Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

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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Learning to Love Yourself While Battling Depression #DayofLight

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The #DayofLight: Bringing Depression Out of the Dark is a movement aimed at bringing awareness to depression. Today those who have struggled with depression share their experiences and resources and stand together.

This is my story:

I can’t remember how old I was, maybe 7, when I witnessed my mother’s depression suffocate her.

I was only able to glance into her room, her brown body still in the bed, before the ambulance came. Though she survived, we never talked about what happened that day, but I knew. As the youngest of four I was often shielded from the dark realities of my single mother’s struggle to survive and her battles with depression. At that young of an age I didn’t understand why she acted the way she did – why she was cold, mean, unable to show me deep affection, why she prioritized her boyfriend over her children. And I realize now that my own battle with depression began through witnessing my mother’s struggle.

I didn’t need a medical provider to tell me that what I was feeling was more than an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I knew that the feelings that were taking over me were much deeper and scarier than just being sad.

Growing up we didn’t discuss feelings. My mother’s goal was to raise strong independent black children. We would grow up and soar and fly without needing help – without showing fear. When we didn’t act accordingly, there were severe consequences. So when these dark feelings grew within me, I acted as I was taught. I hid them, concealed them, kept moving forward with a smile on my face. Because showing any kind of weakness, especially as a black woman was unacceptable.

So I moved forward, on the outside a shining image of a strong single mother, helpful, attentive, outgoing, and happy. I gave all that I had to making other people happy that I had nothing left for myself. When I’d get home and peel off that mask, and looked at myself in the mirror I hated who I saw staring back at me. She was weak. She was fragile. She was suffering. She was fat. She was ugly. She couldn’t do anything right. I mean who would get pregnant at 19 with someone who didn’t even love her? Who would seek out men’s affection because she had never felt real love from her parents? Who would consider self-harm as an answer? Someone weak.

I hid my depression and later my anxiety attacks from everyone. No one knew that I was leading a double life. I couldn’t let the truth escape because I didn’t want to show how vulnerable and scared I was. I didn’t want people to think I was a basket case. I wanted people to believe that I was fine, that everything was just great. That that smile I wore during the day carried on at home. I had to conceal the truth. No one could know that I would sometimes spend weekends in bed crying thinking about death. No one could know that I’d drink myself into a stupor just so I could stop feeling so damn much. No one could know that I didn’t find pleasure in anything anymore. No one could know that I thought I’d be better off not being here.

Read the rest of “Learning to Love Yourself While Battling Depression #DayofLight” over on The Young Mommy Life.



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