To me, 9 years ago…

Hi.

So, earlier today I saw on Facebook someone I am friends with posted a status that read, “What would you tell your 18 year old self?”

And that stopped me in my tracks. I’m not quite sure why it hit me the way it did, but it did.

It really got me thinking, “What would I tell 18 year old me?”—Who at this time would be working her butt off getting ready for her first year of collegiate lacrosse, had recently been broken up with by her high school boyfriend, and who was leaving behind the state and everyone inside of it that she has known her whole entire life. What would I tell this sad, yet excited, yet terrified girl to remember as she climbed the mountain of the next few months?

First semester of freshman year of college would turn out to be one of the most challenging of my whole life so far (but that’s a story for another day…) So, hindsight being 20/20, what would I say to this young, naïve girl? After some thought, here’s what I would tell her…

1. 𝒀𝑶𝑼 𝑨𝑹𝑬 𝑾𝑶𝑹𝑻𝑯𝒀.

2. 𝒀𝑶𝑼 𝑨𝑹𝑬 𝑳𝑶𝑽𝑬𝑫.

3. 𝒀𝑶𝑼 𝑾𝑰𝑳𝑳 𝑩𝑬 𝑯𝑨𝑷𝑷𝒀.

4. 𝑰𝑻 𝑾𝑰𝑳𝑳 𝑮𝑬𝑻 𝑩𝑬𝑻𝑻𝑬𝑹.

5. 𝒀𝑶𝑼𝑹 𝑷𝑶𝑷𝑼𝑳𝑨𝑹𝑰𝑻𝒀 𝑫𝑶𝑬𝑺 𝑵𝑶𝑻 𝑫𝑬𝑭𝑰𝑵𝑬 𝒀𝑶𝑼.

I don’t say any of these things to change my path. I met one of my best friends that first semester. I learned a lot about trust, doing what I want FOR ME, standing up for myself, and not taking any shit from anyone. I don’t regret a thing, and wouldn’t change that semester for the world, but these were things I wish I could have reminded this young girl.

What would you tell your 18 year old self if you could? Not to change your future, just as a guardian angel to give some guidance?

Love,

Me ✌🏼

Supesss positive.

Hi.

Earlier this evening I had someone ask me how I stay positive all the time.

I told her years and years of practice in turning the negative thoughts positive. Training my brain. And that’s not completely false. But it’s also not completely true.

The truth is I’m not positive all the time. Matter of fact, I’m positive like 30% of the time. And that 30% turns up on social media.

The other 70% is mainly in my head and it’s some heavy shit.

Having depression SUCKS. I know I’ve said this sooooo many times. But it’s the truth. I wouldn’t wish this shit on my worst enemy.

This is going to be a long one, so I hope you’re ready…Here goes nothing. My “positivity” started with middle school bullying.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Everyone was bullied. I’m just not strong enough to hold up to the “poking fun”. Or, it’s middle school—why do I still care? Think what you want, but this was so much more than “poking fun” and it’s not something an impressionable 12 year old just gets over.

I’m crying as I’m writing this because it wasn’t until so many people asked me about my positivity that it really made me think where it came from.

Back in middle school—7th grade to be exact—I had one of the worst years of my life. Sounds dramatic, and maybe I’m being over dramatic, but it’s my trauma—I’m allowed to feel that way. ANYWHO, I had these “friends” in middle school. They were all a lot smarter than me and didn’t have to study nearly as hard to get A’s (or sometimes B’s). These “friends” partnered with my perfectionism and anxiety weren’t a great match. Hindsight is always 2020, right?

I remember it like it was yesterday. We had a huuuuuuge biology exam coming up and I was seriously stressing. It was known to be “the hardest test in all of middle school”. Looking back, it really wasn’t that bad, but for someone with test anxiety and normal anxiety and perfectionist tendencies, it was a big deal.

I shared with my “friends” how stressed I was, asked for study tips, and if we wanted to study together since we all were in the same class. They blew me off and I figured it was just because they were stressing too.

