Beating your own mind

Sometimes I forget how my mind works. I forget that it’s always at full speed with little breathing room to relax. I forget that I over-think and over-feel. I forget that when I want peace all I get is chaos.

Most of the time my thoughts are filled with doubt and words that lack encouragement. I shove them aside as best as I can and dismiss them whenever possible but most of the time they linger and grow, making it difficult to find my self worth. I hate it. I hate it because I’m always searching for admiration or praise from others when I should be able to do that for myself.

I found myself for a little while. And for that little while, I thought I would be okay. But that little while didn’t last long. I panic and I break every other day. I struggle to find happiness. And when I do feel an ounce of light break through the darkness, I question whether it’s real or not.

I don’t feel good enough. I don’t feel like I’ll ever amount to anything. And I question why I’m still fighting to prove myself wrong. It’s because I know I’m here for a reason. I know I’m here to make a difference. I know that fighting is better than giving up so that’s why I do it.

My mind is constantly on overdrive, threatening to break me completely. When I close my eyes and try to settle in silence, I hear chimes and whistling. I hear noise. Nothing but noise. So, I sit through it and hope it passes. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a hit and miss, really. It almost drives me mad.

So, sometimes I forget how my mind works. I forget that when I want peace all I get is chaos. And that’s okay. It’s okay because I’m fighting it. Every day, even when those pesky voices try and convince me otherwise, I know I’m strong enough to beat this. Fighting each battle is hard when you don’t know if you’ll win the war but with each battle you beat, you’re one step closer.

It isn’t easy trying to explain to others how my mind works or why I have a hard time staying present. They don’t understand and I don’t hold that against them because I barely understand it myself. I’m just the one living it.

If your mind works like mine does then try these few steps:

  1. Breath. Always breath. And let the air you release take the negativity away with it.
  2. Concentrate on the now. Don’t let the past or future distract you. Just focus on what’s at hand and do one thing at a time.
  3. Write. If concentrating is hard and breathing doesn’t work, then write down the distractions going on in your head. Whether they’re words or sounds that call your attention, write them in a journal. Read back on them later. This could help you find ways to defeat them later.

I can do it. You can do it. We can do it together.

Live, stay, and fight. You’ve got this. We’ve got this. Our minds are our own and it’s time we took them back.

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Some days are painful

I don’t know how to make it stop. I feel as if this pain is on repeat.

But why am I in so much pain? Why can I barely breath? And why are there tears falling?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been holding it all in. I’ve been brushing off the stress, insecurities, and worry that have been coming into my life. I’ve been brushing them off because I didn’t have the time to dwell on them.

We’re all living this life and we all have certain challenges that we face every single day. So, I treated my own challenges just like that, like they were ordinary and easily dismissed.

I was wrong for doing that because it all built. Every single emotion that I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks built on top of the other and left me with a gaping hole in the middle of my soul. What I thought I could handle, I couldn’t. I can’t.

Life is too short to live it with this much stress, doubt, and worry. I don’t know why it hurts so bad or why I’m losing so much hope in myself but I am.

Some days are just painful.

And again, I’m doing it on my own. And just like all of the other times, I know I’ll get through it. I just have to wait it out and let life take its course.

While that happens, I’m going to let myself hurt and I’m going to let myself cry because that’s what makes me human. It doesn’t make me weak or unable. It just allows me to release my anger in a healthy, natural way.

Giving into your emotions and expressing them is the most human, genuine thing a person can do.

I don’t even care if other people think I’m overreacting or being dramatic. I’m being a person and I’m going to cry until I feel better.

If you’re having one of these bad days, too, then cry. Just cry or do whatever is going to make you feel better. It’s your pain, your stress, your emotions. You’re the only one who can feel them. Don’t be ashamed to feel or express them because they’re a part of you and we all have them.

It’s okay to be weak sometimes because that weakness is what’s going to make you stronger in the long run.

Some days are painful and dealing with that pain isn’t something to shy away from because if you let it build too much, that pain will only get worse and none of us want that, right? I know I don’t.

Stress filled days

I cannot express how stressful my life has been as of late.

