my mental health update
It has been a while since I posted a mental health update, so I decided that this #survivorsunday will be my own personal story (Briefly, if you haven't read my published story, you can find it here).
These past few months have been hectic. I graduated college, worked for an e-commerce start up, applied for millions of jobs, helped Lance apply for millions of jobs, found out that Lance had to choose between Ford and Tesla for his future career, decided on Tesla, having to move to LA for three months, then after that to an unknown destination to work for Tesla, having to find housing for three months in LA, dealing with my OCD, having a few bouts of depression, feeling lonely and hopeless, navigating life with my increasing panic attacks, and really so much more.
On top of all of that, I have put pressure on myself to keep posting regularly, in whatever free time I have to record podcast episodes, and also find energy to think of blog/IG post ideas and take pictures for said posts.
To say that I have been a little overwhelmed would be an understatement.
With my OCD, it always spikes before a big change. So with all of these big life changes occurring, I am definitely not at my finest. In fact, I have been declining. My obsessions are more intense and the compulsions near impossible not to carry out. I don't sleep well at all. I feel anxious and on edge most of the day. I am constantly trying to distract myself to forget the problems I am obsessing over. I have a difficult time getting out of the apartment by myself. I am short and irritable and honestly bless Lance for living with this chaos. Everything just seems to be falling apart when I feel like it should be falling into place.
Where do I go from here? Honestly, I'm not sure. All I know is that I am relying on the same principles that have gotten me through many difficult times in the past.
Going along with this, I get asked a lot how I stay so positive and hopeful during these moments of insanity. How do I keep my head held high when my brain wants to drag me down?
The answer: I don't really give myself a choice.
I know what I want. I know the kind of life I want to lead. I will not get to my chosen destination by complaining and moping around the apartment. I have to be proactively fighting back as much as I can. I don't push myself to the point of having break downs every day, but I do push myself so I'm uncomfortable. After all, discomfort usually means you are growing. But just because you are experiencing discomfort, doesn't mean that you can't stay positive and think about the good things in your life.
Positive thinking does not come naturally to me. I have always been a more negative person since day one, so it's a battle to choose to be happy everyday. But, as I have been reflecting on my life, I have realized that I spent way too much time feeling sorry for myself, feeling negative, and feeling like the world was ending. Not long ago, I had a rude awakening and was forced to pull up my bootstraps and get to work.
Since, I have had the attitude that, "It's crunch time. It's hail mary time. It's time to just get up and do it. The time for idly waiting for a cure has come and gone. No one will take my health seriously if I don't."
I started off by becoming a more positive person. It was a difficult transformation and I still have days where I'm not 100% there; but that's okay, I'm only human. Having a positive attitude, looking for the beauty in every day life, and only following people on social media that spread goodness instead of negativity has helped me be more positive.
It's all about limiting your exposure to things that bring you down or have a negative impact on your overall well being. It is a learning curve, but after practicing positivity for a week or two, you'll understand more about yourself than ever before.
Besides being positive, I also have had to recognize that I am a human being. I will make mistakes. I am not perfect, but I am enough. I have had to let go of my unrealistic expectations for myself and the shame that I associated with it. When I feel like I have failed, I have had to be gentle with myself and remind myself of my worth. Some days it's easier, and some days it's not.
I've learned a truth; It's okay to have a bad day. It's okay to have a negative day. It's okay to have a day where I am curled up in a ball and am trying to sort through my emotions and issues. It's okay to have that one day. Where I get into trouble is if I allow it to spill over into multiple days, which turns into weeks, and before I know it I'm living in a state of wallowing (been there, done that, not going back, thnx).
The last thing I do is the most difficult; like Nike, I just do it. I face my fears. I stare my obsessions or intrusive thoughts in the face and resist the compulsion as long as I can. I work. I fail. I try again. It is the most painful and beautiful thing I can do for myself and my relationships. But it is where I see the most improvement and growth.
Facing my fears has allowed for me to go from being terrified of driving -> driving 30 minutes to the nearest town, shopping, and driving back. Terrified of door handles -> opening doors without inspecting the handles to see if blood was on it. Nervous in public situations -> having public speaking being my dream job. I have literally gone from fearing these (and many more situations) to being okay in them. I have gone from actively avoiding these situations to just living my life and letting them come and go. It's hard work, but every time I get in the car and drive; I'm reminded of how far I have come. And it's all thanks to positive thinking, forgiveness, and work.
Those three principles are my "secret" to success. Be positive about the future and hopeful. Forgive yourself and recognize that you are human. And work your hiney off to improve your life. You will never regret it.
It's no always easy, but it is always worth it. You want to live a life that you are happy to have. Positivity, forgiveness, and work will get you there.
Choose happiness today my friends,