I'm not entirely sure where this begins. If it's at the VERY beginning of my journey towards a healthier well-being, or if it starts more presently with the work I'm currently doing and hoping it helps influence some to reflect on their own mental health.
I think it starts here, now. Because why drown out my latest successes with patches of things that truly, don't matter anymore. That's the kicker- all of these things, events, life-altering moments have little to no impact on my current daily life. The key is, however, they impact me on such a minute scale because I finally dealt with them. I found closure, mindfulness, and lessons from the struggles and challenges I faced. Sounds beautiful, doesn't it? Like I have it all together?
If you think that, you'd be wrong.
Because the reason I write today is to explain how little I do have it all together. How even though I worked through things that hapenED, things still happen. Every day, currently. You don't just deal with trauma and challenges and move on with nothing left to face. Every day for some people can feel like an uphill battle. And sometimes the bad feels like it outweighs the good. But as you work through things, reflect, become aware... You become extremely good at recognizing your pain, where it comes from. how to fix it or cope with it, and even at times prevent it. So although the challenges may keep getting thrown at you, you're getting stronger and stronger in the meantime so these challenges are just simple steps.
Let's rewind for the shortened version...
Growing up, getting out of bed was always a struggle. Putting a smile on, always a struggle. Going to new *crowded* public places, a struggle. Sleep of any kind, was never easy. You get the gist. People around me would sarcastically call me mrs smiles or mrs happy. I struggled with anger, needing things to be my way, lashing out when they weren't. The true underlying symptoms of what I now know as my anxiety, mild depression, and OCD. I missed hundreds of days of school - a year. I dropped out of high school briefly to try and do it on my own through correspondence. My parents divorced when I was very young, but I didn't think it affected me (lol yah right). Things piled up. And they piled up. And they piled up. And I trudged on, the best I could with what I had- mental technique-wise. I never wanted for anything except maybe normalcy, or an understanding of what I was going through. I made it as far as 20 before I straight up hit a wall. Felt completely purposeless and for no obvious reason. I had a great job, fantastic family and friends, a beautiful new home and life in Kelowna BC. And yet - lost. My mental health ebbs and flows as I'm sure many people's does. For short periods of time, it's as if I have it all together and nothing ever happened. And then longer periods of what am I doing, where am I going, I have no control, why am I tired, why am I spiraling. With no real answers. So at 20, I made myself aware. Made myself look around to discover - if everything around me is so great, why am I so miserable? There has to be a missing piece to the puzzle here, someone has got to have an answer.
And someone did.
Well. Kind of. I found myself at a walk-in medical clinic because I had no idea where else to go. Luckily, I received the most amazing doctor who DID know where I could go. The walk-in counseling services at the Interior Health Building on Doyle Ave in Kelowna BC. There are no appointments, and no one to hold you accountable for going except for YOU. Well, I had gotten my way to one doctor surely I could make it to the next round.
I went to the walk-in, talked to a counselor who LISTENED and from there she referred me to an outside counseling office. She invited me to the group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions which ANYONE can go to, by the way, every Thursday at 1:30pm!!! She sent me home with print outs of different mindfulness exercises and online resources to feed my soul in the meantime. The wait for the new counseling office was about a month, to be honest, I was feeling so much better even after this whole intake I had completely forgotten about the other service I was referred to. I started to enjoy therapy, learning more about myself, even the tough conversations, and being educated on ways to heal. After a few months, my counselor and I parted ways mutually agreeing I had come a long way and was well equipped with the tools I needed to carry on in a more mentally healthier lifestyle. And I felt I did fabulously, more things started to fall into place, I started enjoying things again, waking up felt easier, falling asleep became easier. Not perfect- there were still bad days sprinkled in. But easier. Better. I used my coping skills, they became brilliant habits to live with my mood changes or anxieties or impulses. I felt like I really grew. And really, I did. But remember what I said about how things still happen? Things still pile up?
Well they did.
Some of the biggest traumas and character checks I've had in a long time happened one after another. Stress beyond just trying to wake up in the morning. Things that started to reset me, to drag me back down, exhaust me and fill me with anxiety.
Well I know I said it begins here, in the now... But I think I'm going to leave that for the next blog. Feel free to sit with this, get caught up, ask questions if you want! And I'll be back to share on the most recent turn of events so to speak. How I wound up back where I started.
Spoiler Alert: I live to tell the tale. And again, it does get easier.