Advice from Mama

“We live in a society, that’s not always accepting of who you are. You need to be able to take the pain. But, you need to remember that your going to be who you are, and no one can change that.” -August 19, 2011, courtesy of Facebook’s ‘On This Day’

Whether it connects with you through mental health disorders, personality, religious preferences, sexual and/or romantic orientation, etc., I believe it stands true with everyone. Ever since I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, I felt so different from everyone else. I felt rejected by those who knew, and the anxiety kicked in when I had to tell those who needed to know.

I go to a school now, that I don’t have to worry about that. The people I have met, and the people I have known before and have the honor to be friends with, and even the people I don’t really know, are so accepting, so loving. I have never felt so at peace with my life then where I am now. Granted, yes, I have to write a thesis next year. Yes, the course load will be difficult. But that is a story for another time. Before I got here, I was extremely worried about my social life. Will I fit in? Will I get looked up and down? Will people judge me? Etc. Etc. But now, I am so happy to be a part of this family that everyone looks out for each other. Granted, yes, it is college, and there will always be some social “bumps”, so to say.

I have to remember that I am going to be who I am going to be, and no one can change that. As long as I stay true to myself, I know everything will be okay.

If you went to college, what was your experience like?

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An Open Letter to My Fellow Students

Hey there. It’s me. The person you may know really well, or only see my face in the hallway. Either way, hi. I hope you are doing well with either adjusting to your new environment or preparing to step onto that campus for the first time. I’m right there with you so there isn’t much advice I can honestly offer about preparing for this. It’s going to be crazy. I went to community college for two years, so it definitely wont be the same as university so I am about just as nervous as you. I just wanted to take the time out to talk a little bit about self-love type stuff.

Pretty soon, we are all about to go our separate ways. Tomorrow morning in fact, I am loading up a van with all my stuff and I’m moving 20 miles away for college. Some people I know are crossing a couple towns, crossing Florida, or even crossing the country for college. That can be pretty far for some people when things get rough. Not having our family around at all after being with them day in and day out will definitely be a game changer, and instead of family you have people you probably don’t even know.

Don’t stress. I know I am probably repeating the things that give you anxiety about moving away, but don’t worry. You’ll find your place soon enough, and get comfortable. I guess the bottom line here is, remember to take time out for yourself. Between studying and school functions and more studying and classes and then more studying, you’re probably going to feel overwhelmed. Nothing a cup of tea and reading can’t fix. Like I said, I can’t compare too much because I went to community college which is nothing like university, but the premise is still the same. Don’t overload yourself. Don’t burn yourself out.

To all my friends that I have, I am so proud of each of you. I am so proud of what you will accomplish, and I can’t wait to see you soon. Stay in touch, and remember if you ever need me I am here.

To all my friends I will make, I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait to share this new experience with all of you, and see where the future takes us all. Also, stay in touch with me too. I know we are all experiencing this together, so if you need me I am here.

To the people at my new school I may never talk to, I hope you do great things, stay strong, and do your best.

 

Busy Bee

As I sit here trying to write something new, with my new puppy, Lucy, curled up against me, the nerves set in. “Oh my goodness, what to write?” I want to make it a happy experience sitting here writing for you all, and not feel like a chore. But I still want to be able to articulate my thoughts and advice in a cohesive blog post.

Trying to stay busy waiting for something is difficult. I attend college in a few weeks, and waiting for it to come is eating me alive! I’m ready to go! I want to start experiencing things, and go on adventures with college friends! Then… the nerves…

I’ll be… away…

I was known, as a child, and as a 17 year old, as a piece of velcro. I was always attached to Mama’s hip, or latched onto Dad’s arm, or with my friends any other time. Now that I have to be TORN AWAY from everyone to go live at college, is tough. But you are literally still in the same town as your family and friends, why are you complaining? Because I’m a needy little brat thats why. The idea of “leaving the nest” wasn’t the most pleasant of ideas for me. I like being comfortable, in places I know, with food I love, and people I like.

Ever since the depression manifested, I have developed this fear of loneliness. Not as in me being physically alone, but emotionally. Sure, my family is just a call away, but it will be much different not coming home to them every night. It’s the fear of having to make new friends and new family with my college buddies. What if they don’t like me? What if I am too much of an emotional wreck? Hopefully they will manage with my antics.

I have also tried taking up organizational habits in the past two weeks. I’ve started something called a Bullet Journal, where I log each day, goals, weekly stuff, monthly view, bunch of stuff. I wonder if it is really needed because I already have a planner for the school year, which I am using now to get into the habit of. When I plan things out, execute beautiful organizational skills, *sigh* it lifts my spirits, just a bit. Hopefully knowing that I will be organized for the school year will be something that makes me proud when I get sad or annoyed during the year.

What is something, no matter how small,
that makes you proud when you are sad?

A New Stage with Average Lighting

I actually had to pull my hair back for this post because it’s about to get serious.

