Hand in Hand: My Journey with Mental Health

Trigger Warning: Hey guys I’m going to throw a trigger warning in right here. The following is my experience with mental health and will include things like anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and rape. Please do not read if any of those make you uncomfortable or bring you to a low point in your life. I am aiming to talk about my mental health not to trigger someone else’s. 

I sit on the bed as thoughts race through my mind. It’s always the worst scenarios but something in me makes me think that it’s the only scenario. My stomach hurts, sending sharp pains all throughout my body, I feel nauseous. Then comes the throbbing in my head, like nails being hammered straight into my skull, each negative thought making the nails go deeper. The world starts to spin around me and I feel dizzy until finally I get up only to make my way to the bathroom to get rid of the nausea.

This is what it feels like when my anxiety begins and it only gets worse from there, sometimes these can last seconds, sometimes hours, and sometimes the effects linger for days. It all really depends on the day and the situation. This is not how everyone experiences anxiety, it isn’t even how I experience anxiety all the time. It is however how I experience anxiety most often.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, let’s go back to the beginning, to when it all started. I was seven years old when everything took a turn in my life. My father, the man who was supposed to protect me from all the evil things out there became that very evil thing. He rapped me, something I have always found hard to talk about. It didn’t just happen once and yet I remained quiet, scared of what might happen if I told someone what was happening. Even my mom had no idea what was going on when she wasn’t in the house. I held onto the burden for years, all the while beating myself up, making myself believe that I deserved it, that I did something to bring it on.

It wasn’t just sexual abuse with my father, it was also emotional abuse, there were so many times he would tell me that I wasn’t good enough. It got to where I believed the words he was saying. I truly believed that I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t ever going to be good enough. no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t live up to the expectations I set for myself. Because you see when you start believing you aren’t good enough you look for reasons why, you begin to create them. I set goals I knew were too much, goals I knew I would always fall short on. It was an endless cycle that just brought me deeper and deeper down into a depression I didn’t know I was falling into, all I knew was I wasn’t good enough.

So I started to put all my focus into school, nothing else was as important as making sure I achieved those high grades, those goals that I set for myself. School was that one thing I was good at, that one thing I seemed to have control over in my life and no one but myself could take that away from me. My standards were high, a lot higher than everyone else around me had for me. I can remember the first time I got anything lower than an 80%, I came home devastated and informed my mom that I had failed. She asked me what my grade had been and I sadly told her a 75% as if it were the end of the world. Of course she told me it wasn’t a fail and it was in fact a very good mark but I didn’t believe her. My whole life had been focused on honor roll and this wasn’t an honor roll mark.

Looking back on moments like I realize how much having the high standards I had were setting me up for failure. There were many moments just like this one and each and every time the result was similar. Sometimes it was a sense of failure, other times anxiety was added. It was a hard thing to deal with and yet I put myself through it each and every day. It came to the point where before doing something new, spending time with someone new or even going somewhere I had been a million times but knew there was going to be a lot of people I would have an anxiety attack about it. Life had become not as fun as everyone was telling me it was.

In fact high school was the worst four years of my life. Not only was I bringing myself down but others around me were finding everything they could to bully me for. Life truly seemed to suck and that would bring on more anxiety. I was a mess of anxiety mixed with depression I was trying to silence. Many days I was low but I would put on a happy face, after all in a small town such as the one I grew up in anxiety and depression didn’t really exist. Everyone seemed to know everyone’s business and this was not something I wanted other people to know. It was during these years I found some ounce of courage and was able to tell my mom about the abuse I was facing. She immediately took my siblings and I before leaving. She called the cops and my dad was arrested, he was later sentenced to two years less a day jail time.

There were many times over the course of my life where I thought about suicide, thought about just taking that way out, getting away from it all. Thankfully I had my mom and she always let me know how much she loves me, I believe this is part of what has kept me alive. Two years less a day my dad was released from jail, his suffering was over and yet mine was still present. I was still living with the anxiety and depression, the aftermath of it all. Why was he able to walk free while I was a prisoner to my mental health? This is something I don’t think I will ever understand.

Life was hard, everything seemed bigger and worse than it should be but I was holding on, if only by a thin thread. It wasn’t until my mom also fell into depression that something in me changed. While she was low I was there telling her that it was going to be okay, that she was going to make it through everything. I was helping her wherever I could. That was when I took a look at my own life: If I could say those things to my mom why the hell couldn’t I say them to myself? It was that realization that had me thinking. It was from that moment on I took a second look at everything, at myself and started telling myself the opposite of what I had been telling myself all these years.

So what does all this mean? Why am I writing all this today?

Well because I know there are so many other people out there who feel the same way, who think the same way I do. I want all of you to know that it can get better, you can love yourself. I am currently on my journey of self-love, I make sure I participate in self-care because it is something I deserve. It is something we all deserve. Self-love can be the hardest thing in the world to do, and yet I believe it is the most important thing. Yes there are lots of days where I hate myself but there are some days where I love myself, and that is more than I can say for my life growing up.

