not understand fully how Lupus impacts you.  Remember, Lupus effects each patient differently.This is just a few confessions of the chronically ill. I could probably write a book on things we feel but never share. We don’t want pity so we often keep our issues to ourselves. We don’t want to be judged or looked down upon because of our health.  What we do want is for people to understand.  Just this week, Toni Braxton tweeted a picture of herself, and people were quick to make a judgement that she had plastic surgery.  No, she is on steroids for her Lupus.  Know Lupus.  Know that we deal with our body attacking us on a daily basis, and that no two cases are the same.  Know that we keep our secrets to protect you, but know those come at a cost.  So today…. We let a few cats out of the bag.

With Love,

Amber & Amy

Depression, My Story. By Kayla Aiken

Depression has many faces, and can look many different ways! It’s not always the person that we picture in our minds, or saw on TV. Someone who is so down that they can’t get out of bed or complete their daily tasks. It can look like your best friend who is working and going to school full time and has become very good at hiding her secrets.

This year through a mutual friend I was lucky enough to be introduced to Kayla. I’m really just getting to know her. That being said since the first time we interacted she has always been very open about her battle with depression. Since she is so open and willing to share I asked if she would be willing to tell her story here! Thankfully she agreed. Below is Kayla Aiken’s story, her story of how depression impacts her life.

When I woke up today, I found myself on the couch barely able to open my eyes. I reached for my phone to see what time it was. 10:07 AM. At this point, I had slept 23 hours since the morning before, and I went back to sleep an additional four hours before waking up to even eat something. This is a very minimal depiction of what depression looks like. My doctor calls it “leaden paralysis”, a symptom of Major Depressive Disorder, Atypical in subtype. It’s where your entire body feels like lead. Your arms are so heavy it feels as though you can’t lift them. Your legs are leaden and making it up stairs is a struggle. This is mental illness. My diagnoses include the previously mentioned MDD, severe, recurrent, and atypical, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and an Eating Disorder.

My story starts here: I graduated nursing school in May of 2010. After four years of nursing in the same location, I decided to become a travel nurse. I traveled in Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Missouri. I was in Connecticut in 2015 and started to feel sort of “blues-ish”. I thought it was just because of the weather. So, I came home to Missouri in March and by the Fall of 2015 I was a worried, depressed, and anxious mess. I couldn’t take my dog outside without my gun on my side or maise in my hand. I packed food and put it in the trunk for my drives back and forth to work just in case we got hit with a nuclear bomb or an EMP…etc. My hands would shake uncontrollably at times and I couldn’t eat anything. I went on a cruise in October of 2015, but I didn’t even enjoy it to it’s fullest because I was so concerned that the ship was going to sink or we were going to get stranded on some island we visited. My anxiety was out of control.

In January of 2016, I saw my doctor for the anxiety. He asked me if I was depressed, also, but I denied it being an issue. But, it was. It was a major issue. I called in a couple of weeks and said, “Oh, I think I am struggling with depression, too, so if I could get something for that…” He prescribed Prozac, but it put me to sleep for a week; so, we made the switch to Effexor. Between the medication for anxiety and the Effexor, I started to feel a little more normal again around the March/April months of 2016.

By the fall of 2016, I started to feel as though the Effexor was no longer working. I was driving back and forth to work envisioning myself driving off the road into a ravine, or seeing myself take my gun in my hand and put it to my head or my heart, or taking all the pills in my medicine cabinet. I was so mentally ill. So, so ill. I was losing friendships, my family relationships were strained, and I was calling off work more frequently than I could afford. I was faking fine so well, that only my closest friend really recognized how mentally ill I was.

I think it was in November of 2016 that we found out my Dad had been having an affair. And then my extended family and I had a big blowout over Christmas 2016. Two major stressors in a short amount of time.

In January of 2017, I went back to my physician and brought my best friend along to help me stay honest. I told him, very fearfully, that I was having suicidal ideations and that my depression was out of hand. He changed my medications up a little bit, and sent me on my way. The medications did not work. In February, I found out that my two younger sisters had been sexually assaulted by an older boy cousin. It infuriated me. It destroyed me. And, I had no idea what I could do about it; because my sisters are adults now and will deal with it the way that they want to. But, if it was up to me, I would have him and everyone else who was involved put on trial for such a heinous crime.

