I've personally struggled with anxiety for most of my adult life.
I've also suffered from bouts of depression.
I first noticed it during my senior year of college. I was anxious about everything from my classes, the retail job I hated, my apparent inability to maintain healthy relationships, and anything else you could think of. While all of that was racking my brain, just the thought of taking the next steps into adulthood would leave me clutching my knees in defeat on my apartment floor. I never really talked about it with anyone back then. I just concluded I was a sorry excuse for an adult and I dropped out during the second trimester of my senior year thinking this would alleviate some of my mental anguish.
I was wrong. It only added to list I had created about how I was failing at life and my anxiety was at an all-time high. I say all this to say that you never truly know the severity of what people are going through, especially as it relates to mental health. Anyone who has struggled with mental health issues, be it short-lived or a lasting condition, has probably had someone express doubt or indifference to their condition. Below are just a few of the unfair generalizations people with mental health issues experience.
"You're Being Dramatic"
I had a friend in high school who used to have anxiety attacks. I always thought she was a little on the dramatic side, so I figured this was just a part of the package. I'd eventually realize how judgmental I was being. Fast forward to my 20's, life was happening, and not how I planned. Eventually, my circumstances overwhelmed me and I had my first anxiety attack.
It started out as a normal day. I was standing at the sink washing dishes, quietly fighting with my ruminating thoughts. From time to time, I'd glance at my two little ones playing in the hall. They had such a pure, happy and worry-free existence. I felt unworthy to be in their presence. "I'm such a sh**ty mom," I said to myself. In an effort to calm myself, I attempted to take a deep breath.
I tried to take another breath. Nothing. It was like I had a cap on how much oxygen my lungs could take in. I started getting dizzy. I rushed past my toddlers, oblivious to my condition, grabbing at my legs for hugs. I clambered to sit down on my living room couch. Tears began to stream as I hurried to call my mom. In a defeated breath, I struggled to explain what was happening. My parents quickly arrived and my dad whisked me to the ER while my mom stayed home with my little ones.
It was terrifying. I felt like I couldn't breathe, and every time I fought to take a breath, I felt like I was draining what little energy I had left. I was super lightheaded and I just felt (as dramatic as it sounds) this sense of doom. After a trip to the ER, I was given a clean slate of physical health. After another visit to the same ER for the same symptoms, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and was told to follow up with my regular doctor and a therapist/counselor.
Although I didn't do it right away, I noticed the benefits of talking to someone immediately.
"Pray It Away"
I can't remember the last time I set foot in a church, but my relationship with God has done nothing less than thrive. I won't say it has been a perfect road but it has made me seek my own relationship with God on my terms. I understand wanting to congregate with like-minded souls. That's beautiful. But the hypocrisy and judgemental air that exists in a lot of congregations makes me less than enthused to wake up early Sunday morning, drape myself in my Sunday's best and head on to church. I realized I could find solace in singing my favorite spiritual songs, reading from my devotionals and having a one-on-one time with God.
This has made me view myself as more spiritual than religious. I will say I am a believer in the power of pray. I understand that a talk with God can do wonders. But I also believe that some people want another human being to talk to. Someone that walks this earth and sees and experiences the surroundings like they do. I believe that God places people in our lives for a reason.
Some people are blessed with an exceptional ability to understand, sympathize, and help us find solutions to our mental, emotional, and physical struggles.
I've been in a place before where the thoughts are so loud that you need to see, hear and feel someone physically. Whether it be a hug while you cry. An empathetic ear to listen to your troubles. A human gaze to see your pain. Rather than saying, "God will fix it, they'll be fine," ask God how you can help someone. Take the time to let someone know you are there should they need you.
"It Will Pass"
True. To an extent.
An event or moment will pass because technically you can't live in a moment forever. Moments end. Some of those endings feel like a defeat. Some of those endings are traumatizing. Some of those endings bring about lingering negative side effects that need to be addressed and worked out. This takes time.
While some people can do this without assistance, others may need to seek help. There is absolutely no shame in that.
I expressed all that to say this: don't judge. You never know what someone is dealing with. You never know what someone has been through. Brave faces can hide a tortured mind. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please take the time to talk to someone. Whether it be a trusted close friend, family member, a doctor, therapist, or counselor. Show up for yourself and your mental well-being.
Your life is too precious.
If you are someone you know is suicidal please reach out to someone you trust or The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They also have a chat-room you can use to speak with someone.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Ray is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two amazing little beings, and an impassioned freelance writer. After personal struggles with anxiety and depression, she combined her passion for writing with a cause close to her heart: mental health. She is currently working on launching her self-care blog, Tea and Fluffy Things.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images