A Quick Thank You

When I started writing this blog a few months ago I wasn’t really sure of what my intentions were. I didn’t really have a plan or an end goal, I just had thoughts in my mind and feelings I wanted to put into words. 

Three months later and I still feel the exact same way, but I am so glad I started it. I am so so thankful to have people in my life that have taken the time to read these confused, emotional, often poorly-written words. I would have never ever guessed ANYONE would look at this blog. And never in my wildest dreams would I have thought anyone would reach out to me to say such thoughtful things after reading it. 

Sharing such vulnerable parts of myself has been terrifying, but it has been shockingly therapeutic so far. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg for me, but if you are considering doing something similar, I highly highly suggest it. You’ll be surprised how many people genuinely care, and you’ll be even more surprised how many people can relate.

#WorldMentalHealthDay is Cool!!!!!!!!

Although I’ll probably post this tomorrow (aka Tuesday when
you’re most likely reading it), today is World Mental Health Day. Coincidentally,
when I was falling asleep last night I was reflecting on the changes in my
mental health recently. So what better time to write about it than today!!

Let me start by saying, today I tweeted about how important
I think it is to try to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness. I said
something along the lines of “seeking treatment/medication literally changed my
life this year and it can change yours too”. First off, I’m going to elaborate on
this concept later in this post but, I want to touch on the fact that I don’t
really think therapy/medication is a cure-all. I also don’t think it is an
immediate fix, nor do I think it works for everyone. I also mildly exaggerated the
fact that it “changed my life” to emphasize the points I was making on Twitter.
I think every day is different and every person struggles/copes with mental
illness differently. For me, I have good days and I have bad days. But the major
point I wanted to make via Twitter was that if you are struggling or think you
might be struggling with anything related to your mental health, you should
speak up and seek help! I can say from experience that not saying anything is guaranteed
to make the problem worse in the long run. Two-thirds of people struggling don’t
do anything!! That is CRAZY to think about. But also, I was that person for so
long! So my tweets were more geared towards those people that are silently
trying to cope and have yet to ask for any help.

So I have been taking medication for my anxiety/depression
for a few months now. At first, like I said before, I was pretty hesitant to
try it. And in the beginning, it had little to no positive effects for me. But
last night, as I was falling asleep, I was thinking about the past couple
months since I started taking my medication. I have still cried, still felt
anxious, still felt alone, and still felt helpless, yes. But

1.      
How many times have a thought about killing
myself? Drastically less than before!

2.      
How many times have I felt so empty that I didn’t
think I needed to be here anymore? Not as many as pre-medication!

3.      
How often have I felt motived and genuinely excited
to see friends? So many more times than before!

4.      
How often have I felt more optimistic about my
life and future? Waaaay more than I had in the recent past!

I know I am still
early in the medication process, but I’m grateful to be in a better place now
than I used to be.  

I can’t really pinpoint the first few times I realized I was
struggling with anxiety or depression. In a lot of senses, it was just always
part of me. I was always a very anxious, worried, self-conscious kid. I think
my anxiety only really started to become an issue when my depression came into
the picture. I have always felt emotions very strongly, but I think my depression
started to creep in during college. In high school, yes I felt overwhelmingly
sad sometimes, but I could always draw a connection as to why I was feeling
that way. In college, it wasn’t that simple. Over the past 5 or so years, I
just began to feel progressively darker. I started feeling uncontrollably
helpless once a year, then once a month, then maybe every other week or so,
until recently, it became constant. I used to think about killing myself only
when I drank. By the time I started taking my medication, I was thinking about
it soberly all the time.

Don’t let that scare you. I wasn’t planning my suicide, I
just felt so useless and empty that I couldn’t understand how I’d ever feel any
differently again. Depression can become this black hole that just sucks you
in, making you believe that there can’t possibly be a future filled with
anything other than emptiness and loneliness. I didn’t want to speak up about
these dark feelings I was having, partially because I didn’t think people would
understand, and partially because I feared that they would overreact. How do
you tell your friend or your parent that you think about how you shouldn’t be
alive? How do you explain to them that you feel miserable but can’t even
articulate why? How do you let someone in during those low moments, without
completely terrifying them?