March of 2017 rolled around and I flew to San Diego for a conference, still so very sick, and losing hope by the minute. I was driving home from St. Louis from the conference, and tears rolled down my face until my eyes were nearly swollen shut and physically ached. What was I going to do? I couldn’t live like this.

A few weeks later, on April 3rd, I delivered my 14th baby during my midwife clinical. I drove home later, took a shower, and curled my hair. I was going to dress and do my makeup despite feeling so depressed. I went to a 12-step meeting, and when I got in my car I just had this feeling of “I cannot do this”. I called a friend, and she was cooking dinner, so I let her go. I went home, I played piano, I journaled, I watched TV, and nothing was working.

So, the evening of April 3rd, 2017, I took approximately 140mg of Ambien. My standard dose was 5mg nightly. I won’t go into the events of that evening, because it is just a lot. But, I woke up the next day in the local ER to find out I was going to be admitted to the hospital psychiatric unit for a week. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life.

In 2017, I was admitted to hospital psychiatric units four separate times. I spent 3 months in a residential facility in Chicago getting treatment for my depression and other mental illness diagnoses. I met a ton of wonderful people there. People who were also ill, but wanted to get help so much that they stopped their lives to go into a long term inpatient facility to work on their shit. It was liberating, and oh so hard. But, I’m thankful I had the opportunity to do it.

So, where am I now? Still in treatment. Still working on my shit every day. Still focused on getting up out of bed and making myself do things like laundry and dishes and putting gas in my car and getting groceries so I can eat. It’s not easy. Every day is hard. But, every day is a gift. I am trying to see that for the truth that it is.

I feel like all of the above was probably very boring to read, so if you made it this far, thank you! I’d like to take a moment in closing to talk about mental health stigma. I looked like I had it all together. I had recently graduated with my Bachelors in Nursing. I was pursuing my Masters in Midwifery from a prestigious university. I was working full time. I was going to church, maintaining friendships, and seeing my niece and nephew as often as possible. But, inside I was being eaten alive by my demons. Many people who struggle with mental illness do not look like they do. Still to this day, when people find out I struggle with depression, they are shocked. “But you are so personable and bubbly.” they say. I would encourage you to get in deep with those that you are surrounded with on a daily basis. Your family, peers, and coworkers…etc. Ask them how they REALLY are. Ask them about anxiety or depression and whether they have ever struggled with it. Be honest about your own struggle with anxiety and depression with someone who is safe in your life. Find someone safe for yourself, and be someone safe for others. When I attempted suicide in April and July of 2017, it was my closest best friends who intervened and saved my life.

Thank you for reading, and if my story resonates with you and you’d like to reach out, I’ll leave my contact info below. Feel free to reach out if needed.

Kayla Aiken

kaylaaiken@icloud.com

If you are having suicidal feelings or thinking of ways you could end your life, PLEASE reach out to someone you can trust! There is help out there for you!!!

As always with Love,

Amber

How Having a Routine Can Be Beneficial

Are you one of those people who need a routine in your life?!? Do you plan out your day, every day? Do you obsess about making sure you accomplish everything on your list?!? I used to be one of those people. Especially when I was working, I would plan out my day at work and then plan my week around the things I needed to get done. But since I’ve gotten sick my routines have gone out the window!! I know I can’t be the only one who has experienced this! Even though it is hard, it is important to find a way to keep some routine even when you are chronically ill.

When you are living with a chronic illness, nothing about your life is certain. Symptoms come and go daily, weekly or even hourly on bad days. Changes in your schedule are common due to having to cancel things or rearrange your day because of your symptoms. Due to the fact that nothing in the life of a person who has a chronic illness is promised or set in stone. However, it is essential to find a way to keep a routine.

Is having a routines the same as having a schedule? No!! A schedule is defined by dictionary.com as a series of things that need to be done or events to occur at or during time or period; a time table. While a routine is defined as common tasks, chores, or duties that need to be done regularly or at specific intervals; typical or everyday activities. The big difference between having a schedule that you stick to, versus having a routine is the time factor! A schedule requires you to do specific activities at specific times. Where a routine is a set of activities that are generally done regularly, but not at a specific time. You can think of it this way. A schedule tasks that need to be done at a specific times. Like going to a drs appointment! While a routine are things that you do habitually, things you do pretty much every day. An example of a routine would be brushing your teeth every night before you go to bed!

