Anxiety + OCD Survivor Takes Over Insta

This week for #freeyourmindfriday, Ariana, who lives with anxiety and OCD, is taking over our Insta stories to talk about her mental health journey. Check out her bio below!

I’m Ariana, I’m a 28-year-old mom and wife + I have severe anxiety and OCD. My mental health journey started when I was very young. But back then I was told I was “over-emotional and sensitive”. Looking back, I can pinpoint so many times in my youth where I was overwhelmed by my anxiety.

In my first year of college, I experienced my first true panic attack + even then just chalked it up to being “irrational and overwhelmed”. Then at 21, I lost my best friend in a tragic car accident + my OCD started to rear its ugly head. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I realized things weren’t adding up + I finally sought out therapy + was officially diagnosed. Looking back, I was suffering for years with something I didn’t have to. I never realized that it was a medical thing – a true hormonal imbalance that can be passed through genetics.

Through therapy, I was able to get my anxiety under control + start living my life again. But life got busy – I became an NFL cheerleader + then a mom + I stopped prioritizing my mental health. Then, 2020 hit like a brick. I was isolated at home all day with a toddler and had a constant fear of the world around us. My mental state tanked HARD.

I went back to therapy + realized that I was drowning + therapy alone wasn’t going to get me out. I was terrified to start medication but once I did, it was like someone had finally thrown me a life raft. But it wasn’t all perfect – I gained 15 pounds + started cycling into depression. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that something wasn’t right + we took the steps for me to change medications. If at first, you don’t succeed, try + try again.

Walking through life with anxiety and OCD is a journey every day, but I’m stronger for it.