It’s Been Awhile

Confession time.

Quarantine is/was hard on me mentally, but I don’t think that is a surprise to anyone.

Emotions ran high. I did a lot of self discovery. I made mistakes. I didn’t think I was good enough. I was disappointed in myself. I hurt. I cried. I wanted to hurt myself.

12 years of self harm recovery doesn’t mean that I don’t want to. The feelings are still there a lot! That doesn’t mean that my medicines aren’t working. That doesn’t mean that I am not doing the best I can. That means that I have to fight harder to make sure that I don’t revert to something that hurt me tremendously.

For the first time in over a year I had to put a rubber band around my wrist. For those of you who aren’t preview to the world of self harm, one of the coping mechanisms recommended to self harm patients is to use a rubber band to pop your skin to simulate the release most self harmers seek.

While it is not ideal to go as far as the image above this is what it comes to sometimes. I’m not proud of the image, but this blog is meant for me to be very open with my readers during the good and the bad times.

Understanding this issue is so important when it comes to helping others that you know with this form of mental struggle.

During this time so many are struggling and many are losing their battle with their minds and it is heartbreaking! I can openly admit that I have issues with control. If I don’t have control over myself and my life then I begin to spiral, and that is when things get tough. I am a planner. Being out of work scared me. Even though I am in a situation that is a huge blessing I still had no clear picture of anything happening for the 6 weeks I didn’t have an income. I am the sole monetary provider for my family right now. That is a decision that was not a light one, but it is one that I was more than happy to take on! I love working, and I am very lucky that I love what I do!

While trying to pour myself into different projects during quarantine, I wasn’t in control of my mind and I felt like I was disappointing a lot of people when in reality it was 99% all in my head.

At the end of the day please remember the importance on checking on your people! This mess is far from over, and is going to change the course of our history. While I silently struggled for weeks I get it was a disservice to my blog not to share even if it was delayed.

Title Credit:

Staid: It’s Been Awhile

Disconnected

If you’re finding this blog congratulations. This is one of the few I’m not alerting social media to.

Depression sucks.

I wish I could relay just how much. This post won’t be long, but I had to share a visual. I went to one of my favorite places today to sit and enjoy the outdoors and think in a quiet place.

Isn’t it beautifully creepy?

When I arrived I felt good and happy.

20 minutes later I was overwhelmed with emotion.

This is a hard time for people like me. This is a hard time for people not like me. Check on your people! They need you now more than ever!

“I feel so disconnected from everything
Everything around me
All I ever wanted was to feel like I belong
Somewhere else than here”

Title Credit:

Imminence: Disconnected

Blog Collaboration Intro

I’m so excited to announce our next collaborator, Stephen. I know Stephen all because of a semicolon keychain and we just hit the ground running on ideas! I am very thankful for his story as it is a glimpse into a totally different side of mental hardship. Even more important I am excited to introduce a male perspective!

Depression comes in all shapes and sizes and is handled in a broad spectrum of ways. It was very apparent from the first time I chatted with Stephen that his faith is very strong and he leans on it. So help me welcome Stephen!

Hi there! My name is Stephen Keeling and I am 27 years old. My wife Jenn and I have been married for 5 years and we have three children; Julius, Sydney, and one on the way! Our firstborn Julius is my mini-me in every way. He is 4 years old and everything from looks and attitude is identical, but he does have a little bit of his mom 😉 Sydney Jane is our second child and by far our biggest miracle. She was stillborn 7 days before our due date and is the reason we have a story to share. Our third child at the time of writing this is still cooking, but we are getting very close! We are due around the end of April and have kept it a surprise for everyone, but God on what the gender is. While we do have some names picked out, no one in our family, the doctors, or even us know what we will be having.

I’d like to express my appreciation to Mattie for letting me be a part of this blog and to share our story. My wife may chime in a little from time to time and we may show both perspectives, but know that we both will always put our heart into every post 🙂 While neither of us have a direct link to self-harm or suicide; we do both have a story to share of HOPE! That is what we would like to share with every post, is the Hope we have found and the positivity we have experienced in every situation. I pray that this blog is a blessing to you and is something you will look forward to sharing with us! Know this, in every trial, hardship, or earth-shattering event; it is Never the end of your story. There may be a new chapter beginning where one has just come to a close or you may be in the middle of a hard chapter of life. In any event there is always Hope. There is always a positive side to focus on. So follow along and pay close attention, we have exciting things in store for you!!

