Posts tagged mental health
Mental Health Awareness by Maddie
empowering women and girls.png

Marilyn Monroe once said, “She was a girl who knew to be happy even when she was sad. And that’s important.”

I combat certain mental illnesses that affect my mental health and my ability to live a stable and kind life.  One of my biggest obstacles during these times is the ability to find positivity during my darkest days.

I believe that to be stable and healthy entails being able to be your best self, even when it seems like life is throwing the world at you. To shine through strength, kindness, and love even though you might just want to curl into a ball. Or, the need to tear down that person that might be making you feel powerless and hopeless.

“She builds others up because she knows what it’s like to be torn down.” -unknown

As I struggle to find the strength to radiate positivity during the hardships of my life, I, through the power of mindfulness and extensive therapy, which is vital to overcoming my illness, have learned how to strife the darkness. I am learning how to exude affection, happiness, and thoughtfulness even when I can barely get out of bed in the morning.

The ability to do this shows a certain kind of gift that many of us either wish to have or battle with.  Through my therapy, I am learning how to take on the darkness by taking the day one breath at a time.  

The Healthy Place quoted, “Note to self: I don’t have to take this day all at once, but rather, one step, one breath, one moment at a time. I am only one person. Things will get done when they get done.”

I have had to remind myself that I am only human and I have to be mindful in order to become a successful, stable and healthy woman.  

Another helpful skill is learning how to communicate when you are at your darkest.

The Good Quote stated, “Loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”

I have noticed that when I have my hardest days, it is because I am not communicating to my loved ones. The days when I consciously or unconsciously isolate myself are my most despairing days. I might be a warrior but I am nothing without my tribe, my family and my health community.

Lastly, the aspect that helps me project positivity is renewed confidence.

“You can break down a woman temporarily, but a real woman will always pick up the pieces, rebuild herself, and come back stronger than ever.”-unknown

I continue to build and display confidence to the world.  In doing this I validate myself. If I exhibit confidence than I can concur almost anything.

I am a person with mental illness.  I do not let my diagnosis define who I am and how I live each day. My diagnosis will always be a part of me but I refuse to let it dictate any aspect of my life, especially when it inflicts hopelessness, darkness, and pain. I am not perfect nor do I pretend to be. Some days, the darkness wins but those days are far and few between.

I encourage all women and girls out there to fight the darkness. I believe that I am an empowered and poised woman who wants to learn how to fail and get back up again.  As I joust the darkness, I believe that I will come back stronger than ever before. My definition of empowered and poised is being able to treat others with love and kindness even when you may be breaking. We must be able to look darkness in the eye, smile and give it a wink.  

“What made her strong was despite the million things that hurt her she spoke of nothing but happiness.” -j.a.

How to Overcome Your Struggles by Christie

** as you read this blog, think about where you are in life.  This isn't just about my story, but each of ours!  So fill in the the blanks you see with something YOU can relate!

I hated myself for almost a third of my years on earth. I had been telling myself horrible things about how I wasn’t good enough, thin enough or **_____ enough and still, sometimes struggle to keep those thoughts away!  I had allowed these thoughts to dictate life in ways that were unhealthy to both body and mind. For me, it turned into an eating disorder.  

How it all came to pass or my story, doesn’t matter for this blog.  This isn’t about eating disorders.  It is about the LIES we tell ourselves!

Lie 1:  I don’t have a problem.

That was the hardest part.  I didn’t want to admit that daily, I was consumed with thoughts and pressures.  

All I could think of was how I looked, what I ate, what people thought and how I could be PERFECT.  

When I got up in the morning it had already started.  

This overwhelming pressure:

What I was going to wear?  What were my friends going to wear?  What should the popular girls wear?

What I was going to eat?  Would my crush be there at lunch and see me eating?  Of course my skinny friend was going to eat whatever she wants and I would have to watch her…and on and on and on…. It was EXHAUSTING.  I believed that I was imperfect for so long that everything I was feeling about how to become “perfect” was NORMAL and healthy.

Here is an example.  Look at Instagram.  We are shown pictures of models, fashion, fitness, food, extreme wealth, our friends having the time of their life, happy couples, and so much more.  Constant reminders of what it is we need to be, look at, have and eat without gaining a pound...more or less, what it takes to be happy and have a picturesque life. (Did I mention how exhausting it was to put this constant pressure on myself, to have these thoughts and become so consumed with looking at other people’s lives?)