It’s a new found stress, one that I’m not entirely used to.

I’ve taken on more tasks than I can handle but I continue to add onto it, completing each one with just as much anxiety as the last.

This has caused a huge damper on my mental health. Naturally, I have a ton of anxiety and self doubt. Add stress and a never ending work load into the mix and I’ve got a heightened set of emotions.

Like now, for example, I type this with a tear in my eye, shaky hands, and wine by my side.

It’s a typical Sunday night, really. One where unwinding is a must. I sort of do that in reverse though because rather than unwinding at the end of the week on say Friday, I unwind on Sunday evenings, the night before the week starts.

Today was especially difficult though, I honestly felt like it was never going to end. I can’t even count how many mini or almost panic attacks I had.

How did I get through this? I took deep breaths and when the self doubt started pouring in, I reminded myself of my purpose. When I was done convincing myself that the end of the world wasn’t near and that I could handle it, I turned to one of my best friends.

There was a time when I wouldn’t let anyone in, when I would deal with the pain and anxiety on my own. I learned soon after letting this friend in that it’s okay to have people by your side when you feel like you’re on a downward spiral. Why? Because if you trust them enough to let them in then chances are that you love them and their love is probably just as strong, meaning that they can help you better than you can help yourself. Most of the time, anyway.

My point? Today was hard. Most of my days are. I could’ve listened to the doubt in my head, the harsh remarks they were giving me, and I could’ve numbed myself from the pain that came from it. Instead I let it roll on through like a tornado in the South and waited for it to pass. It isn’t easy but each time feels a little more bearable than the last.

Today was a day where I lived, stayed, and fought. A day where I stood my ground and came out stronger because of it. I feel good. I feel strong. And it’s all because I didn’t give into the negativity that threatened to take me.

You can, too. If you have a hard day, filled with stress, just remember your purpose and don’t be afraid to let others in.

Express yourself

I often dance and sing in public. Not very well, I’ll admit, but still I do it.

Dancing is important. Singing is important. Making a fool out of yourself in public and being silly is important. I used to be shy, a bit introverted, and nervous to act on impulse.

Until one day I wasn’t.

One day while out at some grocery store roaming the aisles, a song came on over the loud speakers. It was probably some mainstream pop song, I honestly don’t remember. All I do remember is dancing and swinging my arms to the beat with no care about what the other people in the aisle thought about me.

And it was clear that they thought something. Some rolled their eyes while others suppressed amusement. It was honestly kind of great.

I don’t know what it was about that day, that moment I decided to let loose, but since that first time I’ll bust out a dance move (or several) and sing at the top of my lungs anywhere. It makes me happy. The way it loosens my heart and brightens my soul makes me happy.

It isn’t always easy being comfortable with yourself. It takes time to accept who you are without putting yourself down for it. It took some time for me. I used to hate my appearances, my weight, my voice, everything about myself seemed wrong. Until I started to express myself.

I like to be silly. I like to be different. I no longer hate myself for not meeting other peoples standards, instead I embrace what makes me different and I use those differences to express myself.

It’s simple, it’s difficult, and it’s worth it. The first step is actually doing it and although it’s the hardest, once you get that step out of the way, the ones after will be as easy as falling in love with your favorite actor/actress in their new film.

Try it. Embrace it. Enjoy it. And express yourself.

Suicide Prevention Day

Every year on this day, my heart aches. It aches because there was a time when I wanted to leave, when I wanted to be gone. It aches because if I would have given into that want then I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t have the memories, experiences, or strength that I do now. Strength that came from surviving the pain that made me want to give up. I didn’t give in because I somehow found the strength in myself to help me move on, because I found support when I needed it the most.

Many people don’t have that support and they give into the pain. It isn’t something that’s easy to understand but it’s something that happens. It happens every 40 seconds and according to the CDC, it is one of the ten leading causes of death.

Those facts are heartbreaking, but it’s reality. Many people choose to pass judgement or turn the other cheek when it comes to acts of suicide or issues like mental health. I think it’s because they’re afraid of the truth. The truth that someone can be different or feel that much. But don’t we all? Aren’t we all different? Don’t we all feel that much?