You and Me

My mind has really been focused on this blog for the last few days, so hopefully I can get everything I need to say out in the best way.
Mental illness affects individuals, but we also have to remember it affects their significant others too.
Years ago when I was dating my husband he didn’t really get my issues. It wasn’t until my mental break in 2017 that he really understood what was going on.
One thing I encourage people struggling with mental illness is to be completely open with your significant other. One thing that Jeremy and I agreed on when I made my life change was if he ever noticed I was acting “off” that I wouldn’t get my feelings hurt if he asked if I was taking my medication properly. This is something VERY important in our relationship and here we are 3 years later and he has had to ask a few times and I have kept my promise to be 100% honest with him.
Do you have a significant other that is dealing with mental illness? Communicate with them. Ask them how they are doing. Learn their triggers. Encourage them. A little goes a long way. 
Dealing with mental illness and have a significant other? Communicate with them! Make sure they understand what you are going through. Tell them when you are struggling. If they don’t understand, try your best to help them understand. Take them with you to see your doctor so they can help them understand. 
Our significant others should be our safe place. If you are married, they should be the one person you should be able to fall back on. 
The one thing I want to leave you with is communicate, communicate, communicate! I learned a long time ago that the more I held in the harder it was on my marriage.
Title Credit:
You and Me: Dave Matthews Band

Ugly

What do you think when you look in the mirror?

“I’m fat.” “I’m ugly.” “I have too many wrinkles.” “My nose is too big.”

I’m sure the list could go in forever. So let’s talk about self image.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Because society is hard on us! For years now there has been a movement about empowering women (and men) to feel better about ourselves, but does it really work? Does our internal monologue change because the media tells us to change it? No. Will your internal monologue change because I’m asking you to change it? I would love for it to, but I have to be realistic!

I used to spend hours looking in the mirror and picking at my face and my skin. I would find all my imperfections and focus on them because others were telling me I wasn’t worthy of being considered beautiful. If I couldn’t sleep I was in the mirror. At one point when I was self harming I even cut fat into my stomach and ugly into my calf. That’s how I viewed myself, a fat, disgusting human being.

I imagine this is the story of millions of young women (and not so young) and it devastates me to know others are struggling the way I used to.

I don’t remember when I stopped judging myself so harshly, but I know it was after my daughter came to me when she was around four and told me she was fat! FOUR! I knew then and there that somewhere along the way she had probably heard me say I myself was fat. I knew I had to change my perspective.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am human and I still have days where I don’t feel good about myself. I could lose some more weight, I could work harder to drink more water, but more days than not I have to remind myself that I am worthy and I am beautiful.

So what can you do to help yourself with your self image?

1. Change your inner monologue. Start small. Take it a day at a time.

2. Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself.

3. Surround yourself with supportive people.

4. Surround yourself with words of affirmation. Hang a sticky note, create a piece of art, do whatever is best for you! (I am beautiful, Today is the day, I am worthy etc.)

5. Stop expecting perfection. You aren’t perfect and that’s ok!

6. Change what you can.

7. Don’t compare yourself to others.

8. Take a hot bath or shower and relax.

9. Don’t live in the mirror.

And finally…

10. Give back. Help others. Do something that makes you and others feel good!

Title Credit:

Ugly: The Exies

Cigarettes/Tequila

I’ve seen a lot of backlash and hurtful words about why nicotine and alcohol are considered “essential.” I thought I would take the time to do a little research and also share my personal thoughts on the matter.

Alcohol and nicotine are addictive substances. When you stop “cold turkey” with any addiction that can be very dangerous! Many people who struggle with mental illness also suffer with some type of substance abuse/addiction. It is important that we show compassion in times like these!

An excerpt from an article I found here

“Withdrawal from alcohol is also dangerous, and can result in tremors, hallucinations, and seizures that can progress to requiring admission to the ICU, and may ultimately lead to death. At the same time, predictive models show that 5 percent of COVID19-infected patients will require hospital admission, while 2 percent will require ICU admissions. As hospitals become strained from the surging number of COVID-19 patients, preventing and mitigating the risk of additional ICU admissions is paramount.”

I understand that people don’t always “get” why things are the way they are, but at the end of the day please try to educate yourself before clicking the share button.

Title Credit:

Cigarettes: Fort Minor

Tequila: Dan + Shay

Heart of Misery

While I was searching for words to give some inspiration and hope today I came across a quote that hit me hard.

How beautiful are these words? There is still beauty even after the misery. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many times that I do think of the misery in my life, but it’s not all consuming like it used to be.

It’s hard to forget when I have physical reminders of the pain I went through years ago. I am lucky that many of my scars have faded, but I know that many aren’t so lucky.

So here is my challenge for you today. Find the beauty in your life. Take a look at what is around you. Gaze at the stars. Take a walk and look at all the beautiful things that are in bloom.

Mental illness is hard. It’s a fight every single day, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t at least one good thing in your life.

Title Credit:

Heart of Misery: The Rasmus