The next time you are hanging out with a group of friends or at the store shopping, take a glance at the person to your left and the person to your right- one of you is battling with mental health. I want to dig into mental health today and what that looks like in my personal everyday life. If you don’t personally struggle with mental help please still keep reading! I guarantee that if you go back to that first line you can think of at least one person close to you who is that ⅓.
Let’s start off by giving you a better idea of my own personal battles. I am a trauma survivor. There was a point in my life where I felt like I was living in a movie. The events taking place were things I’ve never heard/seen in real life. Survivor is my word of choice because I walk around each day still carrying the pain and memories of my past. I am still able to say that I made it through those nightmares which is why I consider myself a survivor. Talking about mental health is tough for me. Because I have so many of my own wounds that are still so fresh. I’ll never come to you as giving advice or portraying that I am educated enough to give recommendations. My goals is to provide you with my own personal experiences so you never have to feel alone. I will also be a shoulder to lean on for any type of support I am able to provide you with.
Anxiety is the other demon that lives inside of me. As I’m typing this I’m literally trying to type as fast as I can to get this all out before my heart pounds out of my chest. Anxiety doesn’t have any boundaries. Meaning at anytime, anywhere it can hit you. Yesterday was a prime example. Monday mornings are my mornings to relax and be productive. After a long weekend of runs and meal prep, I get to take the morning off from the gym. I sleep in a little…which for me is sleeping past 6am, and then read over my blog post before it launches that morning. Well yesterday when I got up my mind was racing. I felt frantic and shaky most of the morning which made me super flustered. Then I had some technology issues from my website and I am totally not a tech person. My heart started racing more which then led me to become irritated. So now my mind is racing at 100mph along with my heart and I have no patience to tackle the tech problem. When it was time for me to get ready for the day I felt mentally and physically exhausted and it wasn’t even 8am. My drive to work that day was miserable. I couldn’t shake my anxiety and I refused to go into work with an unsettled mindset. I made the choice to focus on my breathing and not let my anxiety control my outlook for the day. After listening to calming music and getting my breathing under control, I was able to get a hold of my anxiety.
If you have someone in your life struggling with mental health this is for you. Your support is of the utmost importance! The support you provide is going to look different for each person. The most important thing to take way is this: be present. If you’ve noticed evident changes in someone whether they are-physical, emotional, or mental you’ve already accomplished something. Let them know that you care about them and will be there if they need anything. This may be as far as your support goes depending on the person, which is totally okay! You let them know that you care and provided them with the opportunity for an outlet. This will also set the groundwork for if they do chose to speak to you about what’s going on. If they reach out to talk-listen! I made a promise to myself back in 2010, when my cousin committed suicide, that no matter my relationship with a person, I will always lend a shoulder to lean on. My challenge to you is do the same. All it takes is sharing that you care! That could be sharing a friendly smile with a complete stranger or spreading sunshine to a friend you’ve noticed is looking for attention.
The crazy thing about mental health is that it affects everyone differently. I know so many people that battle depression, anxiety, bipolar…all of the above and I never knew until they told me their story. It blows my mind how deep we are able to bury things. What I’m here to tell you is STOP. Stop walking through your day internally miserable. Stop saying “everything is okay” when you know dang well that you’re screaming on the inside. Because you know what, you are your own worst enemy. The longer you dig that hole the harder it’s going to be to get out. It’s not going to be easy. But once you recognize that the road you’re going down is toxic you’ve already made a step towards progress. I’m writing this because this is one of my personal ways of releasing my pain. I don’t do it because it’s easy. I let it out because I’m not going back into that black hole. Each day I make baby steps towards managing my mental health. Best of all- you don’t have to do it alone! Your family and friends love you unconditionally and want nothing but happiness for you! If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to them I will ALWAYS be here for! We’re in this together, girl.