Clinched Fists

I almost didn’t write this month. It’s been a busy month, with vacation, my nieces and nephew coming to town, and of course school. So I figured I could skip a month. What’s the harm, right?

The thing is, when I started this blog, I promised myself I would never skip a month. The reasoning behind that is simple: I start things and then when it gets too tough, I quit. I hate when I do it, but I keep letting myself do it.

I have been in school for only one term, which is ten weeks, and I have begged my mother and even myself to let me quit when it got too difficult. But I didn’t. If I had quit in the first term in the first sign of difficulty, how pathetic would I be? I had made this a huge deal to myself, and friends and family. It was this big deal and everyone was excited for me. If I had let myself quit only 3 weeks in, really… How pathetic would I be?

Now I’m not saying I’m not going to want to quit later on. But I am saying that it won’t and can’t happen. I have too much on the line. I want so desperately to be a mental health counselor, so when I take the needed steps to do that, why would I let myself quit? 

I think as humans, our brains are wired to want to quit. Or to get out. It’s a scary situation, so our brain wants out. Rather, it is perceived as a scary situation. That’s what anxiety is, too. Our brain perceives this situation as scary, so it wants out. It needs that escape plan.

Does this make sense? I feel like I’m only rambling an incoherent mess. Most of these blogs, I am. It’s all just a mess from the inside of my racing brain.

I think the purpose of this blog is to remind myself and you to not quit. Life gets tough, it knocks us down, kicks us while we’re down there, and laughs in our face. It’s a bully. But we have to wipe away the blood, stand back up, and clinch our fists even tighter. Will it be difficult? Of course. But can we do it? Yes.

If you get nothing from my blogs, please get this: I am in your corner. I am cheering you on, and when you fall, I’ll encourage you to get back up. We’re all in this life together, so why not cheer each other on? 

Dear Future Me

Dear future me,

Therapy is going okay. We learned a lot in yesterday’s session, and cried a lot. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Remember when we went to Japan to visit family, and then ended up falling in love with the ocean again? I’m hoping to get the coordinates of where we were standing tattooed either on my heart or my forearm. Wherever it is, look at it. Close your eyes and remember the sound of the waves, the air on your face, the sand on your feet. Remember that feeling.

Week 5 of term 1 of school just started. Exciting right?? It’s been tough since we’ve been out of school for 8 years. Whenever you read this, remember how hard you worked. How you beat your own odds. Keep working hard.

Finn is doing great. He’s really starting to warm up to us and cuddle with us. We’ve had him for 5 months now, and he’s already an accomplished service dog. Whenever you read this, give him a big hug and kiss from past me.

I know you lost a couple of best friends in recent years, but don’t let that stop you from making new friends. You have some close friends already, even on the internet, and they are great! I hope you’re still friends with them, and I hope you met a couple of them since you’re in the future. Whenever you read this, tell them past me says hello!

I want to tell you a quote from one of our favorite television shows, One Tree Hill. “Most people are stronger than they know. They just forget to believe it sometimes.” If you’re going through something terrible right now, close your eyes and think of this quote. Listen to the waves. You are strong. You’ve proved it time and time again. Don’t stop proving it to yourself.

Love,

past me

 

 

How I Got My Service Dog, Part I

finn sd

I’m sitting in my living room, watching my dog play with his brothers. They are wrestling and playing tug of war with a now unstuffed toy, growling and just having fun with each other.

I rescued Finn from the dog pound 4 months ago. I’ve watched him grow from nervous all the time to feeling comfortable and confident. He is everything I ever wanted in a dog and more. He was perfect for me the minute I saw him.

Let’s start from the beginning.

For a long time now, maybe a year, I’ve wanted a service dog. I didn’t have the means or money to afford one; it ranges from $1,000 to even $30,000 for a service dog from a professional service dog trainer. Obviously that is way out of my price range.

I did some research. I learned that I could train my own service dog! I went months trying to convince my parents to let me have a dog so that I could train him. They would say no, and I would try again later. In November of 2016, my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I, of course, told her I wanted a service dog. She didn’t say anything, but I assume it was because she didn’t know her answer yet, or that she wanted to surprise me.

All of a sudden one day, she told me I would get a service dog.

On December 8, 2016 (yes I remember the date), my dad and I went to the Alexandria Animal Shelter. My parents both said that I could get a male dog. When we went in, the shelter employee showed us the male dogs. I, being an animal lover and wanting to save all animals from the animal shelters, wanted to rescue all of them. But of course, I could only have one.

I loved all of them, but now I had to decide which one to adopt. Behind me, the females were all barking, trying to get my attention. I was an emotional wreck, having to pick one dog out of all those adorable, yet unhappy, dogs.

I turned around to try to console the females, thinking it was a realistic task to perform. At the very end of the female side, closest to the wall and right behind me, was a dog that I instantly fell in love with. But the dog was a female, right? The shelter employee surprised me and said, “We ran out of room on the male side, so we had to put that one on the female side. It’s definitely a boy, though.”

The dog and I locked eyes, and I knew he was the one. His name was Henry. I told the shelter employee that this dog was the one I wanted to adopt, so we got the paperwork done, I paid, and we were on our way.

I renamed him Finn, a name I had picked out a few days prior, despite what the dog I would adopt looked like. It turns out the dog I adopted looked just like a Finn.

Finn sleeps in my bed right next to me, and if he decides I move around too much in my sleep, he goes to his own bed. When any of us come home, he has the most adorable little growl/bark that he only does when he’s super excited. He cuddles up to me on the couch, and lets me kiss him. In the beginning, that made him nervous. But now, he accepts it and even sometimes kisses me back.

When he rides in the car with us, he will put his head on the shoulder of whoever is driving, and he trusts us enough now that he knows he’s not going to the shelter again.

When I put his service dog vest on, he knows he’s going somewhere with me, and that alone excites the heck out of him.

He’s in training right now to be a full on professional service dog, and I will talk about that in part two of his story.

I love this dog more than I could ever describe.

I didn’t rescue Finn, he rescued me.

 

 

Stronger Than A Lion

Depression is a demon. It lives inside of us. Sometimes it’s sedentary, but when it’s awake, it holds a death grip on us. A chokehold.

Is there any way to get it to truly let go?

True, medicine helps. But we have to stand strong. We have to get up, look it in the face, and say, “You hit like a punk.”

We don’t run away. We stand up to it and spit in its face!

You’re saying to yourself, “But what if I can’t?”

You can. You’ve done it before because you’re still here. You’re alive. You’ve beat it. You can do it again. You’ve made it so far and I’m so proud of you!

Keep fighting. Keep staying strong.

You take the hits, but you’re not defeated. You’re not weak. You’re stronger than a lion. Get up and fight back! Get up and stand strong!

You can do this. We can do this.

We are an army. We are warriors.

Depression is our enemy, and it’s strong, but together, we’re stronger.

Stay strong. Put on your armor.

Let’s fight.