Today is #BellLetsTalk day, where Bell Canada has promised to donate five cents for every text sent on the Bell network, every tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk or shares the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook posts. The goal is to open conversations about mental illness so that people aren’t afraid to speak out. So, I’ve decided to open up some conversation!
For those of you new to my world, I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. I had low self esteem, so I made poor friend choices, poor relationship choices, poor life choices. I suffered from post partum depression. I would get panic attacks that would cripple me for hours to the point where I was afraid everyone would leave me. I felt unworthy of love, that no man would ever love me because I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve to be happy because I was a bad person. I couldn’t tell people I wasn’t happy, because then it was how I wasn’t trying hard enough, I had kids, why wasn’t I more grateful? I blamed myself for everyone’s poor treatment of me. Had I been a better friend, lover, wife, they wouldn’t have left me, hit me, cheated on me. I stopped caring about anything & focused only on my beloved words because they were all I knew. But the less I cared, the more my self esteem plummeted from these bad choices, & the more anxious & depressed I got…
…until one day, I got sick of it. I realized I was setting a bad example for my girls & I needed to be their role model. If nothing else, I had to be the living image of what they would aspire to be. After all, they’ll learn how to be women from me!
I went into therapy. I stayed for three years. I had strides & setbacks, but I got better. I made dietary changes. I cut out soda. I all but quit drinking. I started exercising; yoga became my life. I lost weight; the number one thing that made me feel uncomfortable about myself. I was blessed with amazing friends who stood with me while I got my life together. I cut out toxic friends, my FB block list has about 47 people on it, but you don’t get access to me & my life if you are someone who hurts me, or lies to me, or is overall a negative person. I care about my friends & family & if you will not show me the love & support I’ve shown you, get jealous of my accomplishments or belittle me into doing things for you while you treat me poorly, you have been erased. No longer was it okay to tell MH she wasn’t good enough; because she was & she is & she always will be. I deserve to be happy & I choose to be happy. I focus on morning positivity & the hope that everything will work out if I just try a little harder. I realized that I was only unworthy because that’s how I saw myself. Through therapy, better diet & exercise (endorphins. fix. everything), I now look in the mirror & know I deserve to be loved, by myself & by the people I let in my life.
Why am I telling this story? Because it’s important. Until I learned to be strong enough to admit that I didn’t like myself; I couldn’t find the tools to learn to like myself. It wasn’t until I stopped being afraid to say “I do not feel like I should,” that I got a chance to get the help I needed to be the woman I should be. And if more people say “you know what? I get depressed too! I have anxiety too!” People will sit in the dark & not love themselves or see their talents or the fact that they make the world better by being in it because they feel alone. So, I want you to know that you aren’t. You’re not “crazy” or the only one, or an embarrassment & you don’t need to just snap out of it. You can conquer this though, & there is a world of people who will help you if you say the word.
Which brings me to the reason for this post today. If you feel ugly, worthless, stupid, crazy, like a bad person, like no one loves you, like no one could ever love you, like you’ve ruined everything, you suck, that everyone will laugh if you say you need help; stop. You are amazing. You are strong & brave & bright & everything you could ever hope to be. Maybe you don’t feel that way right now. Maybe you need medication to get there; that’s cool! Lots of people take medicine to help with physical ailments, right? What if you had asthma? You wouldn’t feel badly that you had an inhaler, right? Same deal. Maybe you’re in counselling. So? Lots of people go to doctors once a week or month. If you needed to see a dermatologist every few weeks, you wouldn’t feel badly, right? Maybe you need to cut out chemicals & eat really healthy so you can feel better! Even better! Junk food is poison! But keep at it, and if you haven’t started, it’s cool to start today too! But one day you’ll look in the mirror & think “I am amazing,” & you’ll mean it & it’ll be the best day of your life.
And no matter what, if you feel like you have no one. You have me. I may be a weirdo blogger from Canadaland, but you can email me any time & I’ll answer & listen as best as I can. But I bet you’re pretty amazing & even if you don’t feel that way right now, I promise that’ll change with hard work, commitment & you’ve got the strength to do it. I believe in you.