Hi! Happy Self-care Sunday! I hope your day has been full of only things that soothe your soul! Mine was spent with my mom doing errands, going to the dog park and napping (essential Sunday practice). My mom has always been my best friend but lately, being with her has an extra special meaning. I cherish our time together so much.
This space is not intended to be a timeline of my life but I wanted to go more in depth of where my mental health journey started.
My doctor has always told me that everyone has different levels of stress thresholds (this is obvious to some, but at the age of 19 I didn’t realize the importance of this on your health). I picture a little chemistry-beaker-type-thing at the back of our brains that all have different volume capabilities. Everyone’s 100% full is completely different and at various points in our lives I think we determine just what that is for us. Mine, just so happens to be incredibly low. This doesn’t make me a baby, lazy or a weak person. That is how I was genetically made (thanks mom and dad!). Nothing is unfortunate about this, though. I was made this way and it is a part of who I am. It makes me appreciate the little things in life. I wouldn’t be me without it, and therefore I am thankful for it. I used to pity myself, feel bad for myself and let it run my life. But through years of work, while I still struggle with it, it does not define me or the way I live.
In fall of 2011, I was working my corporate job about to turn just 20 years old, my parents had moved away, I tried to go to school (because I felt like that was what I was supposed to do - everyone around me was doing it). These are all things quite a few of us go through which you may think is no big deal, but my threshold seemed to be maxed and then some, and the way my body told me that was very scary. I started to feel VERY weird. Not myself. I cried every day. I thought I was dying constantly. Eventually, I couldn’t get out of my bed to even shower. I was scared of showering. I was scared of opening my eyes, of standing up, of being alive. I couldn’t go to work, the only place I went was the doctor’s office- if somebody drove me. My head was foggy, I couldn’t see past a foot in front of me. I was afraid of living but even more afraid of dying.
All I saw was fear.
Everyone around me knew something was wrong, which scared me even more. My 20th birthday was spent laying on my bedroom floor with all my girlfriends around me waiting to go out and party as we had planned but I couldn’t make myself. My parents came home at Thanksgiving and they didn’t even see their own daughter. They physically saw me, but the light in my eyes was gone and I can only imagine how difficult that was for them to see. I didn’t feel like life was real any more. At that point, I felt like I had no other option than to go on medication like my doctor had suggested. I didn’t fully understand what was happening to me or what I was going through but I was going to lose my job and everyone around me if I didn’t. Going on medication is not for everyone obviously, and it certainly isn’t a cure. But it allowed me to get through my days and open my mind to getting help. How could I sit in a therapists office or go to yoga or do anything to help myself if I couldn’t even leave my bed?
Anyways, like I said at the beginning of this post, this is where my journey started. Or should I say this is when my anxiety issues surfaced and hit me like a ton of bricks. When that little beaker in the back of my brain maxed out and overflowed. Looking back I think (well, I know), I have always struggled with anxiety. One summer when I was young I didn’t eat because I thought everything had peanuts in it (which I'm allergic too). In grade nine I missed school for a week because I felt nauseous and thought I was dying.
Ah, if only I knew then what I know now…
Thank you for listening! There will be more to come on the roller-coaster that has been my recovery. Stay tuned!