I don’t really think I’ve ever explained the depths of these
feelings to very many of my friends. I did however, finally open up to my mom
earlier this year. I am so thankful for gaining the strength/energy/courage to
talk to her, because with her help, I’ve found a therapist and physiatrist that
truly have my best interests at heart.

I may deal with these depressed feelings and anxious
thoughts for the rest of my life. I may feel empty and alone on and off until
the day I die. I don’t know! Even if that’s true, at least I am seeking help.
At least I am consciously trying to make things better. That’s really my point
in all this! Seeking help for a mental illness is never an immediate fix. It’s
not like a broken bone that just needs some time to heal. It is a long process,
but having people to talk to, and coping mechanisms to rely on, is always
better than trying to fight the problem alone.

A lot of brilliantly amazing and talented people struggle
with their mental health. One in four adults are struggling right now!! That’s a
quarter of us! That’s like 450 million Americans (I think? If the stat I read
is right? Aka uhhh don’t quote me on that .. ha)! But that is a crazy amount of
people! Reach out to other people like you. Share your feelings and your story.

And even if you’re not struggling, offer an ear to listen or
a shoulder to lean on. You may not be able to completely understand what
someone is going through, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still sympathize with
them. When I’m at my lowest, all I want is someone to physically be with me!
Try to figure out little ways like that to show someone who’s going through a
hard time that you’re still there.

To those people afraid to open up about how they’re feeling,
my best advice to you is that most people will surprise you. Before I could be
honest about my mental health to anyone, I assumed very few of my friends had
ever struggled with anything similar. You have no idea how many people feel
just like you until you find the guts to open up. And you may also find a lot of
friends who care enough to listen, even if they haven’t been through something
similar. Sometimes it just takes seeing someone struggling first hand to be
able to sympathize.

SOoOoOOooOoO the moral of MY World Mental Health Day issssss,
today was a good day! And recently I’ve had more good days than bad! Who’s to
say what tomorrow will be like, but for today, this is enough.

:

Do You See Me?

**warning in advance: i wrote this (and most of my posts) spur of the moment and didn’t spell/grammar check it ha sry!!!! amateur work i know!!*

I had an interesting conversation with my therapist the
other day. Let me explain.

I was telling her about how I usually feel overlooked in
social situations. Let me explain more. I was talking about how, over the
weekend, I went to a birthday party for two of my friends. The whole time I was
there I was both consciously and subconsciously carrying myself with the
assumption that everyone at the party was overlooking me. I wish I could more
accurately and more rationally explain what I mean by this so it makes sense to
other people reading.

Generally (i.e. all the time) I feel like I am less visible
than everyone else around me. Okay, to be fair I guuuuuuuuesss I don’t ALWAYS
feel this way, because of course there are exceptions, but I almost always have
this thought in the back of my mind. I feel it less often in a group of close
friends, but occasionally, even then, this irrational thinking creeps in.

It’s the worst when I’m in any social situation where I could
be meeting new people, especially new ATTRACTIVE people that I could
potentially hook up with/go on a date with/etc. In any situation like that, I assume
I am automatically in last place. I feel immediately friend zoned, I mean like
immediately. I often find myself either: A) in A conversation with someone who’s
visibly only half interested in talking to me, or B) in a conversation with
someone that is planning to ask me to hook them up with my friend.

I should have prefaced this by saying, a large part of all
of this is just my anxiety talking. You may be reading this as a close friend
of mine and you may literally think I sound insane. Part of the problem with my
anxiety is that it causes me to see myself completely differently than the way
anyone else sees me. But that is also why I’m writing this… I want to attempt
to put words to those awful, demeaning, negative thoughts. And then I want to
learn how to change them.

