Tuesday, December 23, 2014

victory days

Today was a big victory day.  A victory day is something I came up with when I was struggling to find hope for my future.  When it started out, a victory was something as simple as remembering to take my medicine, or actually showing up to therapy.  Those victories were called "small victories".  Each accomplishment small, but moving me towards bigger successes.  The small victories gradually got bigger and bigger.  Adding to the list of everyday victories was getting back into a routine with school.  There were days when depression took over, and even eating breakfast was a huge deal.  See, this is how it is.  When you struggle with something like depression, you learn to set aside the big things and just do everything you can to fight to make it to the next day, and on the bad days even to the next hour.  It's all about the fight, and the strength.  It is hard.  I know it is.  It really sucks some days, and you just want to give up and scream that you are a failure and can't even remember to feed the cat.  Let me tell you one thing.. and listen closely.  YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.  You made it today.  You win a battle the second you put your feet on the ground in the morning, and fight for the little things.  It's okay that your goal at the moment maybe isn't to get into Harvard.  Maybe it is just to find happiness in that day.  That is okay.  I got my drivers permit today.  This was my big victory.  I never thought that would be possible for years, given what I have been through up until even a few days ago.  I am living proof that you can defy the odds even if its a million to one chance.  Walking out of the DMV today, to someone they might be happy for me, but for me personally it went so much deeper than that.  It meant that with that same strength and fight I use even to get though the day, I could do anything.  So don't loose sight of that when you are feeling hopeless.  Yes, it might seem impossible at the moment.  Heck, a month ago I was sitting in the emergency room in yet another one of those 'bad days'.  That was a month ago.  30 days.  But, here I am now.  I am still moving forward in the ways that I can.  It isn't downhill from here, I will still struggle.  It simply goes to show that even though life can kick the living daylights out of you, you don't have to let the depression win.  You have the choice to fight.  I'm going into the next year ready to face whatever comes, knowing how far I have come.  Don't give up just yet, God isn't done with you.  The unknown day will come when I will pass away, but I am not going to be the one to make that decision.  I have been to the edge, ready to take that jump, and it is one of the darkest places a person could ever be.  Something in me knew I had to stay, if not for myself, but for others.  My life isn't about me.  It is about serving others, and going through experiences that shape who I am.  Most of all, it is about the big guy upstairs.  With Christ we can do all things, even the most seemingly hopeless.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

two-thousand fourteen

Well this past year has been an interesting one.  Never thought I would be writing some of the things written in this blog.  But here I am, this is my reality.  Some of the 'highlights' are:

3 inpatient hospital stays
3 months in residential care
1 year of therapy, doctors, hospital visits
20+ visits to the ER
2 hospitalizations for Pneumonia
2 bouts on Mono
6 months of missed school

The list goes on.  Haha I'm laughing because this isn't your usual "Year In Review", because it isn't.  The experiences I have had in a 12 month period, are not common occurrences.  They do happen though.  It happens so much more often than you think, some people just hide behind closed doors.  They hide it because it isn't a glamorous lifestyle.  Some have shoe collections and have been to 4 different countries.  People like me, have collections of bracelets and plastic hospital cups, and have been to 4 different hospitals.  It isn't something that the world understands.  The world perceives people with mental health issues to be unstable and something to stay away from.  It is quite the opposite.  Yes we have our unstable moments, but not everyone with a mental health diagnoses is certifiably insane.  We are simply fighting an illness, that is very much mental instead of physical.  We wake up fighting everyday to make it to the next day, or even hour.  We fight voices in our heads telling us we are not good enough, too fat, too ugly, not worthy to live.  To an extent, every person that is born struggles with some form of questioning their self-worth.  When I said the thing about people who have shoe collections and travel the world, that doesn't mean that our life might not look like that too.  Some of us live a 'Secret Life' in the mental health world, and I often find myself to be one of those people.  I would say 75% of the time, I am an open book about my struggles.  I'm only open about it when the situation is one where my story could be encouraging.  Though struggling is not something to be ashamed of, I will hide this side of me in some instances.  Pretend it isn't happening, and post a picture of hanging out with friends, or wearing fancy clothes, or modeling for family pictures.  The truth is, those pictures capture a fraction of a second of our lives.  They don't capture the truth.  They are made to be happy and shiny and to "Put up a good front" to seek favor from others.  I am not ashamed to proclaim Jesus as my Lord, and acknowledge the fact that without his love and mercy, I would never have the courage to share what I do.  I say this to encourage you, whoever you are.  I'm not saying you have to go out and announce on a billboard how much life can completely suck sometimes, ha!  I am saying that if you are struggling in some way, tell people about it.  That's how we work.  As humans, we thrive on interaction and love, among support and empathy.  Do be warned, not everyone will accept your reality.  Heck, even in writing this blog over the past year, some people who were very close to me have created distance, simply because they don't understand or cannot relate.  That's OK.  Share whats going on in your life with those that care to listen, be transparent.  I took a risk in opening my story to share, but I don't regret it one bit.  I get so much encouragement to keep sharing, because it relates to people.  I love that it helps, even just a little bit.  I never want to stop writing, and yes someday the stories will change, and this phase of my life will be yet another chapter in the past.  My writing is not perfect.  Thats the thing, neither is my life.  Think of it as a journal.  No, I don't tell you what I eat for breakfast or what I am wearing today, but every once in a while I share the important things, because thats the story that needs to be heard.  Oh and by the way, Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

it's christmastime!

I apologize for the lack of update in these past months.  Things have been hard.  I have been writing everyday, but more to help myself to process the events.  The things I have written are bare and raw.  Things that I am just not ready to share because the pain is still so fresh.  I am still here, but I'm not sure that I can share that much of what has been going on.  I am tired, and weak from this battle.  Having people come alongside me especially right now means more than I can describe.  I will not be  updating very often for a little while so I can have some time to sift through what I can and cannot share.  Thank you all for the encouragement in sharing what little I am able to.  Things are in full swing preparing for Christmas, when I get to see so many of you in Arizona.  All 5 of us will be in town around Christmas and New Years.  I want to see a ton of people, but as you can imagine, with my anxiety that is hard for me.  My intention is to at least say hi and give people a hug even if I am not able to do something for an extended period of time depending on how things are going.  Please message/text me if you are in town, there are SO many people haha so I will not be able to keep track unless you let me know.  Anyways, I hope everyone is having an amazing holiday season!  I will try to update as I can.