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Finding a Voice

I’ve been trying to be vocal about my mental health struggles over the last year.  Trying to be a voice for those who don’t feel strong enough to speak on their own; to help others seek the help they need, too.  I made a big step in my life – I’ve been in therapy for a little over a month now.  So far, its been a lot of the usual background jabber, so its brought up a lot of extensive, deep-seated issues.  “Not too bad,” I thought.  Silly me.

All the emotions, all at once.  Mix it in with how I was already feeling; lost, confused, unsure of myself and future, and you’ve got a whole mess.  At exactly the same time, I feel like the most determined, self-assured, strong person, and also the least successful, least useful, failure.  Imagine bringing up essentially everything that has ever deeply impacted me over a few short visits.  Its like knowing your hair is already on fire, and then dumping gasoline on it.  Its not fun, but I know that it has to be done.  I really like the therapist I’m seeing and I feel like its a good match for where I’m at.

Every day, I’m grateful for my oil.  After a dose, I can feel myself coming down from a very overwhelmed place.  Sometimes my day requires more than one dose.  But its vital.  I am choosing this path because I don’t want to feel less.  Feeling is vital, or I won’t learn to do better in the future.  I’ve thought about the different medications I could be on, and both my therapist and I agree that its not a necessary step at this point.

Its been a few months since I’ve felt more “myself.” But what does that truly mean when your life has been in a whirlwind of harsh transition for the last year and a half (but really longer). In the last 9 years, I’ve moved 8 times. Not because I wanted to.  Mostly because of lost jobs and selfish decisions.  We had a tumultuous 6 years together, with children, adding a child, losing homes, separating, getting back together, so many lies and half truths.  I learned a lot of valuable lessons, but I also learned a lot of unfortunate ones.  Like who or how I can trust. That’s a lot of change, and while I thought I was figuring things out on my own, I found myself even more lost than before.  It has felt like I’m being swallowed whole, into a very dark, quiet, absent space.

Finding yourself doubting every last word from people is a horrible way to live.  If you tell me the sky is blue, I’m still going to look.  And then I’m going to try to figure out what the underlying motive could be. This is how messed up your mind gets. You even question the people you love and trust the most, even though they aren’t the ones manipulating your mind.  You can’t even trust yourself – what if you aren’t understanding what’s being said?  The sickest part about it all, is that you’re really not stupid.  You don’t have trouble reading people.  You’ve been trained to believe you don’t understand.

I try to remind myself every day that I don’t have trust issues; I am healing my trust issues.  I am speaking into existence the healing I need.  Every day, I work towards getting acquainted with who I am today, not who I was, who anyone thinks I should be, but who I am now.  Its a difficult road.  A lot of scary grey areas that are hard to sort through, but have to be, so I can move forward.  The grey areas of life are the parts that no one ever wants to handle.  We spend our time avoiding it.  Yet, its where life really happens.  Healing comes when we sit down with our crap, shake hands with it, interview it, find out where it belongs in our life, and decide whether it deserves that place, and if not, we dismiss it from our life.

It will be a long process, but its worth it.

Love & light ~ Jess

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Sometimes Silence is Black

It’s been a while.  I’ve been trying to find the words to write and they just haven’t come together.  I haven’t had the energy to form more than a few sentences, let alone paragraphs.  The silence hasn’t been bright and busy; its been tiring, dark, airless.  Sometimes, depression reaches up and swallows you whole.

The second I slowed down, I was consumed.  I knew I was becoming jaded about doing Instacart.  Financially, its been a blessing.  Its allowed me breathing room that I’ve struggled with since my old business stopped booming last year, around this time.  I was consistently putting in as much as 60 hours a week with Insta and while I made decent money most weeks, more often than not, I found myself run absolutely ragged, getting shortchanged at every turn.  The summer is a weird and often sluggish time, or it can be a boom.  It totally depends on your luck.  When I finally allowed myself to take a break (really I was more forced to, because the batches were so god-awful, it wasn’t worth the gas I’d be spending to run them, plus I had a lot to do before leaving for vacation, and then a week away at the beach), I lost all momentum and drive.  I haven’t poured myself into my hemp oil business and thus have not built it quickly enough for substantial income.  I’ve beat myself up endlessly about this.  Some irony, for sure.  While the oil has been phenomenal for anxiety ~ its gotten me through some tough times ~ I failed myself by not playing with the dosage to help the rest of my mental health significantly enough.

Normalizing mental illness means we can’t always hide away like we’d like.  We can’t always be silent and introverted like we’d prefer.  I’m choosing to speak today because I feel like I have a platform and I am obligated to let people know they can make it through the bull.  Sometimes we trudge through day after day, dragging ourselves through because we know we have to.  Other times, life comes to a standstill.  You can’t motivate yourself to take a shower, or do the dishes, or even smile, some days.  Life feels like cardboard.  You feel lifeless; everything feels ~flat~.

Maybe you go through the motions really well most days, and hiding it is exhausting.  Maybe eating is overwhelming, whether you overeat, or don’t eat well, if you do at all.  Nothing tastes good enough to bother.  Maybe your house is a wreck and you can’t find the energy or focus to make even half a dent in anything.  Your laundry is overflowing and you have nothing to wear, but you don’t even know where to begin.  Maybe you’ve missed days of work.  Or made it to work, but accomplished nothing.  Maybe its gotten so bad you quit or lost your job.  Whatever the struggle looks like and feels like for you, IT’S OK!

Inside of each of us is the strength to make it.  To get through this stretch.  I know it feels endless.  For some of us, its stretched on for what feels like forever already.  Just know that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, and you’re doing great.

~ Much love and Light ~ Jess

Why not go on meds and/or see a therapist?

Both require help.  Someone to help pick up slack while I’m dealing with side effects of drugs.  The funny thing about not taking any big-pharma medications for years, aside from occasional ibuprofen or aspirin, is how wild the side effects are.  “You’ll get used to it” is not a valid option when I need to be 100% to care for my son all the time.  I don’t live with anyone else.  My parents cannot handle Nicholas full time.  My boyfriend, although incredibly helpful and excellent with him, does not need to bear that burden nor should he have to.  Missing a dose can have outrageous consequences.  Getting used to the drug can take over a month, if it even helps, and if it doesn’t, you’re back to the drawing board again.  Side effects are a way of your body telling you something – not a ‘necessary flogging’ because your body is behaving badly.  Going to therapy is an hour at a shot, plus wait time, plus over an hour dropping Nicholas off and picking him up.  I’ve spent hours in therapists’ care and hated every second – hours and hours pouring over the same dribble every time, with no resolutions in sight.