What brought on my anxiety, what helped and what I wish I had known
It was early March 2020, and I felt on top of my game. I had recently completed my first full marathon and I was working out regularly. I felt physically strong and healthy. Home and work-life were going well too, contributing to my mental and emotional health. I felt the best I’ve ever felt.
But then, COVID hit and shortly afterwards, my world felt like it was crumbling down. I was no longer doing the things that gave me energy and joy. I found myself in bed and sad more often than I would like to admit. As an empath, the strain of COVID’s impact and other world events took a mental toll on my health.
Even in the summer when we visited the cottage and I should have been happily playing with my kids, all I wanted to do was lie in bed. My energy was low, and I just wanted to be alone. I soon realized that what I was feeling was anxiety. Something that I had experienced only a couple of times before in my life. Except this time, it festered much longer.
My “therapy” at the time was my blog and social media. I found it helpful to write down what I was feeling and share it with others. It helped me to normalize my feelings when I realized that I was not alone. Eventually, I began running again, which was always very therapeutic for me. I craved that alone time, especially since my kids were at home for the year doing virtual school. The endorphins from running also helped boost my mood. While I found ways to cope, my anxiety was there, on and off, for a year and a half.
Eventually, through some nudging by a friend, I finally decided to seek professional help online. I worked with a social worker that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I’ve been doing well since then and I’m happy to say that I haven’t experienced anxiety in over two months.
My one regret is that I didn’t seek out professional help sooner. I’ve recently learned about Lumino Health, a platform by Sun Life that helps you find health professionals in your area. You can search based on profession and location. And you can filter results by cost information, ratings and availability.
Another great feature of Lumino Health is the instant access to a variety of articles, stories and resources related to mental health. I’ve learned about accessing mental health care in Canada and now understand the differences between psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, and psychiatrists. I found out about the five most common types of mental health therapies and how to take care of yourself when struggling. I wish I had accessed this library of information early on in my mental health journey.
Through Lumino Health, you can also find groups, organizations and companies that can help support you on your mental health journey, like rated in-home trainers, meal kits, weighted blankets, support groups and even discounts on wellness products and services.
Looking back, Lumino Health could have been a game-changer for me during a challenging time. We all need to take charge of our mental health—something that I’ve been getting better at doing.
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