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.

World Suicide Prevention Day

I should have died 5 years ago, but it was like an actual hand pulled the gun away from my head and a voice told me to call my mom. And life got better. It didn’t get perfect, and sometimes it doesn’t feel easier. But I promise you, it’s worth it. You’re worth it.

Stay alive for me. Stay alive for your pets, your parents, your siblings, your job, whatever it is. But most of all, Stay Alive for yourself. Give yourself the chance to experience new things. You are loved and you are worth taking up space in this world.

I never thought I’d ever be able to go to college. People (mostly classmates/bullies) always told me I was stupid because I didn’t talk until the 8th grade. They told me I’d never be able to do certain things because I didn’t talk. They told me I was ugly, stupid, mute, castoff… Teachers didn’t want to help because I was too much work, guidance counselors sent me to the school nurse and even therapists, doctors said “well she just needs to talk.” I had a teacher even send me to the principal’s office because I was too terrified to answer her question in front of the class.

I wasn’t supposed to be happy. That’s what everyone wanted. They enjoyed seeing me fail because it made them look better. It made them feel better when I would cry in front of the class. I caused people frustration, people took offense, they called me “their special project” and didn’t mean it in a good way…

I’ll be 29 in less than a month. Do you think I thought I’d ever make it to 29? I didn’t think I’d make it to 20, and I sure as hell didn’t think I’d make it to 25.

I’m a junior in college. I’ll be a senior in April, and I’ll be done with my Bachelor’s degree program in November 2020. I’m proving so many people wrong and I have no plans to stop.

Yeah I’m in therapy every week, I’ve been to a mental institution a couple times, so what? It helps me. Those things helped make me strong and I live now for myself. For my dog. For those drives in my Jeep. For the day I can say I graduated college and made my parents proud.

And that is why I continue to fight.

Don’t give up hope. The battles you’re fighting today will make you stronger in the future.

#WorldSuicidePreventionDay

We Have To Put An End To These Mass Shootings…

Trigger warning… stay safe, friends.

We absolutely have to. Innocent people are dying because of mass shootings, more in the United States than anywhere else, because we’re simply not doing anything about it.

Are guns the issue? Yes. But do I believe mental health is more of the issue? Yes.

It’s so difficult to find a therapist and/or psychiatrist anywhere you go and if you do find one, they charge an arm and a leg.

It’s beyond time to fix this.

Get people the help they need.

Stop spreading the stigma surrounding mental health because YOU are making it worse.

YOU are making people feel ashamed of getting and asking for help.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, my friends. Normal, stable people don’t go around making plans to kill innocent people in public places where they should feel safe.

Those murderers are/were mentally ill.

The thing that gets me is that someone can be mentally ill, and people look down on them for that, which by the way is something they may not even be able to control. Then when that person asks for help, they get called crazy, they belong in the “looney bin” etc.

Someone is addicted to drugs, and they are looked down upon, and if they decide to detox, they get called crazy and a “crazy addict.”

The stigma that you’re spreading is making people feel like it is looked down upon to get help. They feel like they are worthless for going to a mental institution or going to therapy. They feel ashamed. They feel worthless. And that’s the opposite of how they should feel.

They should feel proud for asking for help. They should feel proud for starting to take control of their issue, whatever it may be.

People that don’t get the help they need turn to more extreme ways to deal with their pain; murder, in this instance.

Mental health is what we need to be talking about. As much as gun control sounds like the issue that needs to be addressed (and in some ways, it is), we have to focus on mental health as well.

The country as a whole is shoving it off to the side. Mental health only matters on certain days of the year, then the very next day nobody cares about it anymore.

Stop shoving it off to the side. Talk about mental health. Stop making people feel worthless for having to go to therapy. There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy!!

Be open. Share your story. You might be saving someone’s life. Stop condemning people for going to therapy.

That family member or friend that refuses to go to therapy? Talk with them. Don’t give up on them, and more importantly, do your best to keep an eye on them. They may be needing and wanting to ask for help, but they’re too ashamed to.

We have to do better, my friends.

Depression is real. Mental illness is real. Addiction is real (and is a disease, by the way).

If you’ve never experienced it, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean it’s not real or that you should talk down to people who battle with it daily.

To those in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. You’re in my thoughts and prayers tonight.

Stay strong.

Addiction

I’ve struggled with the thought of posting this because I have been told not to “look up to someone with addiction problems.”

Demi Lovato, though, is more than that. I don’t want to sound like a “fan girl” but I guess I just will. Demi Lovato has saved my life a few times. She’s open about her mental health, addiction being one of the main things. She was sober for six years and recently relapsed and went into the hospital for a possible overdose. Luckily she is okay, and I think about how life would change without one of my role models in it.

I know… “You’ve never even met her.” I realize that. But the cool thing about social media or even speaking out is that you don’t have to meet someone for them to have a major impact on your life or for you to impact someone else.

I honestly have no idea how to even continue because I’m so terrified of how people will react to me freaking out, crying, and worrying so hard about a celebrity. Celebrities are human too though and I think people forget that.

I remember when I was in group therapy, I would drive there every morning listening to “Warrior” by Demi Lovato because it would give me a sense of power before I started my day. I would sing the words to myself when I could and it would help me fight. I was so scared of dying, but I wanted to die. I know it doesn’t make sense, but it’s the truth.