A few days later, we got our grades back on that exam (I got a C by the way—my first C on an exam) and I was crushed. I swore this was going to be my grace for the whole quarter and there would be no going to high school in GT/AP classes with this kind of grade. Regardless of the dramatics, I was crushed and I shared with my “friends” how upset I was.

The next day I found a note in my locker. And although I don’t still have that note, it went something like this…

“Alyssa. Shut the f*ck up. No one cares about you or your stupid grade. It was just a test and you’re being a b*tch about it. Stop being a slut. No one likes to listen to you. Just grow the f*ck up. NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU, SO SHUT UP.”

There were a lot of other profanities, accusations, and honestly pure shit in this letter, but I figured you got the gist.

Did I mention I was in 7th grade? I had never even held hands with a boy, and I only said cuss words when I was jamming out to Avril Lavigne in my bedroom alone. And even then, I whispered them because I didn’t want to get in trouble.

It was after getting this letter that everything seemed to change for me. I started listening to “emo” music. Started wearing all black, and later that year started self harming through restricting my food/skipping meals. Then a few years later, I started cutting. (In case you haven’t read my previous posts, I haven’t self-harmed for the last 7 years.)

This is when I first remember feeling like other people saw in me the worthlessness that I saw in myself. And that realization destroyed me like a hurricane. It was this time I always came back to when I wanted to complain or bitch or just let off some steam. I kept remembering how “no one cares”. And how I should just “shut the f*ck up”.

Now, my conscious mind knows that I’m not worthless and that I’m not alone, but a million words later, THAT is why I’m so positive on socials. I don’t know how else to be. I spent most of my teenage—adult life being positive because I knew that no one wanted to hear my complaints and eventually the positivity stuck. Eventually I found that being a positive light for others helped me feel better about myself and I the positive mark I was leaving on the world.

So, in conclusion—a million years later—I’m positive for YOU. Because I want you to know you are loved, you matter, you are worthy, and I CARE.

Love,

Me 🖤

Really not sure…

Hi.

I’m really not sure what I’m going to write about.

I’ve been feeling drawn to write for weeks, but just don’t know what to say because I don’t want your time to go to waste. But I think that my lack of what to say something that needs to be heard (read).

I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING. I don’t know how to feel with all the bull shit going on in the world. I don’t know to feel with all the depressing shit surrounding me. I don’t know how to feel about where I am in life. I don’t know how to feel about where our country is going. I don’t know where I am going next. I don’t know who is beside me now. And I don’t know who will be there beside me moving forward. I legit don’t know ANYTHING. And it SUCKS feeling this way.

It’s like feeling lost and alone and scared and mad and sad and confused ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

And I’m not saying all this to get messages saying, “You’re not alone.” And I’m DEFINITELY not saying all this to get messages about politics and other bull shit. I’m saying this because I can’t imagine I’m the only one out here feeling like this.

I’m close to tears (if not in tears) every single day. I’m so overwhelmed. I try to delete all the Toxic Tiffany’s off my timeline, but it’s hard. I know it’s all about having the right mindset and practicing gratitude. But when I can’t get out of bed in enough time to shower every morning, much less do affirmations and gratitude, I struggle. I know I need to get up earlier. I know I need to work out. I know I need to eat healthier. I GET IT, KAREN. But if you don’t have depression in the way I do, you don’t freaking get it. You’ll never get it. And truthfully, I hope you never do. I hope you never have to feel the pain and anguish I feel every freaking day. I wouldn’t wish this shit on anyone.

All this to say, you’re not alone babe. This rant probably didn’t accomplish anything for anyone other than letting me release my anxieties, but I do hope that someone, somewhere, reads this and feels a little bit of comfort that they’re not alone on this shitty ride called 2020 that we’re stuck on.

Take care of yourselves.

XX,

Me

“Standing now in the mirror that I built myself…”-Halsey

Hey there.

