It's OK to Struggle
I felt really inspired to come and write to you all today. I was sitting in my extra long morning practice this morning, reading Light is the New Black, and reading about how the words we so most need to hear can be of service to others. So here I am pouring my soul out to you, in the hopes that it touches just one heart. And to be honest, what I want to write about today is not coming easily and it has a lot of fear associated with it, but I feel that the things we fear the most, might be just the things we need in order to heal.
So here it goes: I suffer with anxiety and depression. And I have for years. The last time I had a really deep time period of this was transitioning from first year to second year of university. I was ready to leave a negative relationship, I had a ton on my plate between work, school and friends, and I just had a lot on my heart. Before that, was in high school, when I went through the darkest period of my life: bullying, loss, destroyed immune system, huge weight gain and slipped discs all contributed to my severe panic attacks and major depressive episode. And now, here I am, struggling again and not entirely sure what is causing my deep rooted anxiety and the accompanying physical symptoms that come with it.
I have deep periods of dread, a heaviness in my chest that feels like I am being crushed, and some days, I just don't want to get out of bed. Some days the physical pain feels debilitating and impossible. And sometimes I feel ashamed of it. I know this is absurd, because our emotions and our mental health are not something to be ashamed of, but as a holistic nutritionist, people believe you have to have it all together. Be in perfect health, and know all the answers. But that just isn't the truth. I'm a human too, and sometimes we fail and sometimes we need to heal.
What I appreciate most about this phase of life that I am in, is the support system I have. It's no longer my parents and some really excellent teachers, along with my doctors. Its my parents, my husband, the girlfriends that have my back, my education and the information I have at my fingertips, but most of all the relationship I have cultivated with myself. The relationship in which I know when I am falling into old patterns, and can recognize and listen to my bodies cry for help. I'm lucky in the sense that I have the tools to heal and to get myself the help I need. And its going to involve talking it out, nutritional support, supplement support (I start my new supplement regime today), and taking care of myself deeply. Saying no. Protecting my boundaries and my energy. And making some big life changes.
There are parts of this experience, and there are lessons and awareness around my anxiety that I am not ready to share yet with you, but I promise I am an open book. I am not afraid to speak up about mental illness, depression, anxiety - suffering from a mental illness does not make you weak, instead you are so strong. But you don't have to hide a smile, and it is OK to speak up and ask for help. I promise. The world will not end, and there are beautiful people out there to support you.
I also wanted to just mention this: just remember, there is always someone, somewhere going through exactly what you are going through. Feeling similar things. Hurting. Struggling. We never know what is going on in a person's day. So before you judge, or think you are totally alone in anything, remember that.
For me, one of the greatest ways to lift my own spirits, is to share kindness with someone else or make someone laugh, or simply just smile to someone in passing. Let someone know you hear them and seriously just listen. Audrey Hepburn once said we have two hands, one for helping ourselves and one for helping others. And I think in this world that we live in, where people die in tragedies everyday, where people are so hurt that they take their own lives, where children are starving, where mothers are sick, where people don't have access to the necessary treatments they need, or we just are not educated enough - we are all a little raw, and we all need a little bit of help.
So, I suppose this very rambling post was just to share where I am at right now. I am struggling to and doing my own deep healing work - and that is totally OK.