Hearing, Healing

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The other day I was speaking with my husband and he kept getting distracted and we were continually interrupted by our six-year-old.  I tried to get the same thought out four or five times before I started to feel frustrated by the situation.  This is key for a few reasons: Due to stress and anxiety and several other factors, I struggle with short term memory, so when I have a thought it’s pretty critical that I get it out in the moment.  With constant interruptions chances are I will either forget it or get swayed to a different point that had nothing to do with what I was trying to convey—and then I might remember it later and the whole cycle will begin again.  I have also recently been put on new medication to assist with some of these factors and things are slowly improving, but I notice I still feel that frustration when I’m not able to fully articulate a thought.  That’s when it hit me:  this may not be chemical, this may be emotional as well. I need to be heard to heal.

Earlier this week I spoke about the seen and not heard environment from my grandmother.  I want to be clear that it wasn’t like that all the time because I wasn’t with her every day and she also wasn’t like that when it was a small group of us (like just us or the two of us and my grandfather).  But I was gifted with a lot to say and a lot of opinions and thoughts and questions as a kid so in those moments I had to hold back, it felt like I had no value to those around me.  That’s hard to deal with because I grew up with a large family, so to have family dismiss me, it truly felt like rejection.  I felt unheard.  People also made assumptions about me because of my appearance so I spent a lot of time spoken over, ignored, and dismissed.  I only share this to demonstrate where the need to be heard comes from, I know I’m not alone in this.

The truth is I think a lot of us need to be heard to heal.  I’m not just talking about hearing the words or speaking, I’m talking about hearing and seeing what’s underneath, what is really needed.  It is about being seen and connecting with others so we can validate that we are not alone   It’s in those moments that I truly feel seen when I think the healing part of being heard is the being seen.  It was never just about talking or hearing my voice and I don’t think it is for many of us.  We need connection and it’s so hard to find real connection these days.  We are always going, always busy, always distracted, and everything needs to be done in 10 seconds or less.  There are days I feel like I don’t even understand what people are trying to say, it’s like another world.  This is about a deep feeling of being out of place—so I truly need that connection where I can find it.

Life happens and we will always have something get in the way of what we try to say and there will always be someone who misunderstands us, that is human nature.  When we have the opportunity to be seen, take it, but make sure it is by people who truly care and love us.  The people who understand us carry us and teach us how to love ourselves as well.  If we see someone struggling with a thought or someone who seems extra distant, that is the time they need people the most.  I eventually told my husband how important it was for me to be heard and to have real conversations together.  I also explained to my child that we have to work on interrupting.  It won’t always be that easy and there will be times we need to walk away from a group that isn’t for us.  Keep going until we find the ones who are for us.

Our Own Flight

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“Make decisions from talent, not desperation,” Katt Williams.  This was shared by Candice Denise and the full story is about Leslie Jones speaking with Katt Williams and Leslie says she is desperate because she’s broke but Katt adds, “You’re not broke you just don’t have any money, you have talent.  You need to start making decisions from your talent, not your desperation.”  Our situations often lie to us.  We create a story or a feeling about a temporary thing and we cling to it, but how we frame our experience is what reflects back to us.  We all have gifts.  We all have talent and it needs to be shared.  When we learn to make decisions from what we can offer the world, energy responds differently and new doors open up, doors we didn’t think existed.

I’ve felt that fear of not having enough.  My husband and I went through the lowest of lows and had to rebuild.  We fought and we disagreed about how to use our tools and money and it led us to the bottom of a path that neither of us wanted.  I share this because it is the direct cause of a lot of my anxiety and stress so I have a tendency to still operate from that place.  Even if I’m thinking that energy is helpful because I’m being practical, all the universe is hearing is fear.  And yes, I am still afraid.  I never want to get back to that place, I want to move forward.  So when we make decisions that involve a financial crunch, it scares me.  But in that place, I’m not thinking clearly.  I’m not seeing the possibilities.  It is truly a feat to change that mindset in the thick of it—it’s hard to be practical under pressure.  But it’s a necessity.

