Spreading the Word

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636067075654966642-244096999_pat-and-tiffany-silver-linings-playbook-15808-1920x1200Have you seen the 2012 film, Silver Linings Playbook, starring my absolute favorite duo, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper? Well, if you have, then you know the reason for my obsession and if you haven’t, YOU SHOULD! But rest assured, nothing within this post will give away any major spoilers. I will be discussing one of the major themes within it – mental illness – in nonspecific terms as far as the plot. So you can decide whether to continue reading or not if you have yet to experience this amazing piece of cinema.

The first time I watched this film it was with my (now ex) boyfriend who also suffers from a mood disorder. We went into it with no idea about the theme or story line. It had Jennifer Lawrence in it and that was all I needed to know! But when the credits started to role and I hit the lights back on in my bedroom, I could tell that it had hit him in the same place it had me.

This movie (based on the 2008 debut novel by Matthew Quick), had tackled something that you don’t always see in the film industry. They attempted to show only mental illness, which we see thrown at us everyday from TV shows such as Criminal Minds to the latest movie, Split, that portrays having a split personality disorder as the equivalent to being a psycho kidnapper/murderer, but with Silver Linings Playbook, we see the side of recovery and how hard it can be. We are shown a more realistic play-by-play of 2 individuals that have been diagnosed and struggle with Bipolar Disorder. You are put in their world as they struggle to hold onto themselves through their treatment process while also trying to stay “sane” in the way that society depicts.silverliningsplaybook2012-0101

My boyfriend and I couldn’t believe how close to home this movie hit, how accurate it was. But it wasn’t until I watched it the second time that I really understood the power that it could have to those who don’t struggle with a mood disorder, as well.

The second viewing of this film for me was with my Grandma, who is an absolutely amazingly strong woman who would give you the shirt off her back if you asked. She had been born in Florida and had grown up in a different time and a different social climate in more ways than one, but bless her heart, she tries very hard to keep an open mind and heart, even to those she doesn’t quite understand. Those that suffer with mental illness, including me, her granddaughter, were one of those anomalies in that she knew it was a real thing and something I struggled with but she couldn’t quite grasp it, what it was and why it caused things to happen to me with seemingly no reason (at least that she could see).

The night I had gone to her house for movie night, she asked that I bring a few movies that were newer, and Silver Linings Playbook was one that I grabbed in a stack of DVDs from my house. I am not sure how we ended up picking it and I had no second thought about the subject matter. It was a good movie and that’s what I told her. And so we watched it.

Again, the credits rolled and I got up to turn the lights on in her bedroom and take the DVD out of the player. When I clambered back onto the bed next to her, she looked at me in a way I had never seen her look before.

“I never knew it was like that for you,” she said.

I looked back at her and smiled and told her just how accurate certain parts were to my own story. She told me she never understood why I would do certain things, like crawl out onto the roof of my house ready to jump when I was very young and needing to be coaxed in by her since she had been on babysitting duty. She couldn’t grasp the concept of being sad for “no reason,” of wanting to kill myself. But that movie gave her perspective.silver-linings-playbook-14

It had been filmed in such a way that she was able to watch the characters’ journeys through the treatment process and understand things a little bit better. She saw how things weren’t always black and white, happy or sad, and that one little magic pill didn’t make everything all better. On occasion, until you find your “cocktail,” they can make things worse, as shown in the film. Those around you that love and care for you have to go through the roller coaster right along side you through the treatment process feeling helpless and just as scared as you. Silver Linings Playbook illustrated both sides of the process so directly and powerfully that it moved my Grandma to the point of utter appreciation for me and for everyone who struggles with similar illnesses.

I had no idea that it would have such an impact on her. I had never even known she felt so lost regarding my illness and how to be there for me. It was an absolutely beautiful thing to watch her gain that understanding. It brought us closer and I think even gave my Gram some perspective regarding others in her life who are most likely struggling with the same thing.

