7 years.

7 years since I started my mental health journey.
7 years since my “meltdown.”
7 years since that suicide attempt.
7 years since I was checked into a mental health facility for the first time that would change my life.
7 years.

I’m not free from depression, but I’m here.
I’m not free from anxiety, but I’m here.
I’m not free from the OCD, but I’m here.
I’m not free from the eating disorder, but I’m here.

But one thing I am free from…. the overwhelming and overpowering need and want to die.

To leave everything behind. To leave everyone behind.

Each year that passes gives me more strength for the next year.

I’ve been tested, I’ve been ridiculed, I’ve been mocked, I’ve been treated like a criminal, I’ve been judged, I’ve been bullied.

But I’ve been strong.

No one can take that away from me.

Here’s to writing something new next year.

Is This Our New Normal?

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Is this the new normal?

There’s no way to know that, but there is hope in knowing that this virus will die down. One thing that is important to remember: if we want to flatten the curve, we have to listen to the guidelines given to us. There are a lot of people out of work, so this causes a lot of anxiety for the future, but especially for the present. We are in a time when we do not know what tomorrow will be like; will it be better and the curve is flattened, or will it be bad with a lot more deaths?

These thoughts can definitely cause some anxiety. That’s normal. So if you’re experiencing some anxiety, stress, depression, etc., find some positive coping mechanisms to help you get through the days. For some, that might be tending to a garden and for others, it might be playing video games. There’s a lot of hobbies or things to do. Find something you have been wanting to try and do it and remember it’s okay if you’re not good at it in the beginning. Don’t let that stop you from trying. Do what it takes to keep your mental health as balanced as possible.

Some things I do are play video games, read books, watch movies/tv shows, go for walks with my dogs, write, go for rides with the dogs, sit outside and listen to music and/or natural nature sounds, and take pictures of blooming flowers. These are my regular hobbies, but especially while quarantined, they help keep my mind off of any negative thoughts that may be trying to develop.

Practicing meditation can be extremely beneficial as well. Meditation can be anything that puts your mind at ease: mindfulness meditation, prayer, even relaxing on your front porch.

It’s okay to admit that you might be experiencing anxiety. It makes you human. But making sure to distract yourself from those anxious thoughts, taking proper precautions to help flatten the curve, and even getting help from a professional are things you can do to help reduce those anxiety levels. Also, making sure to only share accurate information regarding the virus can help reduce anxiety levels.

The CDC has a lot of great information and list of resources to help you during this difficult time. Read it here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

This way of living does not have to be our new normal. If we take those proper precautions to reducing the spread of this virus, we can get back to living our normal lives. Remember, we’re all in this together.

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.