A schedule is important for kids bc they need the structure. But do adults benefit from having a schedule like kiddos? Yes, the average adults does. But, adults with chronic illness DO NOT get the same benefits from living by a schedule. Living with a chronic illness means that we have to learn to deal with the unexpected changes in plans. These changes are common for the chronically ill, not because we don’t want to do things, but because our bodies won’t allow us to do those things. You may be hit with anxiety or depression, or even a flare which may occur without any warning. These are the things that make living by a Schedule almost impossible at times.

Routines are very beneficial to those living with a chronic illness. A routine is like having a schedule but without time constraints. Having a routine can help you get more quality sleep which is an essential for those with chronic illness. It is also beneficial because it will help you remember to take your medications and supplements when they are due.

What are other benefits of living by a routine? A routine provides you with the ability to come more EFFICIENT. By keeping a routine it creates a structure of our day to day tasks. A routine also reduces the need to make certain decisions. Thus you can save time planning and you have extra room for things that might come up Unexpectedly. A routine can also BUILD CONFIDENCE. Sticking to a routine gives a person a huge sense of satisfaction, and helps to build ones self-Confidence. Having a routine can also REDUCE STRESS. Which is important for those with chronic illness as stress can cause a flare of any condition. By having the routine is gives you more flexibility to be able to deal with issues that may pop up. Thus knowing you have tings under control will significantly lower a person’s stress and enabling them to focus on other things that need to be done.

We all have a routine that we keep. Mine for instance in the morning is to get up, stop off in the bathroom and then get some breakfast and take my morning meds. After that I spend time catching up on social media and looking at emails. This is just an example of my morning routine. This routine ensures that I take my medications that I need. If I falter from that routine I will forget something.

If you are able to establish a routine and try to stick to it everyday no matter how you feel then in the long run you may actually feel better. If your body knows that you are going to get up and eat and then stretch and take a walk, your body won’t revolt as much when you try and do those things. Your routine also helps you conserve energy because you can adjust your activities so you may be able to get out and do the things you have scheduled and not have to cancel them so often. Having a routine may make you seem more credible to your friends and family. Which may ease any conflict you may have with those people over your canceling plans. So living by a routine is the best way for the chronically ill to live their lives.

If you feel like you need some extra help figuring out your routine and getting it set up there are a ton of apps that can help you. You can simply download them in your smart phone or tablet. They can help you scheduling, prioritizing and even relaxing. Below is a picture from the Apple store that I found doing a search of “Routine.” The ones I chose to show you had the best reviews of al the ones I found. I hope this is helpful.

With Love,

Amber

The Things We Should Never Take For Granted

Have you ever really stopped to think about all the things you do, places you go, activities you participate in on any given day or week?!? Okay so now you are thinking. Now make a list, list everything you do that takes physical ability, everything you do that, which allows you to have freedom (leaving the house on your own, whether it be on foot, on a bicycle or by car). And everything that requires mental capabilities! Now you think I’m crazy. But my point is that we do things all day that we take for granted. Things that not everyone have the ability or freedom to do.

All day, everyday we do things that we take for granted. We get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, we eat food, we have a normal conversation with our families and thousands of other tasks. Now think about how you would feel and what you would do if you were unable to do those things as easily as you do them now! What if you were no longer able to easily carry on a normal conversation, because your brain is “foggy” and your thoughts are easily jumbled? Which in turn causes people to start to question your mental capabilities. How would this make you feel? This is something we all take for granted! And I never thought about until I developed Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Migraines, all which can cause brain fog and make it hard for me to carry on a normal conversation at times. Due to those conditions I may randomly lose my train of thought mid sentence, or have no idea where I was going with what I was saying. This alone can effect my daily life. But also impacts my ability to work because employers want nurses who are on the ball mentally. Not one who is forgetful, and easily loses their train of thought.

What would you do if you lost your ability to drive? You no longer could just run out and jump in the car and run to the store or to grab food. How would this change your life? Well, let me tell you how it’s changed mine! Since I totaled my car in August & it is thought that seizures were the cause of the accident, I can’t drive again until I have been seizure free for 6 months. Never, until now, did I think about all the things I would just jump in the car and “run” to do. I can no longer take myself to the doctor, to the grocery story, the bank, to go grab some food, or even just to go for a drive to think!! This has had a major impact on my psyche. And caused some major depression and anxiety issues. It has also really made me question my self worth since i can’t drive a car, I can’t work outside the home and I’m living at my parents at the age of 32 due to lack of steady income. All of those are hard pills to swallow on their own, but combine them and times can be very difficult. Things get really hard when you are stuck staring at the same walls day in and day out! Just imagine one day you are a functioning member of society, working outside the home. Who is able to drive and go wherever whenever, to the next day having no car and not being able to drive at all. Definitely a major life change that is hard to accept and one you (or I ) never expected.

