Maddie from the Stigma Free Society reached out to us in the summer, maybe even the spring of 2020. She was so gracious and supportive of what we'd been creating so far and offered us an amazing opportunity to share a bit about our story and our challenges with stigma. You can find that video below! The Stigma Free Society (SFS) is committed to combating stigma of all kinds. The Charity’s Vision and Mission foster programs that cultivate, encourage, and educate diverse communities to be inclusive and compassionate through awareness and understanding through education, support and leadership. The Society helps people achieve personal empowerment by providing peer support for youth and adults and raising awareness through education in schools and the community.
We were then presented with the opportunity to join Nisha Khare on one of her Thursday Wellness Chats.
Obviously I didn't hesitate. We booked this date months ago - November 5th at 11AM PST. And I knew, down the line it was coming. I am not a morning person - let me clarify this, typically I'm awake from the hours of 1PM-4AM so I'm a kind of all day person?? Anyways, 11AM is difficult for me but manageable if I'm doing well mentally and physically. The only problem is that my forever wavering mental illnesses do not make my moods consistent so the chance I was going to be doing A-OK on November 5th at 11AM was, well, unpredictable.
November is always a tricky time for me.
A whole bunch of factors add up to a very dreary and anxiety-inducing time in my year - it's like clockwork. The calendar turned to November 1st and I started to feel my physical health take a hit. Tired, tired, tired soooooooo tired. Sleeping for 15 hours at a time, not having any brain function to even reply to messages, spent. I listened to my body, for the first November in 23 years. I listened and I slowed down. All the appointments and meetings I had scheduled I reached out to postpone and express transparently what I was working through. I'm so grateful to be surrounded by an understanding and aware community - everyone expressed their well wishes and I'm so looking forward to connecting with them all when I'm at 100%. But there was one appointment I knew I couldn't miss. My Wellness Chat With Nisha - the one I booked months ago.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying No, don't get me wrong.
But for some reason this didn't feel like a yes or no situation. I know if I would've expressed my current goings on to the team they would've completely understood. I know I would've somehow made it up to myself and the community. But that wasn't the issue. I needed to continue to be transparent to everyone in my community - not only the ones I'm emailing on a daily basis. I needed to show that even though I'm trying so hard to be proactive with my mental health and doing all of the things my self care tool kit is telling me to, I'm still taking a hit. I'm still having to slow down and work through these feelings that take huge tolls on me physically and mentally. I had a prior commitment earlier in the morning I tried so hard to make it for, set so many alarms for. My mind weighted down with a huge NONONONONO and I didn't have the energy to fight it.
10AM, 10:30AM, 10:40AM I can do this interview and go back to sleep
I reminded myself how much I enjoy talking with people, especially in the mental health community. I reminded myself I was safe and in the comfort of my own home. I reminded myself how valuable my story could be to even one person. I reminded myself that the sunshine and movement will help. I reminded myself, above all, that I had a choice and this wasn't a task on my to-do list.
I swung my legs over the bed (like my mom had said to me over and over when I would struggle to get out of bed for school - just swing one leg over), put my STRONG hoodie on, brushed my hair and did my best to conceal the bags under my eyes (it's all I could stare at during the interview, anyone else struggle with self image this way? you probably wouldn't have even noticed if I didn't say anything). I plugged in my computer, drank a bunch of water and opened the window by my desk. Nisha was kind and warm and so very genuine in the way she spoke and listened. As suspected, the 30 minutes flew by ...
And I found myself not needing to go back to bed. Not wanting to crawl back into the darkness. But very slowly, VERY SLOWLY, getting back out into the light.
If you or anyone you know may be suicidal, in crisis, or in need of support please do not hesitate to reach out to The Kids Help Phone by texting 686868. They're available 24/6, 365 days, ANY AGE.