I implore you, if you yourself have not seen this movie, watch it. If you struggle to express your feelings with those in your life, share this it with them. There is so much talk about mental health awareness, special tattoos, ribbons, clubs, and more, but where is the awareness in the arguably most influential source – entertainment? As I stated earlier, there is plenty out there where mental illness is portrayed, but it usually plays the “bad guy.” You never see the other side, the human side, the actual reality of it.

Understanding and help can come in the most unusual forms sometimes and we need to take hold of it and share it. You never know whose life you are going to change for the better simply by spreading the word.

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Keepin’ it Positive!

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In the midst of all this turmoil that surrounds us in the world right now, it’s nice to find the diamonds in the rough and see a video like this one that brings some of the good stuff to light. Positive things aren’t dramatic or “entertaining” enough for the news to report on so it’s up to the rest of us to use our social media powers for good and spread the word!

Here is a video I found on my Facebook feed a few days ago posted by Upworthycreated by Interesting S-Word, and I just knew I had to share it! Check it out!

Yearning for the Past While Looking Foward

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The last 2 weeks, I took a little hiatus from my Mon-Fri daily blog posting that I am trying to accomplish with the new year and one of my most avid readers – who also happens to be my dad 🙂 – let me know that he was missing his daily dose of my kooky blog via an email asking where I had gone. My initial reaction, however, was that because I had not physically spoken with either of my parents in a whole 48 hours (this does not include the texts and emails that did transpire during said 48 hours), that they were doing the whole “parent” thing and worrying about my well being. So I shot back a quick emailing promising my dad that I was fine and just extraordinarily busy with my life out here in Western PA. It also included a plea at the end to stop worrying and for them to trust that when I say things are going well, they really are!

Later on, when I did speak to my dad on the phone regarding some question or other that I had, I brought up our email correspondences with a final note on how him and mom needed to stop worrying so much. His response pulled at a few heart strings and, oddly enough, had me on a brief trip down memory lane.

He said, “Kelsey, I know I don’t have to worry. It’s not that. It’s just that I miss our talks we always have.”

That was it. Those few plain and simple sentences, and I was taken aback. I started thinking about all the conversations my dad and I would have and the talks of usually a vastly different nature I would have with my mom, too. Each of my parents are extremely talented individuals and lucky for me, their strengths compliment each other and so growing up, my sisters and I always had a specific parent to turn to when any problem arose. For instance, if it was tricky algebra homework, it was off to find mom, the math parent. But if you needed a paper proofread at midnight the night before it’s due (yes, this still went/goes on even at the college level…don’t judge!), you knew to call dad and start the conversation off with, “I’m really really sorry and I know it’s late but…” He was the parent with the “red pen.”

So, as I got older and was nurtured and encouraged by my parents to form my own opinions, to always seek knowledge, and stand up as a strong, independent individual, I found that we started to have discussions and debates on various topics, specific to each parent. Mom always had an open ear when I needed to complain about how unrealistic Scandal had become in recent seasons or needed to vent about how oblivious people could be or how incompetent my manager always seemed to be, regardless of which job I had growing up (with a couple of exceptions). My dad, however, was the parent I turned to with the philosophical questions or thoughts, the political debates/discussions, or anything regarding obscure knowledge I had somehow come across and retained.

But, no matter the discussion or the parent, they were something I came to enjoy and usually on a daily basis since I had begun to feel better and wanted to talk to them (some of that came with age, some came from feeling more stable as things sorted out with my medications and therapy). And with those words from my dad, I realized I had taken them for granted.

I suddenly found myself longing to be back in Jersey, back home with my parents where I could easily sit down to dinner and have these talks with them again. But then, oddly enough, I remembered a talk that my mom and I had had when I was around 14-years-old.