I hope you are well. It’s been a minute since I’ve been here and damn have I missed it.

I had a friend ask me the other day why I stopped writing and I knew the answer. But once I said it out loud, I felt like a total jackass.

My answer was that I had started a new job and didn’t want my blog to be read by my new co-workers and boss, for fear that I’d get fired for it.

Like WHAT? Isn’t that what my whole blog is about? Isn’t that what I preach? Isn’t my main goal breaking the stigma? WTF was I thinking?

I wasn’t. I wasn’t thinking. You can say it with a me…HYPOCRITE.

So, I tuned into my feelings again. I tuned into my depression again. I stopped blocking out all the negative thoughts. And I cried. Not a full blown panic attack, but just lots and lots of tears. And it SUCKED. It SUCKED feeling that vulnerable. It SUCKED feeling that hateful towards myself. It SUCKED feeling that weak and dumb and useless and unaccomplished and EVERY NEGATIVE FEELING ALL AT ONCE.

It was overwhelming letting all those feelings back in. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still feeling that overwhelm today too. That’s what people who don’t suffer from this anxiety and depression daily cocktail don’t understand. This shit doesn’t just go away. It LINGERS. And “getting over it” or being told, “You’ll be fine. You always are,” doesn’t help. I know I’ll be fine. But I also know I’m hurting right now. And that’s OKAY. I’ll be OKAY. But right now, I’m not. And I’m OKAY with that.

So, I stand here, in the mirror looking at a body I hate, with a soul I’m not too fond of right now either, and I get one of those oh, so joyous messages. “Hey girl! I have a fitness group starting up and I’d love for you to join us!”

Thanks, Cold Message Colleen. Thanks for the reminder that I look large in my photos. Thanks for the reminder that I’ve gained weight over the last couple months. Thanks for insinuating that I look like I should be working out 7 days a week with you and all your skinny friends.

I have BEEN that girl sending those copy and paste messages. I know those people don’t mean it like that, but what those people don’t understand is that you messaging the wrong person at the wrong time makes ALL of those self hatred feelings SO much stronger.

So, to the Cold Messaging Colleen’s of the world, work your business, but remember, all those people you’re cold messaging…they’re going through something. They’re fighting a battle you have NO idea about and your copy and paste messages just might hurt them more than help.

Love, Me

The Reason

“I’m just not one to air my dirty laundry.”

That’s what someone told me a little over a week ago in regards to my blog.

I had already had a…tough… day. It was my last day at my old job. And it was absolutely my time for that chapter of my life to end, but it’s tough to leave people who you spent 50+ hours a week with for the last 3 years. Just to put it out there, the first week at my new job was absolutely incredible. But this post isn’t about that.

Anyway, after this tough day someone said to me, they don’t know why I do this (write in my blog). It’s just me airing my dirty laundry which is not what they would expect for me to do.

And when I got in the car to go home, I lost it. I started questioning everything. I questioned leaving my job. I questioned working my side business. I questioned writing my blog. I questioned all of the things that have made me who I am today.

And I almost deleted my blog.

I almost deleted the thing that provides me therapy and happiness and relief from how I feel. I almost deleted the thing that provides OTHERS with the comfort that they are not alone.

And then I said NO. I said, THIS is the reason that I do this!

Now, I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way because ALL of these are terrible and I would never wish them on anyone. BUT if I were a person with chronic physical illness writing a blog, I would be celebrated. If I were a mom with a baby in the NICU writing a blog, I would be comforted. If I were a heart surgery patient sharing my treatment story writing a blog, I would be supported.

Why is me as a person with mental illness and sharing my daily battle, writing a blog airing my dirty laundry? THIS is the stigma I am FIGHTING DAILY to destroy. Physical illness and mental illness are BOTH illnesses. EVERY FREAKING PERSON FIGHTS THEIR OWN BATTLES. Don’t discount one persons over another just because you can physically see their wounds.

I’m done being sorry for my depression. I’m done being sorry for my anxiety. I’m done being sorry for sharing my story.