When we create a strong enough foundation of who we are we know we can weather any storm.  It goes back to the bird and the tree again—trust our ability to fly rather than the branch we sit on.  Circumstances change and most of what we experience is temporary.  So don’t make decisions out of fear, or based on the immediate circumstance.  Always try to keep the big picture in mind.  Know that this too will pass and try to at least have faith that it was for a reason.  The reason may be messy and it may feel like falling apart, but the truth is that it is guiding us and giving us the strength we need for the next stage in our journey.  Don’t let the dark take over our light and learn to keep that light at the front so the shadow falls behind us.  Our talent shines brighter than fear so focus on that.  Remember the energy we are trying to attract and keep your focus on what we can do, what we can offer.  The rest will take care of itself.

Carry Love

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The love I offer myself is what carries me. The truth is I’m not sure I ever knew how to love myself.  I knew how to keep myself alive and moving, but there was no sense of living, and certainly no sense of appreciating myself.  Healing is painful and I still struggle to love all of me.  There are days I struggle to love any of me, and there are reasons for that I know I will face someday.  But I know the truth: honoring who I am is the only way through.  Love is the only way to see all that we truly are.  We are so quick to offer love to those around us even if it comes at our own expense all while dismissing our own needs and worth.  We act like we don’t need the same love we give and that we aren’t even worthy of it if we did need it. 

I’ve often read things like, “Speak to yourself like you would a child,” or, “Speak to yourself like you’re younger self.”  Those things really weren’t helpful because I never learned how to love who I am and I was never demonstrated any patience as a child—seen and not heard, straight from my grandmother.  My parents weren’t like that but they certainly valued the quiet and the rules.  Perfection made life easier and there was always a certain way for things to be done.  And honestly they didn’t know how to love themselves either.  My mother was raised by a woman who demanded perfection and cleanliness because of how it reflected on her.  Not to say she wasn’t a loving woman, but it skewed my mother’s perception of what she had to offer because her actions were never based on her wants and needs.  My dad went to work for the family business.  Again, not that he suffered, but he wasn’t taught any emotional intelligence. He knew love but business came first so he didn’t know how to manage that love.

Sometimes we have to learn how to love ourselves again.  We need to understand that the same patience and tolerance we give to others needs to be spread to us as well.  And we need to know that we can’t get that from anyone but ourselves.  We know ourselves the best and we need to be our greatest advocate and ally.  At the end of the day that is all we have, ourselves.  Of course I recommend building a support system and finding people who understand, respect, and lift us up, but what happens in those really dark moments?  We need to pick ourselves up first.  I do believe we have the families we have for a reason and, for me, it is about learning my worth.  I came years after my family had been together and I know that dynamic shifted.  I know they felt the strain when I came and all I ever wanted was acceptance.  The lessons I’m learning is to accept myself.  We can love ourselves no matter what, and yes, that is what carries us. 

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for pivoting thoughts.  Life throws us curveballs. Naturally they never come at an opportune time, but sometimes they are a doozy.  We recently received some announcements at work that weren’t favorable and we know that some decisions are going to be made that impact staffing.  While I have concerns, for the first time I tried to see this as in opportunity rather than a devastation.  There is always the chance that this won’t impact me directly.  But the truth is, I never really trusted my own wings and this could be that chance.  This could be the opportunity to build the life I’ve been saying I wanted for how long.  Regardless, I have no say in the matter so I sit tight and know all is working out exactly as it is meant to.

Today I am grateful for options.  Change happens in the blink of an eye and it terrifies me.  I am not the person who goes with the flow very well even though I try to be and I consciously work on it.  I love a good plan and I love being in control of what comes next.  We recently found out the direction some of the changes at work are going and there is a chance it won’t be favorable for a lot of us.  So this is something I have no control over.  But I am proud because for the first time, I didn’t collapse myself into the fear of what comes next or playing out the worst case scenarios.  I mean, they still popped in my head, but that wasn’t what I focused on.  I took the time to really weigh the options and consider what may come next.  Sometimes options can be overwhelming and they may not go in the direction we think, but having options is a gift.  There is always a way to turn things around.

Today I am grateful for love.  I’m talking about platonic love, specifically inclusive love.  I spent a lot of my life on the outside, watching people bond and share time together and I was always rushing from one thing to another trying to prove myself to worth with busyness.  I truly never really learned how to form relationships with people, I always felt like I had to do everything on my own.  As an adult, I’ve felt the need for inclusiveness and support, more than I ever did as a kid.  I feel so grateful to have found people who support me and care for me—and not just me, but my husband and son as well.  There is such a wonderful feeling I get when I see these people and I am so grateful that I have them in my life.  There is no façade, no acting, no pressure.  We have a great relationship and I am lucky.

