Updated: Dec 21, 2020
What if we were all brave and our words fell out honestly? What if we shared our story unfiltered and raw? I've wanted to write about this for a long time because, in order to break the stigma against mental health, sharing our different journeys is progress. Still, it is scary and uncomfortable. I also respect that some are not comfortable sharing their stories, and that is completely understandable.
For me, I believe it will be freeing and therapeutic. Please know that my journey is just that: mine only. And just because my methods or treatments work for me, they may not work for you. Always consult a doctor and/or a therapist so you can find what is best for you! I do not endorse one method over another. I'm simply sharing what works for me.
I have always had an upbeat and fun personality. As a kid, I was always putting on dance shows and wanting to be the center of attention. I mean, I was voted "Most Friendly" and "Best Dancer" in school, so DUH, haha! I am a fighter for happiness - a dreamer, friendly, outgoing and a believer in myself and ALL my dreams!
To me, the biggest misconception is that you can be ALL of that and still battle depression and anxiety - that you can be a happy person and still be depressed. I did not believe or understand that before. I thought it was something that I should fix or had to figure out on my own. I never allowed myself to feel or embrace the fact that I was suffering from depression and anxiety. I was embarrassed to tell anyone. I felt that if I admitted to having anxiety and depression, people would judge me, think less of me, or I would make THEM uncomfortable.
**There was my problem, I was so worried about what others would think, when what really matters is how I feel and think!**
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?"
― Marianne Williamson
NOW, I am PROUD. It took so much work, and it still takes so much work to be where I am and who I am right now: A FABULOUS QUEEN! A fabulous queen who is always working on myself and checking in with my feelings. I stay in close contact with my doctor regularly and take my medication every single day for depression and anxiety. I also have medication if I have a panic attack or if I am feeling one coming on and my breathing techniques are not working.
But how did I get here? Let's start when I gave birth to my son 4 years ago. Right after he was born, my anxiety and depression hit harder than I could have ever imagined. I was crying, depressed, sad, confused, lonely, angry and mad at myself. How was it possible to have these feelings when I had just made a miracle? This beautiful baby that I loved so much, my heart was now literally living outside my body. So I hid my feelings as much as I could and pretended to be happy. But my husband saw the raw and unfiltered me. He saw the anxiety and depression and the many glasses of wine that did not help heal me or my feelings.
It was after a serious conversation that I finally went to a doctor for help. I had many issues with the medication I took back then which only made the anxiety and depression worse. The glasses of wine didn't help either. It was not pretty. It was ugly and sad. It was not me. I was not the happy, outgoing girl I once knew and loved. How could I get her back? How could I find myself again?
My son was 2 years old when I started therapy, treatment, and going to the right doctors. I quit drinking and began taking better medication. My new doctor monitored and checked in on me regularly and adjusted the dosage as needed. I stayed in tune with my body and feelings. With the pandemic, I had to make adjustments to my medication. This is a constant journey. It does not end. Medication has helped me so much. But while it is AMAZING for me, I still have moments of sadness and anxiety. Simply put, that is the life I live but now I have better methods to cope with and handle those feelings, rather than pushing them away and drowning them in wine.
My husband was so patient, so kind and such a rock through the worst parts and (now, fortunately) the best parts of my journey. I am forever thankful, because who I am and where I am today is beautiful, and I could not be more proud of myself or be more thankful. But it took - and still takes - a lot of work: Lots of therapy, doctor visits, finding new healthy habits, breathing techniques and lots of self care and self love.
I am Shay: Inspired, positive, kind, driven, friendly, loving, giving, silly and yet I still fight depression and anxiety. So nice to finally meet you, Shay!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for your kindness rather than your judgment. I wrote this with tears - not tears of sadness but tears of freedom and pride. Fight on fellow Mental Health friends. You are NOT alone.
xo Shay xo
(Please no judgment on my methods and I will have no judgement on any of yours. I love bonding and meeting new Mental Health Superhumans, so if you ever need or want to talk please reach out - we can listen, vent and support one another. Don't do this alone! Find fellow warriors and we will support one another! We are special and so strong!)