A Switch and A Setback

Happy Wednesday/November guys! I hope you had a fun Halloween! I wanted to let you know that I decided to switch up my schedule and post Mental Health Content every other Wednesday now. This just allows me time to get the best posts that I can truely put my heart into for you guys! Now for this week's post:

Instead of sharing more tips I wanted to share more of my journey. Last week was such a rough week for me. I didn't think it was possible to dip so low into anxiety again, but like most things in life it was 100% possible. I had me extremely frustrated and defeated - how could I possibly be anxious again if I sit here at my computer preaching to you all about how I "got over it". 

Unfortunately and to my horrific discovery - there is no end point for mental health when you are finally healed. That sucks to type and it sucked to understand and hear. Don't get me wrong things will get better - they just are not going to be 100% amazing all the time, but if you think about it like I did - that is just life. It is shitty yes, but we humans have been doing this for many years and have survived for so long on days that may not be perfect.

My friend sent me a really amazing quote last week and I wanted to share it with you guys because it really hit home for me:

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In life we all seem to be running for the finish line, but what if there just wasn't one? Could that possibly change the way you view setbacks and hard times? It definitely did for me! I am such a survivor and you guys reading this are too - that may sound cheesy but it is the truth. Life in 2017 isn't as easy as the cavemen had it. We put up with a lot of shit, but we are more than capable of getting through all of life's challenges!

I hope you guys have a good rest of your week!!



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How to (not) Improve Self-Esteem

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Part of my recovery from my big dip of anxiety was being part of an IOP program. IOP is intensive outpatient program and are used for all types of mental illnesses and addictions. Mine was tailored to people with high functioning depression and/or anxiety and everyday we went and learned about our brain and how it is ruining us (kidding... kinda) for two hours. I was in the program for five weeks and really benefitted from it. (for those of you from Colorado it was the Wellness Treatment Center but more on this in a tools post to come)

The most profound and seriously groundbreaking thing I learned there was about self-esteem. Western Culture and quite honestly all of my therapists taught me that self-esteem was something that I could improve and in turn my anxiety about not being good enough would go down - I can tell you from my own experience that is just wrong. I did everything to "work" on my self-esteem but I still felt pretty crummy when it came to social situations that made me anxious. So until a class where I learned something crazy I was just failing (and then making myself feel worse of course)

Self-esteem is not even real. I am not kidding you guys - it is nothing more than an opinion you hold about who you are as a person. Most of the time it isn't even true (even if we have really really high self-esteem)

I learned that I JUST AM. There is no _________ after that sentence. It isn't I am smart, or I am pretty or I am a good person. Nope. Just I am.

If you are like me at all you are probably thinking this is nuts and ridiculous. Well it kind of it haha but it also kinda works. When I take away the blank space after that sentence there is no longer an opportunity to label or judge myself. Within itself, "I am" is accepting and prepares me for every situation. If you think about it, no matter what I am doing, if I just "am" then I will be ok. This is a skill I have worked on for a few weeks now and it is changing my life by changing the way I think WITHOUT even touching "self-esteem". 

I have attached the hand out that broke this down for me for all of you. When we are leaving that _____ blank after our self-talk it is so much easier to revert to the bad. As humans, we easily pull from negative memories and experience rather than happy ones. BUT THAT IS OK! That is why I take away the dang blank. It leaves so much more room for all of us to be kind and accepting of who we are at in given point or place in our life. You may be a mother, a son, an anxious person but at the root of it you just are. 

I hope you read through this handout and maybe get some sort of peace when it comes to self-esteem because it can be one less thing you need to "fix". (you can even print it out and put it on your fridge like me - GREAT conversation piece)



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It Started With A Headache

Would you believe me if I told you my deep downward spiral of anxiety and depression started with a headache? Well that is partially true, but the headache was really only my trigger. I realized that the past two weeks I have given some advice and insight into anxiety itself but maybe less about what actually happened to me. I think it is important to hear that things you wouldn't even know could be affecting you can just be building up over time. Tick tick ticking away like a bomb. Because that is exactly what happened to me.

Let's take it back... Do you remember this post? That is when the anxiety really started to affect my day to day life again but looking back I can trace it further to where it actually began. If you go back to December you can find a post called "A Lesson in Rejection". This is the root of where my anxiety planted its seed. September of last year (about a year ago - that is crazy in my mind!) I decided to rush. It. Was. Hell. While I am happily a Delta Zeta now the road to get there was horrible.

Long story short, I was the target of a very cinema-like mean girl bullying and it crushed me. Being told from a group of girls something is wrong with you (even if you KNOW they are wrong) does not help that voice in your head. I lost all my "friends" overnight in one clean sweep. Even a girl I had known since high school and did everything with - poof. Just gone like nothing happened. And while they went on with their lives mine started to stall.

