The past few months have been the start of a wild rollercoaster ride for me. There have been all the cliche ups and downs, adrenaline pumping throughout the veins, and general excitement that goes along with the ride.
More specifically, this past month has been one to go down in the record books. I feel like a broken record because I have been saying this all year. Perhaps I haven’t said this publicly on the blog, but I have said it numerous times on Twitter and even a couple times on Facebook and Instagram. There has been so much happening this year, both good and bad, and it is exciting and scary and thrilling.
A little over a month ago, I posted about how I felt extremely depressed. Within hours of posting, many people messaged me, asking me if I was getting help or offering to help if I wanted it. There were many mixed emotions that went along with that. I was caught off guard, not realizing that some of these people would actually read what I wrote. I was a little mad because I didn’t like that these people were trying to care for me and make sure I was ok, when all I wanted was to be alone and hide from everyone. I know that is an extremely irrational emotion to feel, but I have never wanted to be seen as weak or struggling. I had hit “publish” in a rare moment of courage, and immediately started questioning and berating myself for doing something so foolish. Why I never took it down before people could see it? I’m not entirely sure.
I knew I needed help and the thought of telling someone in person scared me. I had tried to while having breakfast dates with my mom and lunch dates with my friends, but every time I got close to telling them, I would shut myself down. It was easy enough to stay distracted and avoid the topic, and by the time I broke down and posted about the depression, I had written 8 different drafts and had deleted them all. I knew I was getting to an even worse spot though and I didn’t want to, so I had to do something.
I also felt loved and cared for when people reached out to try and help me. Even though I wanted to be alone, they knew I shouldn’t be and even if I wanted to push them away for the moment, they knew I would come to my senses and be willing to talk eventually.
Now, I don’t know if I’m ready to share everything. There is a lot of me that I am just learning about and coming to terms with and it is going to take some time for me to fully process these things and be willing to share them publicly. I am figuring out who I am, what I want to do, where I want to be, and how I want to live. No one would expect an individual to figure that out in only one month. Everyone knows that this is a long journey and we can only take it one day at a time.
However, I will say this. In the past month, baby steps have been taken to getting mentally healthy. I started therapy and am slowly starting to have less bad days. Of course, there are times where I regress and become dysfunctional, but I am starting to learn how to cope with this and change the bad days into tolerable days. I have a strong support system that I am slowly starting to let in and actually know me. Of course, these people have been there for years, but I have never been very willing to open up to them, and I am teaching myself that it is ok to show a weaker side of myself.
Most importantly, I am learning to be real with myself. For a long time I have truly hated myself. I would look in the mirror and be disgusted with everything I saw. Sometimes, if I put enough makeup on and tried to do my hair a little better, I would feel ok about myself. Those moments were few and far between though.
I hated my thoughts and the fact that I was so stupid. I overthought everything, I was socially awkward, I couldn’t live up to anyone’s expectations, and the worst part is that I could never escape myself. I would look back at my 19 short years of life and wonder how I could have been so stupid to believe the things I did. I wanted a break from all the thoughts of worthlessness and the thoughts that I was stuck in this funk forever. I hated that I wasn’t perfect.
On one of my worst days, I was sitting in class and barely paying attention to the lecture that was going on. I was very stuck in my head and all of a sudden the thought “hating someone is the same as killing them” popped into my head. I was taught this at a young age by either my parents or someone in my church. It is based off the 10 commandments and “Thou shalt not murder”. None of the adults were particularly worried that we would be planning to murder anyone as 7 and 8 year olds, but they did know that we would encounter people in our lives that we would not particularly like. Hence, where this saying came from. As I thought about that phrase and how I felt about myself, I decided I wouldn’t change the verbiage. I hated myself so much, I was willing to kill myself to be able to avoid me.
Now, WAIT! Before you go running to your phones and trying to call the suicide hotline or get a hold of my parents to warn them something is wrong, let me tell you something. 1) My parents already read these blogs, so no need to feel obligated to tell them. I’m sure if it wasn’t for this next reason they would be calling the hospital for me. However, 2) I don’t believe those things about myself anymore. I don’t passionately hate myself like I did a month ago. And, for the record, I have not ever made plans to commit. I have had fleeting thoughts, but I’m too scared to cuss in front of my parents, so I know I could never follow through with committing.
Nevertheless, I didn’t just write that story to be sad. I wrote it because I am starting to love myself. It isn’t easy and there are a lot of days where I am less than pleased with myself. I am taking very wobbly baby steps. I am uncertain most days, I fall down often, but I know that the only way to improve is to get back up and keep trying. There is a celebration coming, when I finally take my first steps all alone and walk to my mother on the other side of the room. My parents will be so excited they will pick me up and give me a big hug and I will clap for myself and giggle because I am so happy.
Writing that makes it seem like this process is easy and a one time deal. However, it most definitely does not just happen once and then you are perfect again with the flick of a wand. This is a decision that you have to make daily to try and actively love yourself, not put yourself down for simple mistakes, and not wallow in self-pity constantly.
For example, as I write this, I am having a moment that proves how far I have traveled, even though my journey is just beginning. This morning, I woke up and I knew my day was going to be stressful. In the middle of my day, I got to the point where all I wanted to do was shut down; however, I knew that was not an option. I was wishing I was sick and that I had someone who would be able to wait on me hand and foot and just make sure that I was still eating and surviving basically. As much as I wanted that though, I knew it was impractical and I would just get upset if I let someone do all of that for me. I decided then that I had to just suck it up. My to do list was not getting any shorter just because I didn’t want to do it. I turned on “work mode” and got to business.
At the beginning of the day, I didn’t think that I would be able to do that, but I did and I’m proud of myself for it. There aren’t many times where I look back on a day and think, “wow. Aly, you should be proud of yourself for what you accomplished today.” And yes, I may have had to be up for 20 hours to get it all done, and I may not be sleeping for many hours tonight, but all of this work is worth it when you get to the other side.
This was a baby step in the right direction for me and my mental health and it was definitely a little shaky and I fell down once or twice, but I stood back up and I took the steps necessary to reach the end goal. I didn’t allow myself to give up completely and I didn’t put myself down for procrastinating some of the work that I shouldn’t have. I just looked at the situation at hand and fixed it as best I could. To be totally unoriginal, it was one small step for Aly, one giant leap for Aly-kind.
What about you guys? Is there something in your life that you have to take baby steps to change? Or do you have a story that you want to share about accomplishing the “impossible”? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 🙂
Until next time,