Today I am grateful for beauty.  Those of us who struggle with anxiety, depression, or both, know it’s easy to miss the beauty around us.  It’s easy to get swept up in the overwhelm of the emotions.  I truly enjoy finding the beauty in the moment, because there is always beauty in the moment.    Whether it is the sunset or sunrise, cuddling with our kids or loved ones, playing games, sharing a nice meal, sitting quietly with a good book, seeing a color that we love, seeing an outfit that strikes us, witnessing love, feeling love, reaching a personal goal, finding a place that feels like home, making a meal, laughing, going for a run, seeing a play, going to a museum, looking at art, making art, really looking at flowers or nature, simply spending time in nature—there is so much beauty.  We are blessed with beauty around us.  Let’s focus on that instead of some of the ugliness and watch how the world shifts.

Today I am grateful for health.  This may become something I throw in weekly because I am fascinated with how the body works.  I’ve also been grateful to how my body is responding to new things I’ve been doing with eating, drinking, medication, and a few new exercises so that has shown me that it is always possible to change and improve our health to where we want it to be.  The body adapts to what we give it and I know the body likes to move and to experience its limits as far as endurance and strength.  But I love taking care of myself.  I’m still far from perfect, but I am grateful to have access and to be able to make better decisions for myself.  You can’t live the life you want without health and the strength and endurance to do it.  That is also a beautiful thing.

Today I am grateful for fun.  I don’t share gratitude for this enough.  Growing up I definitely had fun times but fun was never a priority for me.  My siblings were older so I didn’t have a group of people in the home to show me how to have fun.  I experienced a lot of heaviness as a kid due to circumstances no one could control.  Again, it’s not like fun didn’t exist but I often found myself being told that my fun was too loud or that I was a bimbo because I dove into fun so completely in the moments I was allowed to.  So I took the serious route.  The funny thing is people didn’t really appreciate the seriousness either.  I didn’t know what end was up for so many reasons (and now I really understand why I spent so much of my adult life confused and waiting for direction from others).  I always thought life needed to be taken seriously and that fun was a reward.  Now I’m seeing how important fun is to creating life.  Not just enjoyment, but actual fun.  Tapping into creativity and imagination and seeing possibilities.  If we can all see the possibilities again, life opens up in new directions.  I am so grateful for that opportunity.  Life doesn’t have to be heavy, we are meant to enjoy it.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

The Eyes See

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What is behind your eyes holds more power than what’s in front of them.  I heard this the other day and it was another one of those moments where I instantly understood why thoughts matter.  Ryan Blair talks about how our world is simultaneously what we see and more than what we see.  In those terms he’s saying that the world we have now is a result of our beliefs and actions and that it can be more.  If we’ve managed to create this, we can create something else and when we align with who we are and speak it to the universe, that creation shifts the world when it manifests.  It takes a bold confidence and trust to become who we are meant to be because we need to get past millennia of the world telling us who to be.  Why are we still operating on outdated software so to speak?  What worked then isn’t necessarily what works now and finding a new solution requires new ideas.  Ironically it also requires foresight to anticipate what the long-term will bring, but the overall is that there are possibilities.

With Ryan’s idea of the world being a result of what we’ve done and that we can do more, there is an undertone of power.  I’ve said before, power comes from within.  Power comes from clarity and dedication to the truth of who we are.  Power comes from knowing that we can do things that haven’t been done before and that sometimes it takes a little extra work on our part to share that vision.  Our mind and imagination have ultimate bearing on how far we go—if we limit what we can do, that is the result we will get.  If we believe it will work out and that we can do anything, that is the result we see.  So, know that our thoughts and imagination hold the key to creation and magic more than any evidence of what currently exists in the world.  We have gifts to share and we were given those gifts for a reason—we need to trust our ability to use those gifts.

Trusting ourselves is next-level magic.  Like the bird rests knowing it can fly, we can learn to rely on our own wings when it comes to creating the life we want.  Change is hard and it’s far easier to trust demonstrated perceived success than it is to go out on that limb and see how things change.  The truth is everything we have today from our health system to our government was created by going out on a limb.  Now, I want to reiterate that even those ideas need to change because we are continuing to evolve.  Often times we cap ourselves because we are afraid of what comes next.  But if we learn to trust our instincts and project long-term potential, we utilize creativity we may not have otherwise known we had.  We can’t misuse what was given to us if we see what the true purpose is behind it.  Let’s sharpen our skills at seeing how our gifts can open new doors to the world, things we didn’t think possible.  At the end of the day, we learn it’s all possible, it was merely us who stopped it from coming true.   

