Photo by Marc Steenbeke on Unsplash

Words by Gina | Age 22 

What mental illness(es) are you currently living with?

Currently, I’m living with anxiety.

What’s one thing you want others to know about your mental illness?

If there was one thing that I want people to know about anxiety it would be that it’s different from stress. Stress is the negative energy before a test or if you just realized you have three assignments due tomorrow. Stress comes and goes and is mainly situational. Our society uses the term “anxiety” a lot of times when they really mean “stress.” There’s a big difference.

Anxiety (for me) is this constant state of energy. Think of a soda can being shaken constantly. That’s how my body feels all of the time. Like, I have all of this energy that just is bottled up inside. It’s similar to holding in emotions but more related to energy. Not energy to go on a run per say but like constant worrying, constant thoughts…similar to the consistent shaking of a soda can.

Sometimes I have to sit and just like refocus my energy because there is so much of it going in so many different places. Not like ADD or ADHD though because for me it’s more about weeding through so many emotions and feelings rather than other tasks.

What’s one thing you’re seeking to unlearn about the mental illness(es) you live with?

As I was writing this blog post, it reminded me to take my medication for my mental illness! Medication is an important part of mental illness for many people. For me, it helps me feel balanced with the rest of the world. I can tell within 10 minutes of starting my day if I forgot to take my medication because I immediately feel off.

To be honest, though, I’m unlearning the stigma that is behind taking “store-bought” hormones as some call them. There are times where I wonder if something is wrong with me because I have to take store-bought medication for something that’s “all in my head” so to speak.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who loves a person living with a mental illness, and wants to support them?

To someone who loves a person with a mental illness, the piece of advice I would give is to be patient. There have been so many times when I can’t be patient with myself because my anxiety is getting the best of me. When I’m in those moments, I need someone who will more than likely just sit with me and wait until it passes, because it will. Also, some fresh baked cookies or ice cream don’t hurt either. 🙂

Visit Gina Mariano’s Twitter


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There’s someone that needs to hear that mental illness doesn’t define us. There’s a lot of noise out there about who we are and what we’re capable of. But, we get to speak for ourselves. That’s why this series exists. It’s a small but meaningful addition to Mental Health Awareness MonthStorytelling can break chains and make us feel less alone. Our truths can help others see the other side of a thing, of a person. Our stories can help someone feel a little more empowered, and a little more hopeful. Each series storyteller was brave enough to share a piece of their truth.

To view more stories from the series, visit the series homepage. 

Published by Sinclair P Ceasar III

Sinclair Ceasar is a speaker, podcaster, and higher ed professional committed to helping people live a better story, and be more hopeful. He sends weekly inspirational emails to over 1K readers each Monday. Email him at or connect with him via Twitter @Sinclair_Ceasar

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