Don’t give in to the shit society tells you is “not appropriate”. You don’t know how many lives you can save by sharing YOUR story and YOUR struggle. Don’t give up. Let’s DESTROY this STIGMA TOGETHER.

Love,

Me ❤

Treatment

Hiii.

So, for months, maybe even a year now, my Psychiatrist has been telling me that I should see a therapist.

Don’t get me wrong, I 100% support going to see and talk with a therapist. I saw my therapist for 8 years and I loved her!

But I also am no longer naive to my illness, as well as what I need, and what I can handle at any given moment. Being officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety for 12 years, and suffering for much longer, I know what I need, when I need it. I’m not trying to sound like “I know it all”. Because I don’t. But, I also know that having to leave work early once a week to go to therapy would just cause me more stress and anxiety than talking through anything would help. It would be a complete moot point.

Anyways, I was talking with my Psychiatrist during my most recent appointment about a week and a half ago, and I asked him what suggestions he might have for me. He (again) suggested therapy, but after explaining why that wasn’t an option at this moment, he told me one thing he knows will help. Laugher.

I nodded because it seemed like the appropriate thing to do, but I was skeptical to say the least. I thought to myself on the drive home, “Laughing? Really? Maybe I’ll watch some Scooby Doo or something and that will make me laugh.” The thing is, I didn’t remember the last time I truly belly laughed. Of course, being the squirrel that I am, the thoughts of laughing left my brain and I went on with my life as normal.

I went to work Monday, Tuesday, and a half day on Wednesday, and then left for Knoxville on Thursday. If you know me, you know how much I love travel and airplanes, but also how much I hate being away from my husband and pups. Well, I was anxious to fly alone to a state I’d never been to with a bunch of women I had only interacted with over social media. I told myself that I needed this. That God was trying to show me something by bringing me here, so I needed to take the time to follow His plan and listen to him. And holy cow did He have a plan for me.

I have not laughed as hard as I did this past weekend, and I have not felt as loved by a group of friends as I did this past weekend. And dang it did it feel good. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had a full (long) weekend full of laughter. And to be honest, I didn’t realize how it had impacted me and my depression until I got home and went back to work.

I didn’t feel an ounce of depression while I was in Knoxville. Yes, I was sad and missed my hubby and puppers, but depression did not consume me for one single stinking minute. Laughter, love, friendship, and happiness consumed me while I was there.

Coming back and rejoining the reality that is work made me realize how much laughter had prevented all of the bad feelings from overcoming me. I don’t laugh at work. At my work, if you’re laughing, you’re distracted from working, and if you’re distracted from working, you’re wasting company money.

Now, I’m not saying to waste company money, but I am saying that you deserve laughter in your life. And if you spend 10 hours a day at work, all 10 hours shouldn’t be spent holding back tears praying for 6:00 to arrive.

Wherever it is, find your laughter and make it your reality, because it can help make all the difference.

Love,

Me ❤

Drowning

Hiii.

I have been thinking for (literally) weeks about this post. I felt like a writer with writer’s block. No words I tried to form quite fit how I was feeling.

And then of course the thought of, “Well, what if this person, or that person sees it. I have to keep things PC.”

Well, fuck that. If I’m not being open, honest, raw, and real about how I’m feeling, then how the hell am I supposed to be fighting this stigma I am so determined to destroy?

So, here goes…

Guys, I’m drowning. I’m drowning in every freaking aspect of my life. And yes, that does sound dramatic, but it’s seriously all I can think about right now and for the past 8 weeks. I’m drowning at work. I’m drowning at home. I’m drowning walking through Target (and not in a good way). I’m drowning in anxiety. And I’m drowning in depression. D R O W N I N G, drowning.

And the funny thing about drowning is, people can ask you if you’re okay all they want, but when your head is being held under water, how to they expect you to respond? Sure, I’m good. Just choking on water and treading for my life, but no worries. Keep pouring MORE water on me. It’s cool. I got it.

