Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

Lies My Mental Health Tells Me

Depression.

Anxiety.

PTSD.

OCD.

Intrusive thoughts.

Trichotillomania.

My name is Alexandra and I suffer from mental illness.

I have suffered from mental illness since I was a child. Now, at age 30 I am unpacking my trauma and understanding how and why mental illness came knocking at my door. Mental illnesss is a liar and has altered my thoughts in ways I never could have imagined. I am plagued with negative thoughts and can not trust what I think anymore.

I hope to #BreakTheStigma surrounding mental illness by providing a honest look at the lies my mental health tells me on a daily basis. My mental illness has kicked me down and made me cry and bleed. It’s impact is felt in all aspects of my life and rattles my soul to the core.

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2015: The Year I Laid my Burdens Down (Part Two)

2015-

 

If you didn’t get a chance, be sure to check out -part one- of this post which was featured yesterday!

Deciding to face myself and a turbulent past was scary and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. It has been a process of self-love, acknowledgment and grief. When I was cracked open is when the breakthrough happened. I didn’t know how to take care of myself before, it was wildly uncomfortable. I learned so much through conversations with friends and mentor Tara of The Young Mommy Life about the necessity of prioritizing self care and the harsh consequences when you don’t.

In 2015 I laid my burden down and as a result I’ve experienced immense growth. I’ve uncovered a softer more vulnerable me that is anxious (of course) to see life through a new lens. And for this opportunity I will forever hold 2015 close to my heart.

I couldn’t have been able to begin to lift myself up out of the trenches without constant support. It began at home with my daughter and boyfriend. It spread to friends close by and online and even strangers. I hung my burdens for all to see and instead of a pity party or further shame they ALL embraced me. To feel love and warmth when you don’t feel loveable is something magical. I am thankful for the kindness of my network for showering me with support in my darkest time. It’s something that I will never ever forget. In a world full of so much hate I was reminded that kindness will always win.

I look at the emotional and mental journey I’ve taken in just four months and I’m so proud that I decided to change my trajectory for myself and ultimately my family. Living in a world of shame, guilt and self-hate benefitted no one and it was a horrible dark place to live. Through this process I lost myself as well as friends. And learned a very important lesson: if you don’t invest in YOU don’t expect anyone else to invest in you. Finding what success looks like for me both personally and professionally cannot come without investment, love and respect for ME. It starts with me. Change starts with each one of us deciding to make a better tomorrow.

I am PROUD that I am choosing this journey. It’s not over yet, but for the first time in a long time I’m looking forward to what my future can offer now that I’ve decided to lay my burdens down.



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2015: The Year I Laid my Burdens Down (Part One)

2015-I’ve begun this post a dozen times. Each time all I was able to convey was negativity and loss (which I experienced a ton in 2015). Determined to share more than just the bad stuff I’d immediately erase what I’d written and stare blankly at my computer screen. So here I am. Again.

Over the past year and especially the past four months I have been forced to lay my burden down and see through the years of hurt and pain that I’d tried so hard to lock away. Hurt from my mother’s neglect, my father’s absence, my daughter’s father’s inconsistency, a dysfunctional family, and my flaring anxiety and depression. Years and years of unresolved shit that I chose not to work through. Biggest mistake ever. The stress mounted over the years and manifested into OCD, insomnia, extreme irritability and climaxed this fall when my soul just couldn’t carry the load anymore. I understandably cracked under the pressure I put on myself. In August and September all hell broke loose. I lost it. I took a leave of work as a result of the stress taking a toll on my vision and was diagnosed with swollen optic nerves -and- retina fluid and scarring along with an official diagnosis of extreme anxiety, depression and PTSD. I haven’t been able to see clearly since the middle of August and the countless Doctors I’ve seen since then don’t think it’s likely my vision will fully correct itself – even with painful eye injections and medication.

You can imagine that raging anxiety coupled with depression and vision issues didn’t make for a good combination. I spent most days for a solid month in my bed with my covers drawn up to my chin unable to help myself. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to help my daughter with her homework. I didn’t want to cook dinner. I didn’t want to watch TV. I didn’t want to see friends. It was one of the lowest points of my life – I had no fight left in me. It was the first time I tasted defeat and it was awful.

It was as if I was living someone else’s life. See, I always thought I was destined for greatness. That there was a special spark lodged deep inside that carried me through the low points in life shielding me. Giving me endless strength. When I lost hope I was unable to see that light because I made a choice to only see the darkness and hurt. It clouded my judgement and I became lost in my own unproductive thoughts. I felt so alone. If I wanted to survive…if I wanted to thrive I had no choice but to lay some of my burdens down. And so I did.

Come back tomorrow for Part Two of today’s post! :)



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