Decide And Declare

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“Never underestimate the power of deciding what you want and declaring it to be so,” Ashmi Path.  Continuing our conversation from yesterday regarding aligning and shifting our beliefs, I want to take us to the next level.  Often we approach our dreams with a skeptical quality.  We like the idea of it but we don’t fully commit to it.  It becomes one of those nebulous, “wouldn’t it be nice if…” type of thoughts without any real truth behind it.  When we are aligned and clear on what it is we want and we do the work to remove limiting beliefs, we can take on what it feels like to co-create from that state.  The universe doesn’t give permission to achieve goals or receive things, rather it asks us to find what resonates with us and learn to operate from a place of surrender.  Accept that the path we are on will ultimately lead us to where we want to go even if there are some additional twists and turns at times.

The more we learn to align and shed the belief around hard work or fear, we learn to ask ourselves different questions like if we are doing things because we want to or if we think we have to.  Aligning with the idea that there are multiple ways to achieve a goal simply opens more opportunities.  Sometimes seeing the opportunity is half the battle.  Sometimes knowing what we want is the other half of that battle.  There is another facet to alignment and limiting beliefs that we didn’t speak about yesterday and that’s the idea that in order to align we have to know who we are.  It goes back to our core and what we’ve experienced in our lives.  Often times we are working on outdated material and beliefs that were passed down to us, not from our own beliefs or values.  Once we establish a foundation around our truth, aligning is far easier.

There is truly power in declaring and owning what we want from the universe.  There is another power in actually following through and seeing it come to fruition.  All of that comes from knowing who we are and having the courage to stand firm in that.  We don’t all want the same thing and that is ok.  We all have unique ideas and talents and it is our job to bring them out, not meekly hide in what someone else tells us to do.  Don’t let someone else tell you what is possible because they are operating from their beliefs.  We are able to align and complement each other’s energy, but we don’t need to take on what someone else thinks we can or should do.  We decide that and a decision is an extremely powerful thing.  Sometimes that’s all it takes for the universe to understand what we want, a clear thought.  It matters because any fuzziness around what we try to bring into the world can’t be matched.  Fuzzy idea, fuzzy result.  Step up and declare who we are and what we want.  At this point the universe needs more people to bring the light and magic of who they are.  Decide who we are and let the rest unfold.  What are you declaring today? 

Work It Out

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“It doesn’t have to be hard, just aligned,” Ashmi Path.  The effort we put into something isn’t always an indicator of the result.  The effort we put into something isn’t a gauge of our worthiness.  Sometimes we have to be strong enough to let go and allow the flow of life do what it will and that takes a different kind of strength.  When we align with the flow, things happen that we couldn’t possibly do on our own.  I’m stubborn and fearful and that has made it difficult to trust at times.  I also grew up in an intensely guilt-filled household where we didn’t trust our inherent worth and effort was absolutely used to judge what we do.  I’m not saying that we don’t need hard work or that we won’t have to work hard at some point in our lives.  I’m saying that we don’t need to put obstacles in the way that make it increasingly difficult to reach a goal.  Believing it has to be hard is one of them.

The truth is our beliefs shape the course of our thoughts which creates the reality we see.  Believing something requires hard effort and struggle to get it is a lack mentality. Working on our beliefs and changing them toward something more conducive to allowing the reality we desire instead of preventing it, is possible.  While beliefs are harder to change than ideas, shifting a belief from fear and lack to trust and abundance can start with the idea that it’s possible (whatever “it” is for us).  Once we see an alternate reality is possible, we can break down and shift ideas around how we get what we want.  Again, this isn’t to suggest that we won’t have to work, but moving something at the same frequency is far easier than fighting to bring it to a level it doesn’t belong.  Understanding the energy of the universe is key.  That means the work we do must shift—there are other ways to achieve the goal.