People rarely seem to ask for favors or for help with the intention of you saying “no”. They ask because it’s polite. If you say no, then HOW RUDE ARE YOU? How DARE you not help out a friend, or a co-worker, or your spouse. What kind of person DOES THAT? A terrible one. That’s who.

When the fuck did it become merely courtesy to ask? Just PC to ask, although you’re truly disinterested in what the real answer is. You know you’ll get a “yes”, or that person will PAY for it. THIS is how we lose touch with the sea floor in the first place.

So, how are you supposed to stop drowning when more and more water is being poured on you, with no way to stop it? And even if you somehow manage to hold your head above water long enough to ask for a life vest you’re judged for even asking. “Can you believe she asked for a life vest? She’s so lazy”.

No wonder people shut down completely. The only survival skill we have left is to give up, and hope our body floats to the top of the current, so we can swim out of the riptide to safety.

If this is you, just about to give up and shut down completely, don’t. I’m here. I’m here with biggest and most buoyant life vest you can imagine. I’m here to help you. Even though I am not always sure I can help myself. I got the most buoyant one for a reason. We’ll share. It won’t be a Titanic replay. Let’s float to safety together.

Love Always,

Me ❤

Irrelevant

Hiiii.

This week was one of those weeks where I felt like a complete ghost. Like I was walking the halls just a phantom of my normal self. Like no one actually saw me, and me being gone was irrelevant.

Now, I’m not saying this to get sympathy. I’m not saying this to attract attention. I’m saying this because it’s real. It’s on my heart. It’s on my mind.

I HATE feeling irrelevant. In my heart I know people would miss me when I’m gone, but my depression clouds my head and my heart. My depression is what’s telling me I’m irrelevant. My depression is what’s telling me I won’t be missed. My depression is what takes my head so far from reality that I get lost.

I lose my cause. I lose my purpose. I lose my why. I lose myself. I know that there is still a glimpse of me somewhere. But it’s like it’s locked behind a door and I have a whole ring full of hundreds of keys that all look alike.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I just have to find the right key. But, I don’t know how many keys I’ll have to go through, or how long it will take until I find the right one. All I know is the right key is there, I just have to keep going until I find it.

So, here’s the thing…giving up and giving in won’t open that door any faster. And breaking down the door will do you no good. You’re behind that locked door for a reason. Take your time, find the right key, and when you do, THAT is exactly when you’re meant to open the door. Not a minute sooner or a minute later.

So, here I am. Still looking. Still checking the keys on the key rings, and in turn, checking myself. Checking my surroundings. Checking my circle. Checking what makes me, me. Because when I find out WHY I’m here, when I find my purpose. THAT is when I’ll reach the right key.

Love,

Me ♥️

Why

Hiiiii.

Almost everyone has a “why”. People’s “why”s can range from family, to money, to success, to faith, and everything in between. In my humble opinion, NO ONE can tell you that you have a bad “why”. IT’S NOT YOUR WHY, SO YOU HONESTLY DON’T GET AN OPINION.

Sorry (not really sorry) for the caps lock, but it’s true. What drives me to act is different from what drives you to act, and that’s OKAY. We’re all different for a reason. If we were all driven by the same thing, I’m pretty sure the whole world would combust. We need to have different dreams, goals, and driving factors. It’s what keeps our society going.

Regardless of your “why”, and regardless of how close you feel to your “why” right this minute, I encourage you to zoom out, take a look around, and see if what you’re doing and how you’re acting is contributing to your “why” or detracting from it.

If you’re feeling down, unsuccessful, lacking motivation, or whatever, you’re probably too far away from your “why”. Whether it’s intentional or not, you’re not doing things with your “why” in mind. Meaning, there could be a subconscious selfish drive behind your actions. THIS is when things start to fall apart.

