Here, you’ll find love stories that will take your breath away, joyful shenanigans with my sweet little family, some wedding tips and tricks for soon-to-be-married couples, marriage encouragement, and so much more! I’m so glad you stopped by, and I’m so excited to share my heart with you!
Pop the champagne!! I'm so glad you're here!! Stay tuned for your FREE Guide to Preparing for Marriage During Your Engagement!
To get marriage encouragement, Heart's Content updates, and a FREEBIE for my newly-engaged friends, subscribe below!
May 31, 2017
Today is the last day of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, and today I’m breaking my silence. I started writing this a long time ago…months ago even. And part of the reason why I haven’t hit publish was that I didn’t have the words to say, and the other part was a paralyzing fear that if I told my story, that others would look down on me. It’s easy for me to hide–diffusing others’ worries with a cheerful smile, a busy schedule, or even isolating one’s self completely just to avoid the looks, the judgment, and those oh so hurtful statements: “You’re overreacting,” “You’ll be fine,” “Suck it up,” “Get over it,” and the list goes on. It’s easy to try so hard to “fake it ’til you make it,” that I wind up feeling more hopeless than I did the day before. It’s even easier to struggle alone in a sea of people and to spiral into a dark abyss of depression, even in broad daylight. But I’ve learned over the past 12 years that it’s okay to embrace my journey. After all, it’s through this journey that I found the true meaning of joy, that I’m not alone, and even how I met the love of my life. And it’s because of my desire to encourage someone else who may be feeling the same thing, I’m breaking the silence, and sharing about my journey with depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety take on many different forms, for many different people. In my experience, depression and anxiety manifest themselves in so many different ways, and it’s so difficult to explain. The best way for me to describe my anxiety is through music. Imagine that there’s a full orchestra following you around on a constant basis that is so LOUD, that you can’t even hear your own thoughts. The irony of it all is that I’m definitely an extrovert and I am fueled by being around people and positive energies. But let me tell you from experience…it is definitely possible to feel overstimulated as an extrovert. At the end of the day, I become so overstimulated by the wind in the trees, the sound of a baby screaming, people talking over each other, loud and strong opinions, overwhelming to-do lists, and so much more that I either begin to feel manic like I’m hopped up on coffee, or I shut down completely. And it’s when I shut down, that the depression turns on and I begin to spiral into darkness. The depression, for me, feels like really, really bad weather hanging over me on a constant basis. Some days it’s a small cloud with a light shower, and other days it’s a full blown hurricane and emotions are tossing me to and fro. And what’s crazy about it all is that I’ve been so conditioned to hide it with a smile that I become so numb to emotional pain, and that suppression of emotions, unfortunately, causes a spiral into what I feel is “auto-pilot.” At that point, it becomes hard to get up in the morning, do everyday tasks, and function on an everyday basis. Now, before you ask the obvious questions, “Well, are you okay,” or “Can you even function,” you need to know that a lot of spiritual and emotional growth, self-care, therapy, and support have been invested in helping me cope with this every day. I know my triggers, I understand the things that cause me to spiral, and I take the necessary steps every day to be able to function well and eventually rise above all this. But it’s a journey, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
I had the hardest time with coping in college. I would try to hide it with the usual smile, but when I became so emotionally exhausted, I began to isolate myself entirely. I felt so alone, and I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about how I was feeling so I kept all my feelings inside, and you guessed it, it got worse. I found myself breaking down in tears in the middle of class, avoiding social outings and eventually going to class altogether. When others would notice, I’d tell them, “I’m fine. I’m just tired,” when it was really so much more than that. And it was the day that I finally had the courage to tell someone I thought was a friend what I was going through, that they hurt me the most, and sent me even further down. And one day, when I felt most hopeless, I stood at the crosswalk getting ready to cross the street to get to class, and I ran into traffic with the intention of being hit by a car. And what felt like seconds away from being hit, a good samaritan pulled me out of the way, saving my life. I don’t even remember who that person was, but to this day, I’m so grateful. That night I got down on my knees crying and praying to God. I don’t remember everything I said, but I do remember telling Him, “Lord, if You need me here, I need a sign, a friend, SOMETHING, because I just can’t do this alone anymore.” It was exactly one week later that I was sitting alone in the university cafeteria, where Josh came and sat next to me. From there he became my very close friend, and he will forever be a gift from God to me, and a reminder that I am never alone.
This journey has been a long one…and some days it’s so much harder than others. But there a few things that I’ve learned that I can hopefully encourage those going through this journey, and others seeking to be an encouragement to those who struggle with their mental health.
To those on the outside looking in…
My biggest hope is that you’ll receive these three words of advice:
To those going through this journey…
I hope that you’ll know that you’re never alone. This journey is a hard one, but be encouraged that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It may feel like you’re forever chasing light, that it may take a long time to reach, but you will get there. No matter how hopeless you may feel, your life is worth living, you matter to someone special in this world, and you are loved. If you are choosing to live daily, you are my hero. We’re in this together.
(All photography credit from this post goes to Chelsea Anderson Photography)
If you’re in need of Mental Health support, resources, and information, visit Healthyplace.com
To find a mental health professional close to you, visit Psychologytoday.com
If you’re feeling like you’re in a place of hopelessness, and have thoughts of suicide, talk to someone immediately. National Suicide Prevention Hotline is an excellent resource. Your life is so important.