Sometimes we don’t consider the thoughts we have a limiting belief.  For example, we believe that hard work shows character, strong will, dedication, and says something about the type of person we are.  While hard work may demonstrate those characteristics to a degree, putting those traits down to a certain nobility skews what’s actually happening: we are telling the universe that struggle is required in all we do.  That is based in fear and lack and proving to earn worth.  How much easier is it to shift our perspective and trust that there is enough for everyone and that our path is unique to us? How much easier is it to understand what we really want and need instead of thinking we need to show our worth to the world?  And how much better does it feel spending time dedicated in the work we love over what we think we are obligated to do?  Asking those questions is a good step toward aligning with who we are and getting what we actually want.  Aligning isn’t fully about ease because it’s a struggle at times to release what we think we know.  Aligning is about shifting and each small shift we can make gets us closer to what we want.  How can you make a small turn today?    

What Joy Really Does

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I saw a reel the other day and it was an elderly woman discussing things she wished she had done differently.  She essentially stop living for the when.  “When I get this amount of money.  When the kids are older.  When I get that job.  When I meet these people.  When we have that house.”  Living for the when takes the appreciation and magic out of the now.  As painful as the reality is, we won’t always get some of those when’s we think we want.  It may also be true that sometimes not getting them is a blessing.  Sometimes it has to form to come to us at the right time in the right way.  But we can’t let that potential future rob us of what we have in front of us.  This woman also talked about how living for when sucks the joy out of now.  She said, “Don’t postpone joy, find it today.”  The simple profundity of the statement resonated deeply in that moment.

How often are we rushing from obligation to obligation without really experiencing life?  How often are we finishing something only to have to rush on to the next thing?  How often do we put our worth on how much we accomplish?  How much life do we miss trying to fill it with doing?  How happy are we/what do we actually feel about living our lives like that?  BOOM.  We are trained to see value in what we produce, how much we do, how much we earn, and how busy we are.  We lost sight of the value of the quality of our lives by substituting quantity.  It was never quantity of experiences, or love, or fun—it was the size of our checklist.  Can we say that we lived fully if all we are doing is adding to a list that is literally never-ending? 

Living in joy and leaning toward joy brings us firmly in the moment.  I’m not advocating for being conflict averse or shunning every bad-feeling thing—life is life and it brings out some tough moments to get us to the sweeter side sometimes—but I am advocating for finding what feels good and doing more of that. When we lean toward joy it becomes a guide post for where we need to go and what we need to do.  It’s an indicator of where we need to course-correct.  Ultimately, it reveals our purpose.  What brings us joy is where we need to apply our energy and use it to overflow that joy into the world.  Maybe we can even help people discover what brings them joy as well.  If joy is unfamiliar at the moment, then maybe start with gratitude and let it evolve. The more we spread joy, the more we find joy, the more we light up the world.  That is what joy really does.

What Lies Beneath

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So we spoke about addressing all aspects of the puzzle and now I want to speak about how they are entwined a bit more.  The trifecta of anxiety/depression/ADHD is almost like a self-feeding food bowl for overweight cats.  When we have ADHD, things are started and often unfinished, even the things we REALLY want to do.  When we have ADHD we tend to start a LOT of things at once with the best intentions, believing we can finish it all.  Well, that pile up of unfinished things creates anxiety.  All of that anxiety makes it difficult to discern what needs to be tackled first (also an ADHD trait) so things continue to pile up.  When we let them pile up to the point there is no way out, cue depression, feeling like a failure, overwhelm, more anxiety, and more not knowing what to address first—cue more feeling like a failure, overwhelm…etc.  The point is I’ve learned that we often can’t label ourselves as one thing.  Yesterday I shared that I knew I had depressed moments but never thought I was depressed but it was finally addressing that component as well that unlocked the next level of healing for me—and clarity.

Mel Robbins shared a snippet of her experience with ADHD is like in order to bring light to some symptoms we often overlook.  “ADHD is anxiety about things getting done, to-do lists everywhere, leaving the faucet running/lights on, trouble coping with stress, frequent mood swings, low frustration tolerance, forgetting why I walked into a room.”  I fell in love with this explanation because I can’t tell you how many times I thought something was devastatingly wrong with me—like I had a brain tumor or Alzheimer’s or dementia and was bound to die confused and frustrated and unfulfilled.  Yeah, that’s anxiety rearing its head again as well.  The reality is, it was the trifecta along with an over-active imagination and a hyper-sensitive fear complex paralyzing me from addressing the real issue: My brain was ALL OVER THE PLACE.  I wasn’t dying, I had friggin’ ADHD and depression triggering a melt down of confusion. It is that easy to misinterpret certain behaviors and feelings.  Trust your gut but know when to reach out to someone else to reel you in and tell you what’s actually going on—like a physician. 

