Today for Shattering Stigmas, Kimberly is sharing her story with mental health and what she’s learned about herself.
My name is Kimberly (she/her) and for the Shattering Stigmas event I’ve decided to discuss with you all my journey with mental health, both in a general sense and based on my own experiences. I’ve shared bits and pieces across social media about my anxiety and experiencing anxiety/panic attacks but not about how I came to learn about this part of myself; today I’d like to change that.
During high school, I didn’t really fit in with my peers. Sure there were people I would’ve considered my friends (though this wasn’t exactly consistent throughout the time I was in school) and they weren’t negative towards me in any way, there was just this feeling in the back of my mind where I knew I was never going to be an essential member of a friend group. There were times when I spent lunch on my own and that made me feel really lonely. The way I found I could get through these feelings was by watching YouTube videos.
I would say around a year after getting into watching YouTube that I started to notice myself having feelings of intense anxiety and experiencing panic attacks (though I wouldn’t be absolutely sure this was the case until later on). I can’t say what in particular brought on these feelings, but they hit me hard. I didn’t know what was happening and I was fortunate that I found videos from YouTube creators I’d watched before expressing similar feelings to what I was going through. (I’m going to link a few videos that come to mind that I’d watched during this time towards the end of this post!) Through seeing this content online, I realized I wasn’t alone in my experiences and one creator that stands out in my mind especially during this time frame is dodie. She’s a singer-songwriter (who still makes YouTube videos every now and again) and she’s created content sharing her experiences with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and derealization. These videos meant the world to me (even though I myself do not share all of the same exact mental health issues as her) and her music (some songs in which I would say can be related to mental health; links for these particular songs will be shared later within this blog post!) holds a special place in my heart as well.
While through YouTube and other social media I did figure out what anxiety and anxiety/panic attacks were, I didn’t want to self diagnose myself. I ended up telling my parents about these feelings I had and what I thought they were (anxiety and anxiety/panic attacks) and it was by doing this that I found out that mental illness runs in my family. With this in mind, it was within the next year I ended up getting professionally diagnosed with anxiety and decided to take medication (with my doctor’s permission of course). I know this is something that’s not for everyone, but this is a part of my journey. I still take medication to this day (two years later) and it’s really helped me with my anxiety and anxiety/panic attacks.
Medication can help better a person’s well-being, but you can’t rely on the medicine alone to be an immediate cure for your mental illness. You have to put in work to help you reach a better place with your mental health. Within these past two years, I can honestly say I learned a lot about myself.
These are a few things I’ve found that help me with my anxiety:
- Reading. They help me get out of my own head and enjoy the beautifully written words found from someone else’s. In 2018, I read the 63 books in the span of the year and my goodness, there were so many stories that touched my heart and inspired me.
- Making a bookstagram and a blog. When I rediscovered my love for reading last year, I stumbled upon bookstagram as well as BookTube. I wanted to have a place where I could openly gush about books I loved too, so in March of 2018 I made an Instagram account that primarily focused on books and reading (known as a bookstagram). Once I found a sense of community within bookstagram (around the summer of 2018 I think!) I decided to start a blog as well. How I find this to be helpful with my anxiety is that I have places where I feel a connection with other people who I share a common interest with and we’re able to share things we love and care about with one another.
- Journaling. I think a lot (both in general and when I’m feeling particularly anxious) so I’ve found journaling to be an outlet where I can have a private place to pour all my feelings out and no one is going to see them but me. They’re out of my head and on to a page (however messy the handwriting gets!) and if I want to reflect on them at a later date, I absolutely can.
- Remembering to be kind to myself. This one’s not always an easy thing for me to accomplish. I am hard on myself when I’m unproductive or have days where I’m not in the best headspace or just generally in a slump. No one is perfect and able to get everything done within a day (regardless of how much we’d like to accomplish such a thing). When I get in these situations, I try to remember that even the simple things you do throughout the day matter. It serves as a reminder (for me at least) that while I couldn’t get everything I wanted done, I still achieved something.
I sincerely want to say that I appreciate and thank you all for reading about my mental health journey based upon my own experiences and the way I became knowledgeable on the subject matter. I know it’s not an easy subject for everyone to share their stories about, but I hope mine was able to help someone with getting to understand their own a little better.
I am a blogger who primarily focuses on book related content, but I also share pieces about my mental health journey and experiences I’ve had as a disabled person. When I’m not within the depths of social media (whether that be Twitter, Instagram, or my blog!), I enjoy writing, photography, watching Disney movies, and of course, reading!
Where to find me on social media:
Blog I share content such as book reviews/book related content, mental health related posts, writing related posts, and discussing my experiences as someone who is disabled!)
Instagram (where I share primarily book related content but may discuss my mental health in captions every now and again!)
Videos I watched while I was trying to understand my feelings/mental health:
(dodie has made an updated video discussing her experiences with derealization but at the time where I was trying to understand my own mental health, she thought she experienced depersonalization; the updated video.
Songs of dodie’s I find can be related to mental health (music is up to the interpretation of the listener; what I see these songs express could be completely different in your experience listening to them):
“Down” (I find this song to be relatable when I’m feeling particularly anxious and I know I need to do things, but my feelings make actually accomplishing anything seem impossible)
“When” (I think about the feelings towards her derealization dodie’s expressed across her social media in this song).
“Dear Happy” (the title pretty much explains my feelings about this song; dodie writes this as if it’s a message she’s sharing with her happiness)
“Secret for the Mad” (I see this song as dodie saying that while mental illness can bring you into the lowests of lows, these feelings don’t last forever and you will reach a better place with your mental well-being again).
“6/10” (when I find myself being overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to do or by my anxious feelings, this song reminds me that I’m not alone in these experiences).