Be Strong. You Never Know Who You Are Inspiring!

Writing this blog is super scary for me. I’m an anxious person so I wonder…”Will anyone even read this?” “Will I offend anyone?”

I started a public Instagram page and having TWO public pages is scary. I feel vulnerable and exposed, but I also know it’s opening new doors and adventures for me.

I wrote my last blog on anxiety and I had a few people reach out to me privately thanking me for being so open and candid. Since that post, four different people in my personal life reached out and thanked me for sharing my story and my experience on how to handle anxiety.

The Truth Bomb Mom, and blogger, Kristina Kuzmic, courageously shared a story called “HOPE”. Another blogger, “That’s Inappropriate” also shared Kristina’s post.  Meredith of “That’s inappropriate” also shared a separate post, specifically about anxiety.

Feeling it was a good message, I shared the post about anxiety to my personal Facebook Page and “3” people liked it…THREE…Why is there this stigma that it’s NOT okay to talk about Mental Health? I didn’t anticipate hundred of people to comment or hit the “like” button, but thought that more people would react or respond to a serious issue that plagues our country. Every single person knows somebody who suffers from anxiety or another mental illness. People struggling with mental illness don’t need to be shunned or talked about, they need support.

img_9853.pngThis past Saturday before I ran the Spring Lake 5, one of my friends mentioned a 22K  for veterans. Another friend said, why 22K? Apparently, 22 veterans commit suicide DAILY because of PTSD. That’s 22 TOO MANY for men and women who have served our country and stood up for our freedom. They deserve support. (Check out ruckfor22.org). This hit me hard as my father in law is a veteran and has openly discussed his struggles with PTSD. Why do we as a society shun or not want to talk about mental health issues? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with admitting you have a problem. Why suffer alone? It’s a disease…Just like if you had a sinus infection or the flu. YOU TAKE MEDICINE so you do not feel sick…Well…Guess what, people with mental health issues take medicine too, and it does NOT make them weak. I apologize if I am coming across as brash or rude, but this is a topic that I am passionate about.

Prince William, Duchess Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry are speaking up about mental health over in the UK and it’s admirable how they are using their platform to bring awareness to an issue that many are plagued by, but are too scared to admit. “Heads Together” www.headstogether.org.uk is their foundation, and it warms my heart that they are opening up about their struggles over the loss of their mother. Prince Harry openly discussed the emotions they experienced in the aftermath of her loss, and even now. If they can encourage or inspire somebody to get help, or not suffer in silence, they have succeeded.

I will never shy away from my struggles with anxiety. It makes me a more empathetic person and it makes me… ME. Clearly, it’s not pleasant having anxiety, but it comes and it goes. I have learned to recognize and to manage my triggers. For example, I will be presenting a scholarship in my brother’s name. My dear friend Rachel will also be presenting a scholarship in her brother’s name. Times like this trigger my anxiety because the loss of my brother is SO REAL.  Prior to scholarship night, my anxiety was high due to buying a house and my grandmother getting sick – for somebody prone to anxiety, it doesn’t take much.

Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD are only a few of the mental health issues that plagues our society. For anyone struggling, stay positive and strong, even in your hardest days. Mental health issues DO NOT make us any less of a person. For those of you that do not suffer anxiety or any other mental health disorder, but love somebody who does, remember, we just want to be accepted for who we are. Be careful with your words – we aren’t weak, but we are sensitive – and because of our empathy and sensitivity, we will be your strongest supporters, your most loyal, and your most loving friends.
Continue reading “Be Strong. You Never Know Who You Are Inspiring!”

Mental Health Awareness Month

Let’s talk about the hard stuff…

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the past, I suffered from anxiety — horrible, debilitating anxiety.  I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.  In 2008, my brother was in a tragic accident and I woke up to a horrible phone call that changed my life. I believe that I have always had anxiety, but this heartbreaking  event triggered it.

After my brother died, I could have sunk into a deep depression — but I didn’t. I was proactive with my emotions: I went to a grief counselor and started exercising regularly. My family started a scholarship in my brother’s name and the Steven N. Sprague Memorial Run. Despite all of the positive changes, but life was irrevocably different.

After becoming a mom, my anxiety got worse. Everything was terrifying. The worrying was constant.  I was scared to “love” and lose. I loved my daughter, but was terrified something would happen to her.

To add, there was also this expectation of being a “perfect” mother. Constant judgment from strangers — and let’s not talk about social media…

I had my second daughter and I didn’t seem to struggle as much. But after the birth of my third daughter in November 2015, I struggled immensely with anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to leave my house. I had anxiety over everything — driving, going for a run, even going to the store. Feeling this way eventually let me depression. I was embarrassed to tell anyone how I was feeling, even my husband. My life was essentially “perfect”. I had three beautiful daughters, a husband who adored me, a supportive family, and loving friends. Why was I feeling like this?

No matter what I did, I couldn’t snap out of it.

When I started weaning Piper, my anxiety got worse — imagine that? I was miserable and scared. I hated how I was feeling —

Why couldn’t I just be “happy”?

Why couldn’t I make the worry “go away”?

I felt like I would lose everyone in my life if I didn’t act like “everything was perfect” or that I was happy all the time. I over-analyzed everything (I still do, but in a healthy way).

After patience and a lot of time, I realized my anxiety does not make me weak and it does not define me.

 

my-family
My family at my brother in law’s wedding.

If you are suffering, do not be afraid to talk about it. Find people you can trust to talk about how you feel and be proactive in managing your struggles. Realize that if somebody can’t love you during the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes the REALLY ugly, than it might be time to find some new people.

My life is beautiful. And some days, it’s a wonderful mess — but it won’t be forever…

 

 

Coping with Anxiety