I think so. I also believe that we just handle it differently and that certain circumstances allow us to deal with it in different ways.

Suicide isn’t easy to understand but maybe you don’t have to. Maybe all you have to do is be aware, be supportive, and be nonjudgmental. It’s that simple.

If someone is having a bad day, instead of judging or voicing your opinion and cutting them off, just listen. Listen and be patient. That small act of kindness can be enough to save them. It saved me. The people who listened without judgment are the same people who saved me.

My heart aches for the souls who don’t have someone to confide in. It aches because it’s easier for people to judge than it is for them to understand.

Mostly, it ached for the souls that felt too much and took their own lives.

Please be aware, do some research, and find ways to get involved. You could be the difference in helping prevent a suicide every 40 seconds.

When will it get better?

“It’ll get better, I promise.”

That’s what they all say. Heck, that’s what I say.

The question is when? When will it get better? When will this pain go away?

I hated not knowing when things would be good for me. I hated not knowing if they ever would be. I hated not knowing and I hated the waiting. Waiting for happiness to seep in and replace the hurt was like waiting for a polar bear to walk up to me on the beach in the middle of summer. It felt impossible. It felt like the better was never going to come and that I was destined to suffer.

I was wrong.

So very, very wrong.

Because it did get better. If even a little, it did. It got better. Happiness came. And I changed.

I changed in a way I never thought possible. Rather than letting the pain and its memory take control of who I was, I pushed it aside and focused on the happiness I did have. Even the smallest amount of happiness was enough to overthrow the darkness that tried to creep through at every given opportunity, but unlike before, I no longer let it.

No, instead I promised myself a better minute, a better hour, and then when I grew strong enough, I promised myself a better tomorrow.

I never knew when it would get better. I realized that I had been waiting, just waiting for something good to finally happen to me when I held the reigns all along. I held the power to make my future better, I still do.

Better is out there for everyone, you just have to know where to find it: within yourself. With the darkness, there’s light and with the bad, there’s better. I waited for my better but it had been within me all along. I know yours is, too.

I carry no shame

A few years ago, I was never as comfortable as I am now. Especially when it comes to talking about what I went through. I was quiet and I was ashamed.

I was ashamed because I wasn’t sure how others would react. Would they laugh in my face? Pity me? Or would they think less of me for giving into my urges? For giving into my pain?

I may have only been in high school a few short years ago but then, for me at least, having a mental illness wasn’t as widely understood as it is now. And even now people struggle to fully comprehend what it means to struggle with anxiety, depression, or even self harm. And I had all three. Sometimes all at once and sometimes individually.

I can’t express how alone that made me feel. I felt alone, but deep down I knew I wasn’t. I had my family and I had my friends. They either knew and didn’t know how to deal with it or they didn’t know so they treated me the same as always. Either way I was on my own. I was forced to deal with all the pain, isolation, and self hatred on my own. That sucked a lot too.

When I turned 18 and was old enough to seek professional help on my own, without needing the permission of my parents, I did. And that saved my life. The few friends I had made during my first few weeks at college saved my life. The counselorĀ I spoke with once a week for several months saved my life. But most importantly, I saved my life.

For that reason, I’m no longer ashamed. I’m no longer ashamed because I survived what once seemed impossible to escape. I survived and that’s something I should be proud of. It’s something I am proud of. It’s something you should be proud of too.

You’re here. You’re living. And that means you’re fighting, too. Keep that fight. It’ll get hard and it’ll suck, I’m not going to lie but you can do it. You can survive this. Just hold onto that fight and own your story. Own who you are and never be ashamed to feel a certain way and never, ever be ashamed of expressing those emotions because those emotions, no matter how painful, will be what heal you in the future.

I won’t be ashamed of what I went through. I won’t be ashamed of my story. I hope you won’t be ashamed of yours either.

This may sound cliche but as alone as you feel, I promise you’re not. We’re all going through different issues, emotions, and changes. Embrace it, own it, and be who you want to be. Most importantly, fight like hell and never be ashamed of who you are or what you’re going through.