I’m done sounding like a “fan girl” as someone has told me in the past.

Someone with an addiction is crying out for help right now. Are you going to help them, or judge them and ignore them? Despite what some may think, addiction is not a choice. Addiction is a mental illness and people need our help. It doesn’t matter who it is. Demi Lovato is in the news right now, so let’s send her uplifting messages, not messages that put her down or messages saying that you don’t feel sorry for her.

How in the world would that help anyone dealing with an addiction? The human species are supposed to be in this together; this life. So let’s help each other. Really.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction, please seek help. There is no shame. Those that do shame you do not matter. There are so many resources to get help, so please take that first step! You are worth it!

Please Stay Alive!

 

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I’m sitting here at the computer trying to figure out what I want or need to say. Here goes nothing…

We’re losing too many people to suicide. We’re not reaching out enough. We’re not supporting enough. If you’re supporting someone close to you to the best of your ability, great. But we still need to try to do more. I know that’s asking a lot, but they need us.
I’m one of those people that need support. Honestly, I think everyone is.
I’m not making sense, am I? My thoughts are all over the place.

The chaos feels normal to some people. It feels inviting. It feels…something. And most of the time, they…us…we don’t feel anything. I don’t know how else to explain it. It feels good to feel something. But when someone is close to suicide, or least when I almost did it myself, I felt like the chaos of what was happening was the only thing I deserved. It was the only thing that could satisfy the high I so craved for myself.
Nobody should crave it so bad that they feel like suicide is the answer. Because simply put, suicide isn’t the answer. I want everyone reading this to read that again.

Suicide is not the answer.

Those cliché things you hear or read might be cliché, but they’re true. It sounds corny, but it’s not because those clichés might save someone’s life. So, say them to your loved one suffering. Tell them, “You are loved. You are strong. You are valid. You are worthy.”
The thing is, these days, those “fake supporters” are everywhere. They only care until someone dies by suicide. Then in a few days, they don’t care anymore. When a celebrity dies by suicide, they care only that day. They post all the Facebook statuses they can about mental health, retweet all those tweets, but then the next day, they’re nowhere to be found. We can’t care for only one day. We need to care every single day, every single minute of every single day. We can’t stop caring about something as serious as suicide. It’s taking too many of our loved ones.
Stop being in a competition all the time and love everyone around you. Stop judging people and just love them. No matter what color. No matter what religion. No matter what sexual orientation. No matter what they look like or sound like or what music they listen to or what age they are. Just love them.
And while you’re loving them, support their mental health. Everyone around you, whether you know it or not, is having problems. Try to look for the signs if they’re not showing them on the top layer. We’re losing too many of our loved ones.

Suicide is an assassin. It’s a monster.

People would rather dance with their demons than try to live their beautiful lives because they’re not getting the support they need.
There are people in depression so deep that they don’t even think to ask for help. They need us. They need us to ask them how they’re doing. They need us to make them laugh.
We have to show we care. We have to do better.

If you’re one of those people who need someone to ask how you’re doing, let me ask you… how are you? How’s your day going?
I want everyone to know that if you need anything, please come to me. Yes, I have my own problems, but that doesn’t mean I can’t listen just to give you someone to vent to. You can call the suicide hotline or the crisis text line, too. They’ve saved my life at one time.

Suicide isn’t the answer, friends.

Please stay alive.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

We’re Not Crazy!

cra·zy

ˈkrāzē/

informal

adjective

1. mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.

I hate the word crazy when it comes to mental health. It’s the epitome of mental health stigma. People believe that just because someone has a mental illness, that they are “crazy and will kill someone.” While obviously that has happened in the past, it doesn’t ring true for a lot of the mental health community.

Most people that suffer from a mental illness, like myself, do not want to hurt or harm others. I can’t speak for others on some of this, but for me, the only person I’ve ever thought about harming was myself

I’ve been asked (indirectly, might I add) to stop working with children at my church because of my mental illness. I’ve been called many names, including “batsh*t crazy.” I’ve been stigmatized, and I admit: I don’t know how to handle it.

I try to put it in the back of my mind, but it always makes it way back to the front. I try to play it off like it didn’t or doesn’t bother me, but it always did and continues to.

Depression is such a nightmare. Not even just depression, though. Every single mental illness diagnosis in the world is a 100% NIGHTMARE.

Last year when I was talking to my doctor, I told him what was going on with me and then told him, “I hate the word crazy, but I know I sound crazy when I tell you all of what’s going on with me.” He then proceeded to tell me, “You’re not crazy. You’re a regular, normal person who is going through a hard time.” That hit me like a brick wall and I’ll never forget it.

I remember walking out of his office trying not to cry because I hate crying in front of people. But when I got to the car, I let it out. Here was someone who I had just met only a month or two prior to that visit that didn’t think I was full blown crazy. 

People I had known for years or all my life called me crazy, but not Dr. B. He showed empathy. I’ll never forget what he said to me. I remember even telling my mom what he said and after a few seconds of silence, she said, “Wow.” Neither of us knew how to handle it. I had never heard such a kind, gentle statement made to me about my mental illness.

I’m not crazy. We’re not crazy. We’re humans with a problem invisible to the blind eye. But we need help just like someone with cancer needs help. Obviously different kinds of help. But both are invisible. Stop treating us like we’re not human.

We’re not crazy.

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