Today and every day, we need to #breakthestigma because we've all had our moments of insanity. For most of my life, my moments were filled with excruciating anxiety. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with anxiety.

Moments when, out of nowhere, I would be overcome with fear and dread. I would feel as if I couldn't breathe, my heart would race, my stomach would become nauseous and I would have the urge to run around screaming and yelling.

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My anxiety issues are part of my earliest memories. Starting at 3 or 4 years old, I have vague memories of dread and nervousness. Moments I can remember feeling like a couldn't breathe. Not sleeping at night as anxiety grabbed a hold of my throat ad kelt me in its relentless grip.

As I entered school, I learned how to hide my anxiety. I didn't want anyone to know how I was feeling inside for fear they would think I was crazy. I thought I was the only one, so I held it in. I'm talking 23 hrs of dread and fear a day.

It was debilitating. Sometimes I  was afraid to leave my home. It was so bad I thought about ending it all by taking my own life. I once sat on my bed with a gun in my hand and another time I sat on the floor of my closet with a bottle of pills.

There were many times I should have stayed home from school. No, I didn't have a fever. I wasn't vomiting or suffering from diarrhea. But, I was in need of time at home. Time to regroup and time to get myself together. Trying to hide my mental illness, just made it worse.

I am so incredibly happy and proud to live in Kentucky right now. My home state has done something remarkable and way over due for kids with mental heath issues.

On January 18th, 2022, the Kentucky House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would require schools to recognize mental health as a reason for an excused absence.

According to Lex18,

<p><a class="Link" href="" target="_blank">House Bill 44</a> was sponsored by state Representatives Bobby McCool, of Paintsville, and Lisa Willner, of Louisville. The bill was recommended last year by high school students within their respective communities: Cole Butcher of Johnson County, Kameron Julian of Jefferson County, as well as Amira Bowman of Marion County.</p><p> </p>

Now, hopefully, other states will follow suit and recognize the need for this type of bill, nationwide. Let's help our kids by teaching them how to take care of themselves, not only physically, but mentally, too.

I am happy to say, at 55, I feel happy, healthy, and stronger than ever.Still, at times, simple daily struggles will sometimes throw me off. I realize that, even though I will always have Anxiety/Panic Disorder, I CAN manage it. I've learned to recognize when I need to take time to focus on my mental health and luckily, I have a job that encourages their employees to take time for mental health days.

Don't let the bully of anxiety rule your life. Find out ways to manage your Anxiety HERE!

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