I still go through life with the anxiety and there are a lot of times where I hit my wall of depression but there are good times and smiles to even those out. Yes when I’m low I’m low but low isn’t my daily state anymore. The road I’m travelling is a long one, there are so many twists and turns but I believe I can make it to my destination and you can to. Everyone is unique, but that doesn’t mean something bad. Just like each flower is unique we all have something that makes us beautiful. Something that makes others want to pick us to have in their lives. We are all special in our own way and damn it we are so worth all the good things that are coming.

Keep you’re head up and believe in yourself because you are stronger than you know. And when you don’t believe in yourself just remember that I believe in you, we can do this. It’s not going to be easy but it is going to be so worth it in the end. I’m always around if you need someone to talk to, someone to brighten your spirits. If you don’t have that support in your life I’ll be that support because each and every one of you deserves it. You are worth it, I am worth it, We are worth it.

In the words of Christopher Robin: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Keep on being you!

Lyndsay

Advertisements

Mental Health Conference; Day 2

Hey everyone,

So day two of the conference was just as powerful as day one and I’m sorry this has taken so long. Work got really busy and I hit some hard anxiety that took some time to work through. Day two began with a talk from keynote speaker Kat Singer. It was very powerful and they shared some of their art which was very moving.

The workshops for the day were to follow the keynote speaker. The first workshop was presented by Subata Khalid and Susan Chen and was titled Reframing Body Image. They spoke about body image and changing it from negative to positive. It really meant something to me and I am so happy I got to experience it. The two of them were very knowledgeable and inspiring.

Another workshop was presented by Tyler Sarry and was titled Outside In. Tyler spoke about not only being physically fit but also being emotionally fit. He shared strategies about mastering ones mind and body. His workshop was a lot of fun and everyone seemed excited to be there. The atmosphere in the room was very uplifting and this was a very enjoyable workshop. I had the pleasure of speaking with Tyler outside of his workshop and he is a very positive and uplifting person.

The third workshop was titled Healing Through Yoga and presented by Marlee Liss. She focused on using yoga as a tool for healing. She was also one of the vendors at the conference with her book titled Re-Humanize. It is a very powerful, thought provoking book that I will be doing a post on at a later time. Marlee is an inspiration and someone I am so happy I got the chance of meeting.

The final workshop was presented by Shaila Khan and focused on using movement for self care practices. This was an interesting workshop and I had a chance to participate in some of the activities. I really enjoyed it and it’s something that I would recommend to others. She introduced different movements to deal with stress.

The final keynote speaker was Jennifer Poole who is a professional within the mental health field. She brought a different perspective to mental health and it was a very interesting talk.

Also on day two was the living library which I had the pleasure of being one of the books. There were “books” standing around the room and people were able to go and “read” them. I spoke about abuse and it’s effects on body image and I believe that it went really well. The living library was a new concept to me but it was also a very powerful one. It is something I would do again if given the chance.

Day two was a success as was the entire weekend. I am so proud to have been part of it and it is something I look forward to being part of in the future. I hope that everyone who attended walked away with something they were looking for or something they didn’t know they needed.

Talk Soon,

Lyndzey

Bell Let’s Talk Day

Hey Everyone,

So I want to talk about something that a lot of people don’t talk about: Mental Health. I personally have some mental health diagnosis including anxiety but there are some others. I also know a lot of people who also live with mental health. First it is not even close to something that is easy to live with and it is considered taboo to talk about which makes it that much harder to live with. People are afraid to express the things that are going on in fear of the repercussions that come with it. I was fortunate to grow up with a mother who is very supportive and has made herself approachable with topics such as mental health and I am forever grateful for that, however not everyone has that in their lives.

In fact many people live in an environment where mental health is seen as having something wrong with you, something you don’t talk about. This is one of the many reasons Bell Let’s Talk Day is a good thing. It promotes talking about mental health and taking away the stigma that is attached to it. I really hope that we can achieve this and make it so that many other people are willing to talk and find the support that they need. My wish is that we some day live in a world where talking about mental health is no longer taboo, where seeking support is easy. A place where everyone can be accepted whether they live with mental health or not.

However of course with the good also comes the bad as with every situation so here it comes. Having one day where people are showing their support isn’t enough. Having one day where people say “I stand with you regardless of mental health” is not enough. This needs to happen each and every day. Furthermore there are those people who will support Bell Let’s Talk Day and then turn around and make mental health taboo. People who will be the first to tell you there is something wrong with you because you suffer from mental health but will also be the first to #bellletstalk . This is the kind of thing that needs to change. If you stand with people living with mental health you have to do it year round, not just one day.

Living with mental health is not an easy thing to do. Nor will it ever be 100% easy but with the correct support and no stigma attached it can be easier. Let’s all do our part in making the world a place where everyone is accepted no matter what. Sometimes it’s as easy as listening to someone needing to talk, sometimes it must go deeper. Regardless on how it happens the important thing is that it happens. “Alone we are all unique but together we create a masterpiece.” -source not known

Talk Soon,

Lyndzey

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 28-30

Day 28: Post five things that make you laugh out loud

  1. A well thought out pun
  2. When the kids at work say something that is pure gold
  3. The pterodactyl joke
  4. Some inside jokes that I have with friends
  5. When Logan is very uncoordinated which is often

Day 29: What are your goals for the next 30 days?

