For many in Canada you are most likely aware that today is Bell's #letstalk day to raise awareness about mental health. While Bell is getting criticized because they are a large money hog business, what people may fail to realize is that they do donate money and it does bring awareness to mental health. Just like pregnancy and infant loss, mental health is another taboo no talk subject. Or, it use to be.
Things are changing, people like me won't shut up about life and how loss and mental health affects us. I never will, it's the reason for this blog. I want others to know how difficult it can be but that we aren't defined by these things, ptsd does not define me though some days the anxiety sure gives me a run for my money, but I am more. It may be very hard for me to see that but I know it's there.
I want someone who is sitting there tonight in tears eating a bucket of ice cream, or french fries or rocking, or doing whatever they are doing to try and self soothe, I want you to know it's okay. It's okay not to be okay. It's okay to have bad days, own your bad days. Tell them to fuck off and beat them down. If it requires you staying in bed or at least in comfy sweats and binge watching TV for a day, do it. Do what helps soothe you. Bake 100 cookies, go for a walk, eat all the chocolate, talk to a friend (my best friend of 27 years came over today and like always it was so nice, its a special friendship and I cherish the length of it. She also gets me and knows I would LOVE her mothers 70's macrame plant hangers and I totally do, the things that excite me these days, I blame that one on my mental health, I mean who gets excited about macrame plant hangers? Me, that's who. Never in a million years would have ever guessed that) spend it with people who make you feel warm and fuzzy. People who make you smile and laugh.
Cry if you have to, I had such an emotional release last month but its what my body needed. The stress and anxiety had built up in my stomach and I was having horrible digestive problems. Shortly after my huge emotional release things calmed down. Cry, I need to do it more often.
I won't ever be cured of my mental illness, it will be with me for life but as the years go on, I'll learn how to deal with it better. For me, everything hit at once. It was a shit show after Ty died and then subsequently what we went through with Jacob and after his death. up until that point my life was pretty good. I didn't really have much anxiety (I've always had some social anxiety but that is due to significant bullying as a child) my mind was pretty sound and clear but then within 11 months, life turned traumatic. I'm talking big blow, and two big blows at that. There is no way I could do life.
Add on Bees birth and 6 months later when I was officially diagnosed. I don't often talk about all my diagnosis I've had in the last 7 years but here is the list: ptsd, general anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, grief (no shit Sherlock on that one) sadd and general depression.
A whole shit load of shit and mental issues all within 7 years. Everything came crashing down fast, so very fast my mind just left,it checked out and for the most part, it's still there but I'm trying everyday. I am incredibly thankful for the last 2 years in the ptsd program, it truly has impacted my life in a significant way. That being said, it has also made me very aware (they talk a lot about being in the now) and in-tune with things which seems to have increased the anxiety 10fold. I do know there is an anxiety program and you can bet I'll be signing up for that shortly. I just needed a break for now to organize where everything is at this moment.
I know my journey is still going. I know I'm struggling, I really have been lately. Its been getting the better of me (sadd is really bad right now which makes me want to stay in and do nothing when I really need to just get out) I know I still have a lot to learn. I know how successful the ptsd program was so I'm positive the anxiety one will be just as good. I just know it will be a lot of exhausting work and emotional and challenging but in the end, if it means I can live with a settled stomach not bunched in a knot and actually live, it'll be worth it.
So today, lets talk. Share your story with me, you all know mine very well. What do you struggle with, what mental illness are you living with? Remember, self care is NOT selfish, it's okay to not be okay, talk, reach out, do what you have to. Take a mental health day, however that may look to you.
(P.S. On a side note, Stingray always make me laugh, they look so damn happy, This picture always makes me smile, it is most certainly one of my favourites from our California trip)