Guess what guys; it is not healthy to think like this!

Truth:  I have a problem and it is OK to admit that!

So now what?

Lie 2:  I can fix this problem and do it alone!

I am not even going into the day in and day out plan to “get better” alone as it didn’t work and DOESN’T!

Truth:  GET HELP.  Recently in business, someone told me "no one who ever did any great, did it alone.”  AND WOW is that the truth! 

The first thing I suggest (And I did) is to tell someone close in confidence.  Not a girlfriend, but someone in a leadership position that can make suggestions with your best interest in mind.  

This reach out ended me in an eating disorder program. 

With time, work and a year of struggle, I became to get better!  I no longer viewed food the same way and made some huge strides in understanding how and why I let myself get to this point. 

My mind shifted and it gave me power BUT…

Lie 3:  I am broken.

It was my family who reminded me of this pretty consistently.  They were worried so they always said things that in their mind, helped.  It didn’t.  I felt that since I admitted to the problem and was in therapy, everyone felt this way anyways and I was humiliated.  So from here on out, obviously I am the broken messed up one in the family.  (Maybe for you insert Family with **______)  

Truth:  NOPE!! I am not broken.  I am **______.  There are thoughts that are broken.

I had to choose and decide I was not broken.  Instead, I realized there was an area of my mind that had been filled with lies I had begun to believe.  I was no longer fighting myself, but fighting the LIES instead!  

Lie 4:  I am FIXED!  Now, ONCE XXX HAPPENS THEN LIFE WILL BE PERFECT!

*This lie ended with a truth that was humbling.  I realized I was still sick and hadn’t given up all the crap I had put on myself*

Now that I was feeling more strong and empowered, I came to the conclusion that my life would begin after I “finished” this battle and lost the weight the program had pushed me to gain.  I thought if I could just do it in a healthier way every one would see me in the way I wanted.  I would finally be healed and happy.  

These thoughts became my new obsession.  They kept me in from events, friends, alone on holidays and on and on.  Truly, they kept me from enjoying life.  (AGAIN)

I was living with the same pressure as I had with my eating disorder.  

Truth:  Life begins this second!

One day, as I considered many things and how sad I was, I thought…What if I didn’t ever have a body that my mind felt was PERFECT?  What if every day, no matter what I did, I stayed the same?  Would I want to feel this way for the REST OF MY LIFE?   HELL NO!  That day forth, I decided I was worth fighting these thoughts.  

I wish I could say that since then I have woken up with a smile and a pure self awareness.  SO not true.  Since that moment I have had periods of time as long as months, and relationships I have allowed that were negative. Times and interactions that caused me to question my abilities and worth.  It starts a daily struggle.  Then it turns into a weekly…and with time less and less.  But it is still a struggle!

What I did and do different?

1-I created wonder.  I look up at the moon; laugh when I trip over my own two feet or do something silly.  I always wear my favorite clothes that make me feel special.  I make an effort to get to know others and work to make others smile.

2-I have a list of positive thoughts I push into my mind when negativity pops up its ugly head.  My own positive thoughts or things I have heard from others that I love. 

3-I have a support group to keep me in check.  When I have a day of questioning I TELL THEM!

4-I know when to say when.  (And I do not do so great at this one) I work to know when to end a friendship or relationship.  I know when I am feeling down to stay away from my destructive behaviors like shopping or over eating or spending too much time alone.  Some days it is as easy as knowing when to get off Instagram!

The results:

I started to treat myself differently.  I started not hiding my body or my mind.  I wore clothes that I liked that fit my body (even if it wasn’t my favorite outfit ever-it fit and made me look good!). I started to try new things and create adventures.  Negative behaviors were not in the forefront of my mind as I was too happy and busy enjoying my life!  Time passed and my body figured itself out.  I had hurt it and it needed to heal.  Just as I did.

MY ASK:

So I am asking for you to think about where you are. Are you listening to the lies?  Are you waiting for something to happen?  

Please hear me.  Loving yourself is what matters. Accept how you are today.  Accept yourself exactly in the form, feeling and state you are in.  Keep that feeling through practice of self-love. Surround yourself with people who empower you.  Work daily on those reminders and keep that same feeling.

Once you accept yourself, truly love yourself - you can only find happiness in happiness.