I want to keep blogging and keep up with my YouTube channel. I also want to try something new at least twice in the next month and join a gym.

Day 30: Your highs and lows this month.

Honestly there are way too many to put into a blog post since I’ve had so many ups and downs over the month. It seemed to be a roller coaster this month.

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 23 – 27

Day 23: A letter to someone, anyone

Grandma,

I miss you more than I can put into words. Each and every day I think about you and I hate that you aren’t here anymore. I thought it would get easier with time but it hasn’t and it sucks. I hate not having you to be able to just call on my way home from work like I used to. I hate not being able to drive to see you for dinner before driving the hour home so that I wouldn’t miss work in the morning. I hate not being able to tell you everything.

It isn’t fair that you were taken from us. There are so many bad people in the world and yet you were the one taken. I think about you all the time and miss you even more often. I love you so much and I am going to keep living my life trying to make sure you would be proud of me. You mean so much to me and I will never stop loving you.

Till we meet again,

Lyndsay

Day 24: Write about a lesson you learned the hard way

I have learned a lot of lessons the hard way but the one that comes to mind is not to trust everyone. Sure there are some people in the world that can be trusted but there are also a lot of people who shouldn’t be trusted. I used to trust a lot more easily than I do now even when I had a bad feeling about something but now I know to follow my gut when it’s telling me not to trust.

Day 25: Think of any word and search it on Google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image

Word: Believe

Dreams are a strange but wonderful thing, they come in two rather abstract concepts. Let’s begin with the one most people think about when someone says dream, the ones that happen when you are sleeping. Such a concept to think that our minds can create these images while we are asleep. When all other functions are put on pause we still see those images and they create something we might not understand. Though dreams are our subconscious trying to convey something we want or something we are afraid of happening.

So why is it that the second type of dream is where we set a goal we wish to achieve? Well it is because we are aiming for something that we want and while there may be fears holding us back that goal is still present. I believe that in a way the two concepts intertwine with each other and although we may not know it they each shape the other. Follow your dreams, both kinds and reach for the stars.

Day 26: Write and area in your life that you’d like to improve

This was by far the easiest one for me to do… I want to improve the way I see myself. I want to be able to love myself. I have been through a lot and come out stronger but I still have many many moments where I hate myself and I hate the way I look. I’m working each and every day on loving myself and accepting myself for everything I’ve been through and all the scars that I carry but it is still a difficult road.

Day 27: Write about something that’s kicking ass right now

Last night I went to my first paint night and I think it kicked ass. I loved it and I’ve signed up for the next one. I also have my bullet journal going and it’s allowing me that creative outlet. I believe the creative parts of my life are kicking ass!

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 21 and 22

Day 21: What are three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

When I have children there are many lessons I want them to learn from me but the three most important ones I want them to learn are;

  1. Don’t let anyone get you down. You don’t need to impress anyone but yourself so always do what you strive to do regardless on if people believe you can do it or not.
  2. Not everything is going to be fair. Life isn’t fair but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Things are going to happen that bring you down, things you are going to wonder why they are happening to you. But you will be able to get through it if you keep your head up high and keep moving forward
  3. Hard work goes a long way. You can be anyone you want to be and achieve anything you want to achieve as long as you work hard. Don’t give up on your dreams and work to get to your end goal

Day 22: Put your music on shuffle and post the first 10 songs

  1. Complicated; Avril Lavigne
  2. We Come Running; Youngblood Hawks
  3. Riddin’; Chamillionaire
  4. In Da Club; 50 Cent
  5. Dynamite; Taio Cruz
  6. Thunder; Imagine Dragons
  7. Good Life; G-Easy
  8. Havana; Camila Cabello
  9. Cheap Thrills; Pitch Perfect 3 Soundtrack
  10. Just Hold On; Steve Aoki

Talk Soon,

Lyndzey

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 19 and 20

Day 19: Discuss your first love

It was the summer before high school started that I met him and instantly fell for him. We dated off and on through high school and I was in love with him for the majority of it. I was so in love that there were times I let him treat me like shit, times I let him get away with things I should never have let him get away with. There were a lot of good times but there were also a lot of bad times. Eventually I was able to see that things that were happening were not okay and we broke up for good. He called my mom on his wedding day to tell her that he was still in love with me. But I have moved in and I don’t want him in my life in any way.

Day 20: Post about Three Celebrity crushes

  1. Dylan O’Brien; ever since I first saw him in Teen Wolf he has been a celebrity crush of mine. I have watched every single thing he has been in
  2. John Cusack; he is my all time favourite actor and one of my celebrity crushes. I think he is brilliant and has such talent. I have even been lucky enough to meet him
  3. Zac Efron; this crush didn’t start until later after his high school musical stuff. I mean look at him now, enough said

Talk Soon,

Lyndsay