Recently I’ve noticed a serious decline in my mental health. I find myself seeing pictures of my friends on social media together, without me, and I get angry & envious. I find myself in a deep depression only wanting to sleep. For example, while everyone was out having a great time over the holiday weekend – I slept 12+ hours a day.
My ability to focus has diminished. If I didn’t have such a good system of organizing files at my desk that works for my brain — I think I’d be suffering there, too. If I’m not already… And if I didn’t have such a kickass support team of friends who are family now, I’d be struggling to survive, if I’m being totally honest.
I haven’t been to the gym in who knows how long. I don’t remember the last time I ate a vegetable. I don’t remember the last time I had a meal without a glass of wine or a beer.
But I do remember the meals I’ve made (pan-crusted salmon, Italian spaghetti, fried chicken with the fixin’s) and chose to drink rather than eating. Thinking to myself, “just one more, I’ll eat after. I don’t want to ruin my buzz.”
I’ve known for a long time that I have a unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Hello – The government has my DNA because I’m a felon. For DUIs. (Sidebar – think they’d just run the 23 and me for me? Wouldn’t be too inconvenient, you’d think…)
At some point I have to ask myself: Girl, what’re you running from? What’re you trying to drink yourself into a grave so intensely to forget?
Harboring resentment to your mother?
The manipulation & gas-lighting you underwent for 5 years?
All of the above?
Answer: All of the above. And here’s the BEST part of my coping mechanism – the reality check that you can’t forget: You will never forget your trauma.
But you can overcome. You can turn those scars into stars and let that light shine through the cracks of your brokenness.
It takes work. A lot of self-examination. A lot of tears and mindful exercises and becoming aware of your triggers and what kind of reaction those triggers cause – a physical or mental reaction (or both).
After the Route 91 festival (which by the way – I hate that they call it 1 October – like it needed a fucking tagline – you all know what I’m fucking talking about.) But after that it was like my mind broke. And I think far too many other individuals minds broke. I couldn’t figure out how to handle anything stressful. I didn’t take enough time off work to recoup my mental health. Any time something remotely stressful (like not being able to find my keys in the morning) would cause a full-on, crying-snot running from my face-dry-heaving, anxiety attack.
And I had no idea what the effects of years of shoving all that shit down I went through, some of it in my most formative years that was shaping who I’d become as an adult – would do when I really thought I might die that night. Thankfully, no harm came to me. Unlike many others and a dear friend of mine.
Eventually, everything I was afraid of, everything I’ve been running from – came to the full fucking front of my every day life. Some of the shit I thought I’d blocked out – I’d have flashbacks about. And I felt like I was going insane.
But through therapy and medication I was finally feeling sane. I was finally rebuilding my resilience and ability to handle shit again.
And then I bought a car. That blew up on the highway while I was driving. I’m talking something fell off on fire, other cars swerving, I couldn’t see because my car was engulfed in smoke. And then a week later it blew up again – in the same fucking fashion. Hear the pop, something flies off, cars swerve, smoke everywhere. And both times I was so scared the car was going up in flames and I was going with it. Just like every knock on that bunker door at the festival made me prepare to die, or experience great pain, my mind reverted back to that same state.
It broke. Again. Not just my car, but my brain. “Please, sire – might you grant me a FUCKING break??”
And boy, has it been a fucking bitch to not only admit that, but to have to start from square one. With more self-awareness this time around which – let me tell you – it’s suuuuper fucking fun.
I needed a way to explain what I’m going through – and writing used to be my outlet of becoming more self-aware and way to share my journey to self-acceptance and channeling the pain to light & inspiration. I’m not trying to freak out or be irrational or say mean things intently or jump every time someone comes into my office. I don’t know to explain it other than to say “I’m having a moment and I need a minute.” I’m trying to hang on to that one shred of sanity and light I can. Hell, I spent a year in work-release and THAT repairing the damage to my mental health and the tolls it took on my physical self is NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, compared to what this shit feels like.
And for anyone else who miraculously reads this and is going through anything similar – I encourage you to seek help. I encourage you to speak up. Share your truth. Let yourself be seen. Those that love you, all parts of you – including the dark ones – will see you. They will hold space for you.
Just know that it is hard. And it is not something that ever stops. The maintenance of a healthy mind can have a devastating toll if you quit. The work never stops. Which is a pill I’m still trying to quit spitting out and just swallowing. (Ha, that’s what she said!! Sexual innuendo unintended but hilarious.)
I found my therapist through Instagram. There are many avenues you can take to get help. I owe her my life, in a lot of ways.