The things we take for granted don’t have to be as drastic as the things I’ve talked about so far. They can be something as simple as getting out of bed pain free. Most people wouldn’t even think about this. But those of us who deal with chronic pain never take a day when we can get out of bed pain free for granted. That is because the pain free days are so rare, that when we it happens we rejoice and enjoy it. Some people who battle chronic illness will even lose the ability to do the little things we have done by ourselves for years. Tasks like bathing, toileting or feeding themselves may no longer be possible. How would you feel if you had to suddenly rely on someone to help you bathe or change clothes or even help you get to the bathroom? Would this change the way you look at life? Would this change how you felt about your self worth? It certainly can. It’s hard at any age to ask for or accept help from others. But you get to a point when you have to. You don’t have a choice. No matter how awful it is and how bad it makes you feel sometimes you have to accept that you are no longer able to safely function by yourself.

A person never thinks about all the things we do in a day that we take advantage of, that is until they can no longer do those things.  We are just so used to running out and jumping in the car and running wherever errand or completing whatever task needs to be done. We don’t think about how lucky we are to be able to run to the store, to the gas station or to the pharmacy. Or have the ability to leave the house without someone with you. I guess the point I’m trying to get across with all of this is that we need to pay attention in life, and make sure that we are living each day to fullest and not taking anything for granted. We should be living our life knowing full well that tomorrow our lives could drastically change for the worst. And that we could lose the ability to do the things we take for granted on a daily basis!

With Love,

Amber

Epilepsy, The System Shocker

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Epilepsy?” What about “Seizure?” Normally, people think of someone on the floor convulsing. What they do not realize is that there are over 40 different types of seizures; some of these you will never know the person is having that seizure unless you know exactly what to look for. Unfortunately, that person will know and feel the after affects for sometimes and hour or days to come even with medicine.

Simply put, a seizure is a disruption in the brains electrical activity. Think of the electrical current being sent to a lightbulb, when that lightbulb flickers or goes out for a few seconds, that is a seizure. Epilepsy, is a recurring disruption of the electrical currents between various lobes.

Roughly 65 Million people globally have Epilepsy with 3.4 Million of those being Americans. There are approximately 150,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. What is perhaps the most disheartening, is that 1/3 of all of those with Epilepsy, do not have a controlled case because there is not a current therapy that is effective for them. That is 21.45 Million people that live with uncontrolled seizures. Common triggers for seizures include lack of sleep, hormone changes, flashing lights, stress, particular foods, certain medications, alcohol or drug use, missed doses of medication, and low blood sugar.

Living with epilepsy is not easy. There is always a sense that you are walking on a glass bridge that has a thousand cracks, and a ravine of jagged rocks is there waiting to catch you. When my seizures returned, there was a new level of violence to them that I had not experienced. Previously, I had polite petit mal seizures. I just stared into space for a few seconds. This time, I would convulse for thirty minutes, as EMT’s and Doctor’s would struggle to get the lifesaving medicine into me. I would then wake up and be exhausted, have no concept of hours or days before having lost memory, and then the bruises from the actual seizure itself. I have never been beaten by another human being; however, when the police ask you if the domestic violence officer needs to come to you home, and your only choice is to show the very worried officer your hospital discharge papers you start to realize just how strange this new world is.

There is a fear of how people see you. You get nervous going out because unless you are with a “safe” person, what if something happens and your friend does not know how to handle the situation? Epilepsy is yes a physical disease; however, it is also a psychological warrior in that you have to plan for it.

When newly diagnosed with epilepsy, the looks of fear, anxiety, helplessness, what do I do if, did she do something to deserve this, is she demon possessed (yes in 2017 that is still asked), I will just stay over here because it is better not to get to close, and a thousand other glimmers that float across people’s face become a burden and a stress to bare. As the patient, you already struggle with understanding how your own life is changing. First, you are trying to understand what your own body just did to you. Second, you have the emotional fallout and instability. You actually go through the 5 stages of grief. Third, you then try and understand your seizures, triggers, if you have a tell or aura, you keep that log and try and find anything or everything that helps. Fourth and finally, you begin to step out into the world and realize that no matter what somehow you will overcome this.

