Who is Emma?

Well, let's just start with a bang on that title, shall we? Since getting back on my feet both mentally and literally physically this has been weighing heavily on me. For the first time in a long time, there is nothing really dictating my life. Sure there is school, work, and loved ones but for the first time it is almost like the chains of my mind and body were unlocked and I get to make choices.

I know that can sound a little bit crazy but 12 months after spending a horrible 72 hours in a place that I only hope to forget I can say one thing for sure... this is definitely my time to shine.

So who am I? Well, some days I am still sad, mad, angry or anxious. Other days I am loving, caring and want to be around people. I am a blogger by trade, a student during the day and currently an intern who really likes her job.

I am a hard worker and someone who doesn't like to say no or give up very easily. I am a learner as I discover what my limits are with this new body and mind. I am empty, but in a way, I only wish I could describe better. I am a blank canvas and I have this huge space to do what I want to do for once and it great. It is so great. But it is also overwhelming and a lot to take in.

So Emma is brave, Emma is resilient and Emma is still a work in progress. Aren't we all though?

I am so proud of this Emma.


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The D Word

Well hello, there old friends and my lovely column. Welcome back to where I update you on my mental health (mostly when I am in a hole or finally crawled my way out). This time is a little bit different. Per usual I want to tell my story in the hope of inspiring someone out there to know it is ok to feel what you are feeling and maybe even tell someone you love. But I am somewhere in the hole and somewhere almost out of it. So here we go...

The D-Word....

The word that has been thrown around every time I have to fill out a health evaluation form whether it be for my back, my anxiety, or a plain old check up. There is always that one box or the one word you have to circle because they need to know "have you experienced any of the following recently, the past year etc"

including depression.

A few months ago I never had to check that box because... well... I had anxiety and it sucked but I never was clinically depressed - until the pain came back and man did my pain come back. It had a deep vengeance. It needed to run through me and I was not ok with that. So what did I do? I found myself in a place where there were floods of tears, thoughts of hopelessness and so so soooo much fear, but this time it was different.

This time Jon couldn't hug me out of it or my therapy session didn't end with my head lifted a little higher. This time I found myself crying to doctor after doctor begging for someone to help me to fix me because I was broken. I was depressed.

Now I want to be clear. Just because you have signs of depression or are diagnosed as depressed DOES NOT mean you are broken. Broken is how I felt but - to you reading this right now I promise you there is nothing that can be so broken about you or your life that cannot heal. As I type those words there is a part of me that doesn't believe that, but there is a bigger part that has to.

This is not a victory story or a how to get over depression manual. This is just a story about a girl who has been writing about mental health for a while now and has a new box to check. A new challenge to take one and one more story to tell her kids about how she was resilient as fuck (sorry dad).

I believe in the power of time, the love of others and the strength in ourselves. There are days when I cannot even bring myself to shower and there are days where I feel like turning the music up louder because the sun is out. No matter what though there are just days and there is another coming for me tomorrow. Thank you for following my journey and always reach out to me if you want to talk. LOTS of love tonight,

Emma.


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I Still Struggle

I have been tying to put into words for so long how to explain what I mean when I say that I still struggle. I don't want to keep complaining but I also don't want to stop sharing my story. In my life there has been an expectation set for me and then upheld by myself that if you are good one day you should be good there next day. This creates a rigid structure set up to make me feel like a failure because some days I just struggle.

This past weekend I had a horrible time. Everything I did gave me no relief from living in my anxiety and trauma brain. With this comes physical symptoms and lately they have manifested as seriously uncomfortable chest pain. I don't know if you have ever had chest pain but I don't recommend it. It is scary and very uncomfortable. It is almost like my anxiety said hey - F you we are going to scare you real bad today so you pay attention to us.

My anxiety is needy little monster. It wants to run my life and is used to doing so as I gave it all my power the past year. By this I don't mean that I ever just let it tear me down. NO no noooo. I fought my ass off to tell it to be quite and go away but it is kind of like being an internet hater. The more you pay attention to something even if you hate it - is just giving it attention. To my anxiety no press is bad press.

So what has life been like for me lately? Lots and lots of progress but lots of two steps forward and one step back. I currently go to therapy twice a week (I know that is crazy but man am I grateful for my therapist and the work we are doing). I do one day of EMDR to work on trauma. On the other day I do neuro feedback to train my brain what it feels like to be normal.

I am putting in the work. And I am seeing the results - sometimes. Ultimately, I still struggle. My life is not a walk in the park and some days I wish I could close my eyes the second I open them but I have this new thing called hope and I missed it for a really long time.



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Something To Look Up To

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending a screening of Bill Coors: The Will To Live. I felt inclined to write my next mental health post on this topic because the movie left such an impact on my heart.

The film told the story of Bill Coors and his struggle of finding himself and ultimately loosing the will to live only to persevere and find alternative methods of coping with the challenges life brings. It ultimately led him to give a speech in which he proclaimed the 11th commandment to be love thy self. Not only was it relevant 50 years ago, but sitting in the halls of the theater it echoed through my whole being.

All around me I was surrounded by people. People 50 years my senior and my peers, but throughout so many moments of the movie I would look around and see everyone nodding in agreement, because at the end of the day Bill Coors was the perfect example that no matter where we come from, how we live or how we feel - we are all human and on some level face the same hardships. 

Bill describes a wave of grief that came into him after being rejected and the first feeling he said he felt was shame. Wow that that stick out to me. I can think of so many times that the first feeling I have after a panic attack is shame. Bill and myself have nothing to be ashamed of - we are human and we aren't alone.

The film had so many lessons and moments of affirmation for me but a big take away was just having someone to look up to. Bill Coors didn't let stress and depression and SO much hardship in his life take away his life. Ultimately it led him down a path to persevere and seek how anything he could to help himself. Bill found solace in working out and meditation which is something I have found as a gift in my life. 

So I guess what I am saying is thank you. Thank you to Bill Coors for giving me a - "me too" - moment so many times and for the producers and makers of the film for sharing a story that so many people need to hear. I never thought I would need someone I admired for their struggles but it was exactly what I needed.

You can watch the trailer for the film here: https://vimeo.com/161206091.



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