It is Okay Not to Be Okay

My name is Casarah and I am a new employee at CARES. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with general anxiety and anxiety attacks. Growing up I never understood the jumble of feelings and fears I had running through my mind. My anxiety presented itself as constant fear. I remember as a fourth grader I had this horrible fear that my family was going to pass away in the night while I was asleep and that if we left my dog alone someone was going to come into our house to hurt her.

As I got older I began having anxiety attacks and fearing doing things as simple as going into the grocery store alone. For a long time I could not cope with my anxiety attacks and did not understand why they were happening to me; I was thriving in school and on multiple sports teams and still I felt all of these emotions haunting me. Constantly I was told ‘just relax’, ‘you’re fine’, and ‘it’s just a phase’. This led me to silently suffer and at one point turning to self-harm in order to cope. Through the guidance of my aunt and through writing poetry, I began to learn how to work through each emotion I was having and the fears I had. Slowly, I have become aware of the signs of when I am having an anxiety attack and how to calm myself and work through it; I often have conversations with myself aloud about why I am feeling a certain way and literally work through each jumbled emotion out loud. Still, I am learning to ask for help when I need it and realize that it is okay not to be okay.

Now as a member of CARES I feel empowered by my coworkers’ ability to recover out loud and own every aspect of who they are. I hope I can make an impact on others as they have on me.