I love my family.
They are some of the kindest and friendliest people around. But sometimes, they freak me out. Like when I’m sitting in the doctor’s office and I have to check off “history of mental illness.”
It’s not a fun box to check off but it is important to understand. Some mental illnesses have been linked to genetics. My dad had schizophrenia, and it wasn’t exactly a fun time. Other people from his side of the family had other versions of mental illness that I won’t go into, but they are serious and important to remember. So when my world started to get a little too overwhelming for me in the summer of 2015, I started having serious anxiety problems. I sought help, and I got it and for this I am grateful.
My generalized anxiety is much better controlled now, but during that period I couldn’t help but wonder how much of this was me responding to the things that have happened to me in my life, and how much of it was hardwired into my brain already. Is my DNA turning against me, or am I a normal person reacting to scary situations with hyper-anxiety?
The thing is, part of schizophrenia and depression are linked to genetics. The part of my brain that was in hyperactive anxiety mode was panicking more than usual. I was seriously upset that maybe I was getting sick, and probably with a disease that is not curable, like paranoid schizophrenia.
It took some time to understand my own brain and how my anxiety was functioning. Personally, I discovered that I am a person who tends towards stress and certain events pushed me to the peak of that stress. But it’s okay. Now I understand my body more, and I listen to it when it starts to tense up and I work to actively combat the anxiety when it presents itself.
Fighting against your anxiety, depression, and everything else is what matters most. Websites like Tumblr tend to perpetuate the idea that depression is okay, having anxiety is okay, and it is. But we should not indulge it and we definitely shouldn’t accept it.
Blogging and reblogging things like this may help you feel more connected to others because you see that people are also going through tough times as well. But it also creates an atmosphere of negativity and depression around you, and references to suicide or other harmful behaviors can be triggering. This can make it harder to fight back against your issues.
When I am having a particularly bad day from anxiety, I have a bad day. It’s okay to have a bad day, but the thing is the next day you have to try and fight it.
A huge part of anxiety is the mental stamina. You do not have to become a person you do not want to become. I did not want to become my father, and I didn’t. I didn’t want to be ruled by my anxiety and I am not. We need to remember that you can fight to be who you want to be.
Just because you have a mental illness, impairment or whatever, doesn’t mean you have to lie down and let it rule your life. Fight off the anxiety that you know is irrational. Fight the depression that makes you want to withdraw. Don’t give into the perpetual cycle that mental illnesses often create. Is it hard? Absolutely. Will you always be successful? No.
We all have bad days, or bad weeks, or bad months. But don’t let that stop you from living the life you want. Don’t let it stop you from embracing recovery and actively working towards it. Do your best to get there, even if you stumble along the way.
Be the person you want to be. Fuck genetics.