Now back to February, and I am having the worst jaw pains of my life. Somewhere deep inside of me there was a huge battle with anxiety happening (without me even grasping it) causing me to clench my jaw as tight as I could every day. It was like my body knew I was unhappy, knew I was avoiding life and knew that I have a massive wound that never got a chance to heal and I was still so angry about it.

This caused MAJOR headaches that ramped up the more anxious I got. So by June, I still hadn't even realized anxiety was the culprit, but my body did. My body remembered being walked into that sorority house and treated like crap. My body remembered what it felt like to have friends and then to feel the emptiness of new ones, better ones, move away. My body remembered it and help onto it so tight that my nervous system was F%*#ed. 

A couple trips to the ER later and I found myself in a psych ward.

How did it all happen so fast yet so slow? Looking back I can see that the discomfort my body felt with every headache and jaw pain made me feel incompetent and quite frankly just plain bad. For years I have been my own worst critic telling myself every day that I was not good enough and was not worthy of a healthy, happy life. AND deep down inside that wound was saying the same. exact. thing. These thoughts only made the jaw pain and in turn headaches worse - it was a vicious cycle that I couldn't break. 

Even typing this post I can see there was no clear path to my low point or one thing that I could've done to maybe make it better, but now I do know that life happens. Girls happen, people happen - mean, nice and everything in between. And guess what? Headaches happen too, but if I can process these things in a way that don't tell myself "you are less that what is good" then I won't clench, and then I won't have as many headaches and then maybe finally I can get on with my life because I am pretty damn happy to be living right now. 

So yeah, it kinda all started with a headache, but now I can thank those headaches and those girls for this new chapter in my life I was given. It has had a horrible start but it is about to be great. Living life with less anxiety and pains makes me so happy. 



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Anxiety is a B*#@%

Sorry for my language but guess what guys? Anxiety is a major B*#@%. You may (or may not) have noticed that I have been more than a little absent from my blog and Instagram this summer. There is a simple (yet so complicated) explanation for that and that is anxiety. If you have been following me for a while or have read my blog before you may know that I have little filter and really have no problem sharing every detail of my life - not for attention or pity - but for awareness and to start a conversation.

Mental health has been a struggle for me in the past but this year it really ramped up. Without too many details - to put it frankly this year sucked. I know every year and every day I am given isn't going to be amazing and 100% but this was like one of those years that fits a movie scene where the main character is getting his ass kicked and he finally falls on the ground and just gets socked in the face one more time for good measure - that was my sophomore year of college.

At the beginning of June, so much change took place in my life at one time and I knew I wasn't ready for it. It was like knowing a hurricane was coming but putting yourself in the middle of the damn street to have it happen anyways. I felt like my body and my mind detached and started living their own lives. My panic attacks tripled and I got these horrible headaches and jaw pains to go along with it. Four trips to the hospital later (yes FOUR) and I realized I hit rock bottom. I was laying in my parent's bed tingly, numb, crying and realizing my life is not worth living like this. 

SOOO what did I do? What any logical person in that situation would do - I asked my therapist to put me on a 72-hour hold and get me locked up with the rest of the "crazy" people because I was NOT functioning. Taking a breath of air in was hard and for someone who can be a bit (a lot) dramatic at times, this was no exaggeration. 

I spent three days in a psych ward where every 15 minutes somewhere checked off on a clipboard that yes you were still breathing and yes you hadn't tried to hurt herself by shoving a pencil into her eye or down your throat (I heard stories guys). The doctors in the hospital switched my meds (did I mention this is the fourth switch I've had in three months? NOT fun) and I was released. I didn't feel any more whole, any less broken, but I did feel like that was rock bottom and things couldn't get worse which in a weird way was a ray of hope for me.

Fast forward two (three? I am losing count these days) weeks later and anxiety is still a bitch. I know this wasn't the ending you were looking for but there is a bright side! I am currently in a program that teaches me new skills, new perspective and gives me a whole bunch of people just like me to lean on. I go every day and I think it is starting to get somewhere for me. I am not longer waking up wishing my eyes could be glued back closed. Mental health is a long journey. It is a path with crazy highs and the lowest of lows that you could ever imagine, but what stands out to me the most about it is NOBODY LIKES TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Sorry for yelling but guys, lets get real here. Nobody is perfect - not even the girl behind the instagram feed you follow and may think trading places for a day would be cool. Behind every sponsored post or tripod taken selfie is a major battle happening in my brain to take back my life. So from here on out this blog is fashion, videos, beauty, lifestyle AND mental health. Welcome to my new category and thanks to a suggestion from my killer boyfriend I am sharing this journey with you guys in a post once a week EVERY WEEK. Every tip, every struggle and hopefully one day a success story about how I kicked anxiety's ass.

Maybe not for good, but for now


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