These Shoes

These shoes have taken me to the place where I would get the diagnoses that would change my life. They have taken me to the place where I have met people that didn’t want the best for me; they wanted to take advantage of me, to see me fail.

These shoes have taken me to places I never want to go again. They have taken me to places where I’ve felt pain, where I’ve felt anxiety, where I’ve felt stuck.

These shoes have taken me to places where I would have to share my feelings with complete strangers and hope that they didn’t judge me. They have taken me to places where I’ve waited and waited to feel whole again, to feel something, anything at all.

But…

These shoes have taken me to places that I recover and try my best to feel significant. They have taken me to the place where I can speak my soul and help it to heal. They have taken me to the place where I can feel free, where I can feel whole, where I can feel human.

People can judge us. They can slander our name. They can look down on us because we’re different than them… but they can’t take our soul. They can’t take our voice. They don’t know our lives or how we live, why we do the things we do. What we have fought for up until this very moment.

These shoes are dirty, beat down, worn out… but nobody can take away what they’ve been through. What I have been through.

Keep fighting for you and I’ll keep fighting for me.

Campfire Thoughts

Campfire with my boys

I’m sitting in front of a campfire with my two dogs next to me, I’m looking up at the night sky and I see the stars, I hear the crickets, I see the fireflies… and nothing could ever beat this feeling.

I haven’t felt this happy and content, stress free, no depression, no anxiety, since 2016 when I sat on the beach literally by myself in Okinawa, Japan. It’s a feeling I didn’t think I’d ever feel again. It’s a feeling I thought was just a once in a lifetime type of thing.

I say all of this because I’ve been depressed lately. It started right around my birthday, which is right on time, because I always start getting those holiday blues around my birthday, which is in early October. I didn’t think I’d get out of it. I kept up with my homework, but that’s about it. I was able to have enough energy to hike just once since it’s cooled off. I’m behind on my chores, like cleaning the house. I’ve just been depressed.

I sat at my desk last night and stared at the sand from the beach in Japan I went to (I collect sand from all the beaches I visit), and I thought to myself, “What if I never feel that feeling again? What if I’m stuck forever in this endless cycle of depression?” I can have great days, but it never fails that the bad days happen a day or two after. I have felt stuck in that endless cycle for a long time now. But that day at the beach in Japan proved to me that I can feel like I’m floating and feel like I have no stress or worries, even if only for an hour. But I always thought I’d never feel it again.

Tonight, while I sit around this campfire, I am feeling it again. There’s no better feeling in the world. Tomorrow, maybe it goes back to normal. Or maybe I can live my life like I’m on that beach or I’m sitting in front of a campfire.

It’s time to start living, man. I have to or I’ll feel stuck in this endless cycle forever. It’s time to start traveling, hiking more, camping more, writing more! I’m feeling so inspired to just… write. Everything. No matter how real or honest it gets. I just want to write. I want to live. I want to breathe and not feel trapped. Things are changing, my friends. Keep up with me or get left behind, because I’m not slowing down.

For Mama, on Mother’s Day

I could write an entire book on my mother because the things that she does for me, my dad, my sisters, and my nieces and nephews are unmeasurable. I won’t write a book (this time), but what I wanted to write today is too long for a Facebook post or Twitter update.

Since before I was born, my mom has worked her butt off to support the family. My dad was severely injured in 1989 in a construction accident, so it left my mom being the only one to work. Now, I could go into a whole different book about how amazing my dad is, but I won’t do that either. At least not until Father’s Day. 😉

I could also talk about how much she’s done for this entire family, but for this particular blog, I’ll write only about what she’s done for me. Hopefully my sisters and dad are okay with that this time. 🙂

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From the time I can remember, my mom always supported me, backed me up, stood up for me, talked for me… everything. See, I was born with some things wrong with my brain; a chemical imbalance. I was diagnosed with severe social anxiety and major depression, but those diagnoses didn’t even come about until I was 23. So for 23 years, despite my mom not knowing what was wrong with me, she still supported me, stood up for me, and talked for me.

It was rough, and I only know that now as an adult. I didn’t know what I was putting my mom through when I refused to get out of the car in middle school. I didn’t know what I was putting my mom through when the guidance counselors and teachers and principals called her and talked to her about how I wouldn’t speak to them. My mom went through so much when I was growing up. Keep in mind, she was doing all this while helping my dad with his injuries; doctor’s appointments, surgeries. My three sisters had their own lives that she helped them with as well.

To be straightforward, my mom is truly a super hero. Wonder Woman. Whatever you want to call her. And I mean that sincerely.

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We have been to concerts together, horse races, museums, a million road trips, hikes, and we even travelled the world together. She taught me to look at the sky for the moon and the stars and just stare at it in wonder. She taught me to always be myself, and to stay strong despite what was happening around me. She taught me to breathe during panic attacks and remind me that I would be okay. She taught me to love animals, to appreciate things, and to love God because He loves me.

As a college student, I started college because I wanted to prove the bullies that called me stupid all of my life wrong. But now two years in to my degree, I don’t care about proving them wrong. I want to prove my mom right, because she always told me I was smart and worth more than what anyone was calling me. I want to make my mom proud, I want to prove to her that all that stuff I put her through in my younger years wasn’t a waste and that she made me into the person I am today.