It was brought on by a song that came on the radio while my mom and I were driving somewhere. It’s funny that I remember it so well, I know exactly where the car was at this point in our trip, I can sing the chorus of the song, “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins, in my head, and I remember exactly what my mom looked like at that point, with long, brown, permed curly hair.

It was a good ‘ol fashioned country song about how life goes by too fast and you find yourself wishing you could go back and live some of those moments again. I had turned to my mom and asked her if she had wished for that. If she had wished that my sisters and I were younger, that they hadn’t gone off to college already and we all were under one roof again and had family dinners at night still. Her response was unexpected and, I think, not one many would have had.

She said, “No I don’t.”

That was it. My wonderful mother of few words. I turned, startled, and prodded for more information, an explanation. Didn’t she like it when we were little? Didn’t she enjoy those family dinners?

“Of course! But I am also excited about the future. I am excited to see all three of you girls successful women out in the world. I can’t wait to be a Grandma to your children and watch as you each get your due payback. Of course watching you grow up was fun, but moving forward is a new adventure, even more fun, but this time, I will have less work to do and more spoiling to accomplish and I told you so’s coming.”

I remember sitting there, still driving in the car, mulling over my mom’s words, still a little surprised at her unexpected response. Leave it to my mom to take something that so many people think is a negative (aging) and turn it into an adventure. To offer such a different perspective.

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My family and me as a baby

For whatever reason, I never forgot that conversation. I think about it often, especially when that song comes on my Prime Country XM station. I can’t say that I have always lived by this philosophy of hers, but I have tried, especially recently. But sometimes, when we are scared or feeling lonely, we can’t help but wish for the past, for a simpler time. And that’s okay, everyone has those moments. You can yearn for the past a bit but always be looking forward, too. As long as you live and breathe, you have a future and it’s up to you to make the most of it. 

You are Never “Late”

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In my previous post, I Celebrate You! I talked about being “late” regarding big life milestones and how it isn’t really being late at all. Shortly after writing that post, I found this truly inspiring video with a few facts about being “late” that might surprise you.

By: Refinery29

“The Commander” Reared Her Ugly Head!

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Well, it happened today. I saw one of the many traits that fall under my assigned personality label of “The Commander” and it wasn’t pretty.

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I had to work on a group project for one of my classes earlier this evening that involved 3 of my classmates and myself. Now, to give you some context here, we had already met and intended on finishing the project last week on Friday to have it done and over with. However, one member of our group did not show up and we couldn’t get a hold of her either. So the 3 of us devised a plan that, should she make an appearance or finally get back to us, would include her participation in the project. If not, then the professor would be informed and she would not be receiving credit for our work.

Over an hour into working on the project, we received contact from the fourth member that she had “slept in” (it was passed noon) and “completely forgot.” Needless to say, we were pissed.

So today, we had our second meeting and everyone showed up, so we were off to a good start!

Then it becomes clear that our fourth member who had previously played hooky, did not fully understand nor grasp my hints that I wanted to get the rest of the work done and over with so we could all go home. Instead, she was discussing a crush a guy had on another girl (we are in college, right?) and taking the personality quiz (yes, the same one I have discussed) as it was part of our project and then continuing on and on about the results while I sat desperately trying to finish everything.

The other 2 girls, who had been extremely productive at the first meeting, were being lead astray by this one rogue member. They weren’t intending to not be working, but they also weren’t Commander personalities that were able to keep focused and on task when a more dominant personality came into the mix and was doing the opposite (and yes, I do know this 100% because they, too, took the personality quiz).

Between the first meeting that this girl had missed and now her leading the whole group astray, I began to simmer a bit.

I reached my limit as I was in the middle of discussing a part of the project with one girl and the other interrupted to broadcast something about her personality quiz results. And I snapped.

I didn’t yell or throw things, it wasn’t like that. I simply said that I would really like to stay on task so we can get this done and everyone could go home while giving the girls a look of get your shit together! I thought I had been rather polite considering the dialogue that had been going on inside of my head for the past hour.