I truly want to encourage people to not give up hope.  I want us to keep digging until we find the answers we need.  I want us to be patient with ourselves to understand how complex we really are.  I want us to be patient enough to understand that complexity makes us beautiful, not broken.  There are so many amazing things a wild mind can do and there are so many things we can prove to ourselves by learning to work with that wild mind.  Some people thrive in letting it go and following whatever it brings them.  Some of us need a little help to bring it into focus so we can target what we actually want and move forward.  I also want to encourage people to get really honest with themselves.  I completely ignored the depression in my diagnosis because I thought other things were the cause.  While that was partially true, there was also a clinical component that needed to be addressed to push the other areas into focus as well.  There is NOTHING wrong with that.  In fact, it’s freeing.  Be open to the fact that there may be a different issue underlying the symptom and be willing to try.  You never know what disguises our issues wear.  Take that off and step into the light.

Disguised Truths

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I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the results I had going to the doctor and, since it is Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to talk about how we think in terms of generalizing things we feel.  Depression and anxiety are VERY real things but we are often too quick to label what we feel as one or both of those things.  There are many factors that contribute to a depressed feeling versus being depressed, and the same with anxiety.  I also want to add that it is perfectly normal to have highs and lows in our moods, but how we regulate to get back to baseline is key.  When we can’t return to who we are, that is when real issues start to creep in.

I’ve shared my struggle with anxiety throughout the years here going back to when I was a kid.  It is such a part of my life that I honestly don’t know what it would feel like to live without it.  But recently there was something else behind the anxiety.  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders at all times, I felt completely unfulfilled in what I was doing, I couldn’t see which way to go, and I completely lost touch with asking myself what to do next because it got too overwhelming to do anything.  Truthfully, I got really sad as well—like I could turn the happiest of situations into a suck-fest real quick.  I’ve felt sadness before, I’ve felt it for long periods of time, but I never considered myself depressed because the anxiety was so prevalent, I just thought I was overdoing it.  I knew I had moments of depression, but I never considered myself depressed—like when I would go to the doctor, I never talked about the depression, or when they suggested depression I was quick to turn it back to anxiety or my attention issues.  I share this because, in order to get better, we need to admit and see the whole picture.  I had to admit that the depression was more frequent and taking over in other ways.  It would keep me from doing what I needed to do which would create more anxiety which would also trigger my ADHD which would circle me right back to depression and feeling like a failure. Mental Health is a complex thing and multiple facets trigger different layers.  All of them need to be treated to get better.

The other aspect of this is honestly looking at what the symptoms are.  For example, there were moments I knew I was depressed, but it really wasn’t about me.  I knew every single crappy thing people had done to me and I carried it like a damn back pack as evidence that I wasn’t worthy and I didn’t know how to put it down.  I read something that suggested depression has less to do with actual depression at times and more to do with our environment.  For example, maybe we’re not depressed, maybe it’s the people we’re surrounding yourself with—like I mentioned above, I carried what people actually did to me with me at all times.  I never learned to let that go.  Maybe we’re bored because we’re not fulfilling our purpose or taking action toward it.  If we have the slightest proclivity to being depressed and have a crappy support system, or a negative space around us, then we are going to feel so much worse and it’s going to be that much more difficult to get out of it.  As I said in the beginning, depression is VERY real but there are also external factors.  I will say that addressing the actual depression made dealing with the external factors easier because it’s easier to distinguish what is coming from the outside and walk away versus what needs help.

Mental Health is a tricky puzzle to solve at times.  It takes persistence and dedication to get to the real root of the issue, and it can be discouraging at times to find what we think is the answer only to have it crumble.  But this life is a journey and it is no different in addressing the mental health issues that hold us back: we have to get up and try again even when we think we can’t.  The big picture always comes into focus even if it takes a bit longer than we anticipated.  On a personal note, I’m hoping addressing this last piece of the puzzle gives me the clarity that allows me to be the person I want to be.  Living with mental health issues is like living a half-life at times.  There are things we want to do and simply can’t bring ourselves to execute when we are fighting with our own brain.  Sometimes it just takes that last piece falling into place for it to make sense and then we see who we are and we have the capacity to fulfill it.  Do NOT give up.