In all honesty, I am not ready for my future. I realized this today as I was FaceTiming my best friend who is starting her official college life at UCF. She was so pumped and ready to go, yet still worried about finally being on her own. She typically handles things pretty well, so I am confident that she can do it. Watching her talk about the campus and how excited she was though, was just the start of my rapid emotional decline in the past 20 minutes.

I got to talk to my three new lovely roommates today, and I’m not feeling too bad about that. I can tell that they will be good friends to me. Then anxiety comes creeping up.. What if I’m really not that funny, or a decent person to live with? What if my depression hinders our friendship and I become a lump that eats everyone’s food and sits in my room all the time when I am not in classes?

If it wasn’t blatantly obvious enough, I don’t handle change well. Most of it I keep in a jar on my counter … See? Terrible puns… But in all seriousness, I don’t. Ever since the divorce between my parents, any change, is difficult. Whether it was moving from house to house, from middle school to high school to college, no matter what it was, it was an open gash to more anxiety and depressed moments. The change from community college to a serious, “buckle and knuckle down”, college has got me terrified. Part of me is more terrified because I know I am a terrible studier. This is evident by me being one point away from a scholarship on a standardized test. I don’t care if I scored higher than the national average, I didn’t score high enough to make myself proud. What if those habits continue? What if I flunk out??

I have so much I want to do in my short life. Learn things, travel, get married, get a fantastic job and change at least one persons life. My anxiety and my depression blur those dreams, and it hurts me when those feelings creep up. I want to have a successful college career, I want to have a successful job, and have my love life flourish with the man I love. How long though do I have to suffer thinking that it will never happen? Am I doomed to have this depression the rest of my life, keeping me from ever making a change in my life that may be for the better?

I am the director of my life. I can change that script to make something happen to help the plot. But to be safe, I wont. I wont make a change because I am scared I will lose the will to keep watching. Maybe the future brings new lighting to the stage and we shall see where we go. Maybe I just need more dancing… singing… the small joys…

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Making You Happy

You ever have that feeling where you have so much to say but you have no idea how to say it? You ever want to scream the words written on your heart, but have no way to articulate them? Yeah, I’m feeling that now. Late nights typically aren’t good for me. I just turn into this ball of giggly goop, and I have no idea what to do with my life. Then again, that really isn’t different from any other time. But, here I am. Currently 12:45 in the morning, and I honestly don’t understand why I am awake other than the swimming thoughts in my mind that keep me vertical in bed. Seems to be a common thing now a days. It’s not particularly bad, just a lot going on in my mind and in my head, and as much as I try and write my feelings, or talk them out, I still seem to lose some sleep here and there.

At the end of the day, the thought that keeps my eyes open the most, is did I do my due diligence for the day. Did I make someone happy? Did I accomplish what I set out to do for the day? I think I did what I had to do yesterday, so I don’t know why I am not sleeping… I think that may be my problem though… I am focusing, and having my own mental health depend on if I made someone else happy, but not myself. Granted, that really isn’t how I operate. I tend to care for other humans before my measly self, and that has made me mentally sick from time to time.

Helping other people can make you have a sense of accomplishment, make you feel overall better about yourself, but never forget about yourself. If you worked long hours mowing someones lawn, make sure you draw a long relaxing bath for yourself after. If you’re on the phone for an evening with your friend who is crying on the other end of the line because Tom was a cheating idiot, then make sure you cuddle up to your loved one that night, or even write down your feelings in your journal to keep up to date with how you feel.

Something I know I am not the best at; making sure I put myself first sometimes. There are times where your feelings should come second. When the health and wellbeing of others is on the line, sure, worry about them. But every chance you get, take care of yourself. For the longest time, struggling with depression has made it extremely difficult to love myself and treat myself first sometimes. Everyday I am getting better at doing so, regardless of the days where I absolutely can’t do it.

It can be hard somedays. I know I say this a lot, but I will continue to say it over and over again. There are days where you don’t want to get out of bed. Days where you feel all hope is lost. Those are the days where you need to take care of your mental state and your body. Drink some tea and run a bath. Start adding some color to those sketches you did years back. Write a letter to a friend you haven’t seen since you both moved away to college. It is the little things that can make a difference between a happy day, and a bad day.

So when I said, “Did I make someone happy?” I didn’t mean just anyone. I meant myself too. Did I make myself happy yesterday? Yes, I did. I accomplished what I set out to do. Now it is time to rest up for another day of good, positive vibes.

What is something you do to show yourself love?

Get Out There!

So today, Memorial Day, was by far the best beach day this year. It was great to be able to spend time with family, enjoy the waves, and bask in the sun. Several years ago, no matter how much I longed to see the sun, I could never get out of bed to even walk to the fridge I was that sad. I’m glad I’m in a much better place now.

But, the more important thing to consider today, are those who have fought for our country. I always felt incompetent because here I am sitting thinking that my problems are the worst and all I do is suffer, but there are men and women who have DIED for me, no pressure.

I have the honor of falling in love with a soldier, and him fighting everyday for me to have the right to be sad.

That is truly something I am thankful for.