When you re-calibrate your mind to make your “why” your main focus, you’ll be surprised what you suddenly begin to accomplish. You might have even already accomplished these things, but your clouded mind didn’t allow you to grasp that you actually DID accomplish something. That you actually DID do the right thing. That you actually DID achieve success.

We focus SO MUCH on all of our failures, our flaws, our mistakes, our screw ups, and everywhere that we fell short. And those small little things CONSUME our mind to make us us blur out all of the good.

For example, today was testing day for my “students” at work. There were 5 people who didn’t pass their exam. Now, at my job, you need to pass this exam in order to retain employment. Therefore, 5 people lost their jobs today. It is my job to teach them, aid them, and help them achieve success on this exam. I was and am so upset every time that I can’t get a student across the finish line. I am fully aware that although I can help, I can’t take the test for them. That I can only give them the vehicle and they’re the ones that need to drive it. Regardless, my guilt sets in, and I dwell on the ones I couldn’t get to pass. Now, I don’t say this to brag, but I think it helps put things in perspective for your own situation. Despite all the “thank you”s, the “I couldn’t have done this without you”s, etc, I’m still so intensely focused on the ones who didn’t pass. That was, until I was on my way home listening to Rachel Hollis’ podcast, “Rise”. First, it’s INCREDIBLE. Second, it really brought to light all of the things I was feeling about my failures that day. I had 5 failures. But I had 29 passes, including two students who I worked two on one with in order to give them more individualized workshops. I should be PROUD of that. I should CELEBRATE that. Not that I am the one who did all the work because I absolutely didn’t, but I should celebrate our collaboration and successes as a team.

So, moral of the long-winded story is: Stop. Zoom out. Look around. Re-calibrate. Reset your focus on your why. And then GO FOR IT.

However you define success, it’s right around the corner from you. Don’t give up.

Love,

Me ❤

Impostor Syndrome

Hiiii.

So, I’m reading this Self-Help book. I’m probably what they call a Self-Help Junkie. I love these books, maybe to a detriment to my mental health.

Well, regardless, the one I’m currently reading (AKA listening to on Audible ’cause who has time to read with an hour commute and a 12 hour work day?), the author was talking about a study that she read in the Journal of Behavioral Science that discusses Impostor Syndrome. No, it’s not in the DSM, and no, it’s not scientifically PROVEN, but it is real as can be.

When I first started listening to this chapter, I was almost turned off because I was convinced it didn’t apply to me.

The author explains that Impostor Syndrome is when you as a person are convinced, despite any factual evidence proving otherwise, that you are a fraud and that you don’t actually deserve the success you are achieving. Despite all of the performance reviews, despite all of the feedback, the compliments, and the growth you’ve seen in yourself, you believe you aren’t actually deserving of the success that you’re achieving. The author notes that the study showed that although Impostor Syndrome appears in people of all genders, it is found that women “own up” to it more often than everyone else.

I was convinced that this syndrome didn’t apply to me because I don’t think I’m a fraud. I’m super duper real, open, and honest (hence the blog). But the more I thought about it, I realized that I am 100% suffering from Imposter Syndrome. Not that I think that I’m a fraud, but I 100% sabotage myself by speaking poorly about myself, thinking negative things about myself, and expecting the worst things to happen to me.

THIS is Impostor Syndrome. And it can affect EVERYONE.

Why do we do this? WHY? I don’t know what it is for you, but for me, it’s a lack of self confidence. I’ve always lacked self confidence and I don’t know why. I’m getting better, but it’s still not 100%. On top of my self-help book addiction, I also went and saw Rachel Hollis’ “Made For More” movie and it was LIFE CHANGING. I put what I learned from Rachel Hollis and what I learned from my Audible together and I had an epiphany.

Instead of worrying about fixing myself and my confidence, I need to worry about standing up for my sisters. If I can’t stand up for myself, the least I can do is stand up for them. I’m taking this as my first step to combating my Imposter Syndrome. I’m ready to stop discounting myself and start adding back my tax. I’m ready to go.

Love,

Me ❤