Welcome to my very first blog post on Happiness Through Grace.
Writing a blog has been on my bucket list for the past few years but the feelings of fear, imposter syndrome and the countless excuses have kept me from starting.
To be honest, it is a miracle I am starting today of all days, because as I lay here in my bed in the middle of the afternoon, my anxiety and depression have warped me into a world of crazy irrational thoughts and feelings of complete desperation. My tendency is to isolate myself from the world and sleep the day away, but the mission of my company is to encourage people talk about their emotions in times of despair, so I decided I needed to practice what I preach and grab my computer to share.
At the young age of 25 I was officially diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety. Looking back to my childhood, I most definitely could have been diagnosed in the 4th grade, but mental health wasn’t something we talked about back then.
Now, at 47 years old and with over 23 years of experience, I have mastered the art of isolating and avoiding things when I am in an episode to protect myself and prevent others from seeing my struggle.
I cancel plans, make up excuses to get out of things, avoid phone calls and texts, scroll endlessly on social media or hibernate in my room. I am proud to say though, along with the 23 years of experience, I have also grown to realize that tomorrow is new day, things always get better, and IT IS okay to not be okay.
Depression is notorious for making you believe you are a burden, unworthy, and an unmotivated, unproductive mess, while the anxiety causes you to worry far into the future, overthink everything you say or do, and constantly question what others may be thinking about you. I have learned to give myself more grace on those days and work hard at doing at least one thing that I know brings me happiness on my good days, if I push too hard or ignore the issue, I crash and burn.
So here it goes, I am sitting up, out of what I would prefer to be a slumber to get this blog started.
All the while I’ve been crying off and on all day,
While it feels like there is an elephant pressing on my chest,
While my head feels like it is about to explode and my eyes are going to pop out of my head, and
While the anxiety is causing my upper back to feel like I swallowed a giant jawbreaker whole.
I am starting this journey in hopes you will feel a connection.
Maybe you will read something that resonates with you, and you will feel understood.
Maybe it will bring clarity to something you have been trying to figure out, but you just couldn’t put a finger on it.
Maybe you are trying to understand a family member, a friend, help a coworker while they are struggling or maybe you are grieving the loss of someone you knew or loved due to mental health.
Our individual journeys throughout the struggle will be different and navigating this can be extremely difficult and full of guilt or shame. There are many signs and symptoms indicating mental health distress, but some can be hard to pick up on so it’s important to know it is not your fault if you don’t. Mental health struggles can vary and be caused from a chemical imbalance in the brain to childhood or adult trauma, addictions, abuse, a change in seasons or maybe for reasons that are unknown.
I don’t know if or how this blog may impact you, but I do know for every person affected by a mental health diagnosis, stressor, or death it is so important to talk about it with someone you trust to help you process and realize you are not alone.
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