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The countless doctor’s appointments, taking me in for surgeries and ER visits last year, picking up my medications from the pharmacy, being active in how my therapy sessions went… all of that does not go unnoticed, I promise you. Mama, you deserve the world, but until I can give that to you, I hope all of this is okay.

Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for loving Daddy through sickness and in health.

Thank you for loving my sisters and their husbands and all of their children. I’m positive you’re the best grandmother in the world and I believe they’d all agree with me.

Thank you for loving Finn, helping me through the time when I was sure I was going to lose him.

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Thank you for everything; the things that I notice, the things that I don’t notice or even know about, and the things I take for granted.

Thank you for all that you’ve sacrificed.

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You and Daddy have made an amazing family and I hope you know how much you’re loved.

I love that I am half of you. I love that people recognize how amazing you are, because you are!

Thank you… for everything.

Happy Mother’s Day.

2018/2019… let’s do this

(Trigger warning)

2018 was a big year for me, physically and mentally. I can’t say it was all good, as I lost 6 people within my family and friend circle. I don’t think I’ve ever lost that many people in one year. It’s been a heartbreaking year, an eye-opening year, and a victorious year. I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished. I went into 2018 with a different mindset that I had never had before. I honestly still have no clue where the motivation came from, other than working my butt off in therapy. I didn’t realize my mindset was changing until it hit me like a brick wall.

The year didn’t start off great; my uncle passed away on January 1. I wasn’t as close to him as I had been in my younger years since we lived a state away, but it was still a challenging time. My mother lost her brother, my cousins lost their father. We are now upon the first anniversary of his passing and I know it’s not easier for anyone. In July, I also lost my great uncle. It’s been a rough year for my family.

In previous years, my “new year’s resolution” always included losing weight, but it never worked out because, well, I never worked out. I would work out or diet for maybe a week, maybe two, then go back to my old habits. This year, that would change. I couldn’t lose weight on my own, so I talked to my doctor and she recommended weight loss surgery. I went for it and made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon. After 3 months of preparation, dieting, and exercise, I had the surgery in August. I haven’t lost weight at the pace I would have liked, but I’ve still lost weight and I’m okay with that. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m still motivated to get the weight off.

As for the people I’ve lost this year, it was rough. I lost a few close friends and two family members. One of them, though, hit me like nothing has ever hit before.

I started my mental health journey in 2014, and I won’t get into details with that, because I’ve talked about it in previous posts. I was checked into a mental hospital and then immediately started group therapy after I was discharged. The first person that talked to me when I walked up to the door was named Katy, and she ended up becoming one of the most important people I’d ever meet in my life.

There were times during therapy and even outside of therapy that she would talk me through it and help me through it. I remember one day in therapy that I was called on to speak, and I ended up crying… hard. I couldn’t get through what I was trying to say. Katy sat next to me every day, and on this particular day, she looked at me and said, “I promise you that nobody here is going to judge you, and everybody here loves you, including me. I’m right here. Just talk to me.” Those words helped me get through the duration of my time in group therapy.

I learned that she had a lung disease when I would talk to her everyday, but I didn’t know how bad it was. She passed away this year, in June. The bad thing for me is that I didn’t find out until July. I missed her funeral, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I didn’t get to tell her how much she meant to me. It was heartbreaking. I still think about her and cry. I have never grieved over anyone else as hard as I have grieved over her.

As much as her passing affected me, I didn’t let it slow me down. I couldn’t. I know she would want me to keep working hard on my mental health, so I have. I have progressed, I think, a lot in therapy. I’m working my butt off daily to stay alive. Everybody has bad days, including me, but I get through them. Finn (my dog) is definitely a huge help with that. I’ve accomplished so much mentally, but also physically. I made a lot of progress in school. I’ve been getting out of the house more, but one of the main goals I have for myself is to get out even more. I’ve got so much planned; hiking, dog park visits, walking trails, yard work, and even just sitting outside getting more fresh air.

Health wise, I am going to continue to take care of myself. For so many years, I put my health on the back burner because I hated myself that much. I wanted to die so bad that my life didn’t matter that much. But now, I feel like I need to stay alive, and I want to stay alive. Some days are very difficult, and I still have suicidal thoughts from time to time, but I don’t feel as if I would act upon them now. It’s even kind of crazy to think about because I got so used to thinking I would be better off dead.

Another goal is to blog more! I’ve had to take a few months off from blogging, but I’m back at it. I felt like if I had writer’s block, then it was going to happen whether I wanted it to happen or not, and I didn’t try to force anything.

With all of that being said, I want to know how your year was and how you want 2019 to be. If you had a bad year, it’s okay. Not everyone is going to have a good year. And its okay to have bad days! Even if you have perfect mental health (and no one does), everyone has bad days. Try your hardest to bounce back the next day. I know it’s easier said than done, trust me. Depression is no joke at all. But stay strong for me, for your family, for your friends, your pets, your spouse, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, but most of all, stay strong for yourself. Because you’re worth staying strong for. You’re worth the life that the universe gave you. You matter.

Happy new year, and let’s have a great 2019.