The medication cocktail search may be easy or it may be hard, the sense of humor that will develop will be disturbing to those on the outside, I mean hey how many people get to have a lightning storm in the brain?

Sources:
Epilepsy Foundation of America
https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics

Anxiety- What Is It and How Do We Deal With It?

I’m so sorry I haven’t blogged this week. I’ve been sick and so anxious that I can hardly stand myself!! So I decided to write on Anxiety. I think it’s something everyone deals with a various levels at times in their life. But why does it carry such a stigma. That’s what I want to know. I’ll talk about some stats down further in this blog but YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR ANXIETY!!! There are millions out there just like you!

Do you ever feel anxious? Have panic attacks? Feel like your world is coming in around you? Anxiety is nothing to joke with.  In the past few years it has become less taboo and something more and more people are talking about. But what do you do when the panic sets in? How do you calm yourself done and get out of the painic?  Finding a way to get through the anxious times and through a panic attack is very personal and is different for every person. There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to deal with anxiety. What ever works for you is what you should continue. There are so many people who want to tell you how to survive with anxiety. And the truth is the only way to survive is to do what helps you. That being said let’s look at some things that might help you get through the anxious times. And find out just how many of us there are out there who suffer from this sometimes life altering condition. 
Let’s first define anxiety. Anxiety has several different meanings so I’ll put them all here and you can decide which matches you the best. 1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. 2. desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease 3. a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. I also will add here a piece that I found that I didn’t know. OCD and PTSD are also classified with anxiety! 

Here are some stats to think about regarding anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the us. Affecting some 40million adults (ages 18 and older). Which is approximately 18% of the population. So you are by no means alone in your struggle with anxiety. Although, only about a third of those with anxiety will seek medical treatment. Anxiety disorders can develop from a complex set of risk factors including: genetics, brain chemistry, and life events. 

So now we realize we aren’t alone and there’s millions of other people feeling just like us let’s look into ways what can cause anxiety and how we can try to help curb our anxiety.  If you research it you will find every option imaginable from exercise and meditation to diet changes and even far more drastic things. I’m only going to talk about the more common ways of dealing with anxiety. 

What can cause &/or induce anxiety? Well, really just about anything. Health problems, crowds, driving, relationship problems, problems at work. You name it and it can probably cause someone to feel some level of anxiety. What other causes are there? According to WebMD Anxiety may be caused by a mental condition, a physical condition, the effects of drugs, or a combination of these. The doctor’s initial task is to see if your anxiety is caused by a medical condition.  So as you see just about anything can induce or cause anxiety. 

The things that Mayo lists as therapies for anxiety are as follows:

Avoid alcohol, Reduce caffeine intake, Physical exercise, Stress management, Quitting smoking, Relaxation techniques, and Healthy diet. Cognitive behavioral therapy, Meditation, and Psychotherapy. Clinical psychologist, Psychiatrist, and Primary care provider (PCP). Or medications. 

But I want to talk about things like meditation and walking and more natural things. No, I’m not one of those holistic people (I’ve tried it doesn’t work very well for me). But many people don’t want to take medications unless they just have to. I sadly have to take medication. Or like I said above I can’t stand myself. So if we can find a way to deal with the anxiety ourselves that’s a bonus. 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of American has a FABULOUS table on their website of ways to cope with anxiety. So I decided it did a way better job of explaining this than I would. So here it is The two things on here that I wanted to address are finding your triggers. And talking to someone.  I find that when I am so terribly anxious that if I talk to someone and talk about why I’m so anxious it helps. That person needs to understand what you are going to and be non judgmental. Someone you find that has a calming affect on you. These things are essential in whoever you are talking to. Whether it be your best friend or a counselor.  If they are going to judge you for how you feel or what you are going through the conversation will actually be counterproductive. Finding your triggers is essential to managing your anxiety. Because once you figure them out it is easier to either avoid those things if necessary or find a way to deal with them. 

I didn’t want to drag on forever because no one wants to read a four page blog post. But I hope I have provided you with something that can help you. If you take away nothing else. Remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!  If you have questions or anything please contact me!  And I always leave the sources where I got my information below somfeeo free to check those out. 

-Amber 

References:

https://www.adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/causes-anxiety

https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics