I'm going to blog about my mental health. I have no idea if this will be coherent, let alone good or helpful. How do you write about a feeling that only exists inside your head that can't survive the moment you express it aloud? I can only talk about my own axniety. Our current story-arc in PvP is based on those experiences.
It would start as an odd feeling. Nothing you could pin-point, just a sense that something was off. It might pass for a second, but there it is again. That can't be good. This isn't right. Something's happening. Is it my heart? Slowly the feeling rolls downhill, dread building upon itself like a terrible snowball until you're convinced utterly and with certainty that you're about to drop dead. Nobody around you knows it's happening. Nobody can see any outward signs of distress. You want to ask for help, but you don't know how. You're afraid to seem crazy, but the feeling keeps building and building. Your heart is pounding, your starting to feel hot and your body starts to tingle. Not a good sign. It's happening. You're about to die and you can't even ask for help.
I didn't know to call it anxiety. I didn't know it could be treated. I didn't know I could get help and things could be different.
I call my anxiety "my opponent." It was my rival, my adversary, actively trying to prevent me from quieting it.
Other's who had suffered and been treated advised me. My wife and my best friend finally got me to a doctor to talk about it. I had a panic attack in the examination room because I was so terrified to ask for medicine. You see, this was my opponent's last chance to stop me, to convince me I couldn't be helped. That it wasn't anxiety, but something far worse that the doctors would discover if I went in. He raised my blood pressure to alarm them. He sent me spiraling so I couldn't express myself clearly. He put me in tears so I couldn't speak at all.
My doctor put her hand on my shoulder and said "I've got you. It's going to be okay." Not in those exact words, but it's what she meant. And she did help me. Once I got on meds and talked to someone my entire life changed. It got better. It can most assuredly get better.
When you break a bone, you encase it in plaster so it can heal properly. When it's cold outside you put on a coat so you can stay warm. When you get an infection you take antibiotics. And if you have anixety, you can take an SSRI. You can talk to a therapist. You can try different medications until you find something that works. People get sick.
But instead of a disease of the blood or the skin or an organ it's our brain chemistry. It's not our fault. We're not crazy. We're just like everyone else. We're amazing, weird bags of chemicals and it's a miracle we exist at all.
Sometimes people get sick and to suffer alone would be a terrible thing.
I'm accessible. You can email me. mail(at)pvponline(dot)com. I'm on facebook and instagram, and you can message me there. You can stop by my booth when I'm at a show and talk to me about it. I want you to. If you're at a convention where we're exhibiting and you start to feel panicked come to us. We can give you a quiet place to sit for a while. Or we can help you get to somewhere quiet and safe.
And if you are thinking about self-harm or suicide I'm begging you to reach out to someone. Call the national hotline and talk to someone. 1-800-273-8255. Or if you know someone you think is suffering, don't be afraid. Ask them. Be there. Keep them safe, follow up.
I love you all, thank you for always taking care of me. Take care of each other and let me know how I can help.