Anyways, it has been this way for as long as I can remember.
I have always felt like the one in last place. The one still good enough to be
included, but not good enough to really matter. You know what I mean? Growing up
(when I finally made friends) I consistently felt like the mildly-awkward
filler of the group. I was never the group leader, never the one people went to
first with a secret or for advice, never the friend that got invited on the
1-on-1 playdates, and never the one picked as a partner for class projects. I
was always just the friend that came along with the group. The one that was
left out of the inside jokes, but was still around to hear everyone else
laughing at them.

As a kid though, in a lot of senses I didn’t try to fight
it. I was so appreciative that people weren’t picking on me anymore that the
last thing I wanted to do was stir the pot or make anyone upset. I would take
being the group’s filler friend over being left out of the group any day of the
week.

Then when boys came into the picture though, that’s when it
got harder for me. I cannot express the amount of times in middle and high
school that I became a boy’s best friend just so they could date one of my
friends. I cannot put into words the amount of times boys would call me crying
or complaining about friends of mine, asking for relationship advice. and I cannot
tell you the amount of times I let it all slide because I was attracted to
these guys who were blatantly overlooking me, and I figured I’d rather at least
have them as friends than as nothing at all.

College was the same thing, but it added a new demon to the
mix: date functions. Four years worth of date functions came and went and I was
never the one invited. By the time I graduated college I was 21 and had only
really ever had one (maaaaaaybe sort of two) mildly legitimate relationships. One
was before my senior year of high school with a boy a year older than me who I lost
my virginity to. In all honesty, he treated me very, very nicely at the time. But
he lost his virginity a week earlier than me to a girl in a bush in Myrtle Beach
right after he had graduated high school. And after our “relationship” ended
and he left for college, he hooked up with anyone that even looked in his
direction and proceeded to booty call me on holiday breaks for 3 solid years. The
other “relationship” was with a boy who asked me on a date in May of my senior
year, then immediately decided to date one of my best friends all summer
instead, and THEN after they broke up, he decided to pursue me again. And of
course, being naïve and 18, I fell for it. Why wouldn’t I? He was the first
person in years to say something nice to me and at least pretend to mean it,
duhhhhhh. That’s romance! Oh yeah and let me add, the relationship was long
distance ANNNND then he dumped me for another one of my best friends. Love is
real and it is adorable!

So okay let’s do the math:

[Friend zoned x(3 years of middle school + 3 years of high
school + 4 years of college)] + (illegitimate relationships x 2) + (a shitty
dad x 24 years of life) + (mild depression + generalized anxiety x average
female self-confidence issues) = 1 invisible feelin’ gurl!!!!

Okay but really, I’m not writing this to pity myself at all.
And I’m not writing it in hopes that someone will read it and reach out to me like
OMG YOU DESERVE MORE GURL YOU DESERVE LOVE!!!! That’s not the point at all.

These thoughts have been floating inside of my head for as
long as I can remember. And I think it’s extremely difficult to actually
articulate them, so until now I really just haven’t. I guess try to express
these feelings to people sometimes, in little ways, but I have a hard time at
explaining the big picture. So here I am, tryin’ to do that now!! I think by
putting it into words like this, it will help me to consciously reverse the way
I think sometimes.

I always say (as does the rest of the world, I think) that
confidence is sooooooo attractive. One of my biggest problems is that I don’t emulate
this kind of noticeable confidence at all. So in a sense, yes, I’m sure some
people are overlooking me for my friends simply because they truly are not (and
will never be) interested in me, but maybe some people are just waiting for me
to show them who I am. Maybe I’m selling myself short sometimes and writing
people off immediately by being passive and insecure. Maybe the reason I blend
in is more my fault than anyone else’s. 

What I’m trying to say is, maybe I need to have a little more faith in myself to show people that they can have faith in me too.