The look I received in return and the snappy, “Ok, we got it,” told me that I had been a little shorter than I had intended. But we continued on and wrapped everything up in record time – imagine that!

I realized, though, that I had been a bit rude and they were just trying to have fun and break the boring project up a bit. This in my head, I apologized when we were done for snapping and we all laughed it off but I am sure I left a sour taste in their mouth being that this is the first time we have all really talked, let alone worked together.

I see the error that I made and I attempted to rectify it and that is all that I can do. I can’t sit and beat myself up about it and, if I am honest with myself and with all of you, I’m not losing any sleep over probably not having these girls as my life-long, “Oh, we met back in college!” best friends. I was there to get a job done, not to socialize or tiptoe around trying to get it completed while discussing crushes and roommate drama. commander_prophecy

I am aware that given the attitude I have, I can come across as a bitch. I have made it my conscious effort to not be that way or come across like that to other people because I don’t want anyone to feel bad or get upset from something I say. I am not a bad person, just bluntly honest with a “get ‘r done!” kinda mindset.

However, that being said, if there weren’t personalities such as mine, I feel like nothing would ever get done in the world and sometimes, unfortunately, you have to be the bitch that pushes everyone else to be the best that they can be and reach their full potential. Everyone, every personality has a job that helps make the world go ’round and, for better or worse, I just happen to be the one that has to step on a few toes to get my job done.

 

“The Commander” Personality

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Because of an assignment given for one of my classes during the first week school was back in session, I ended up stumblinf upon a website that through a quick, 10 minute questionnaire, was able to determine my “personality type.” So, being the inquisitive individual that I am, I answered the questions and found the results rather interesting in their accuracy and the depth in which this site went to explain exactly what that personality was and what it meant to have it. And apparently, I am “The Commander.”entj-personality-type-header

According to the introductory page describing this personality type, I am a “natural-born leader,” along with being confident and a strategic thinker. They even go as far as telling you others that fall in your category that you might know because of their fame. I fall among people such as Steve Jobs, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Margaret Thatcher (not a bad crowd to be in for sure!).

Continuing reading about The Commander, I found things to be eerily accurate. From the good traits to the bad, it described me rather perfectly. What was most helpful for me personally, though, was the description of the areas in which my personality type tends to lack in.

A sample results page

A sample results page

Along the path to recovery when you have a mood disorder or an addiction or any kind of mental illness, you are forced to do quite a bit of self-evaluating, whether you like what you see or not, it’s a crucial step in the process. I have certainly done A LOT of this, from my good qualities to my more negative traits, I have analyzed many. To my surprise, the results of this little test showed that many of the things I had concluded myself were pretty spot on. But beyond that, within the pages and pages they give you discussing your personality type (and all this information is free, they give even more but for a fee of course!) I found that most of it was correct but I had never thought about it before.

It was very interesting and I believe helpful in not only understanding myself, but also understanding how I may come across to other people whether I mean what they think or not. For example, “cold and ruthless” came up and although I don’t mean to be that way, sometimes when I know the answer or the way of doing something and everyone around me isn’t on the same page as quickly as me, I can be a bit…let’s say short with them, taking matters into my own hands. I also don’t always have my filter on regarding being brutally- and I mean brutally– honest with people. It’s not that I mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, I just don’t realize how I come across in a situation where I am only trying to help.

In doing this fun little exercise, I learned a lot but I also knew to take everything with a grain of salt and also to realize that yes, these are my faults, but that doesn’t make me a bad person, it makes me human. We all have faults and being able to recognize them and work on making ourselves better is a sign of true strength. And if you are reading this blog or any other one like it, you have already taken at the very least the first big step towards making yourself better if you struggle with a mood disorder, mental illness, or addiction because you are seeking support. You are seeking help and therefore you want to change. Wanting to change and wanting to feel better is the first step, and sometimes it can be a doozey! But don’t stop there, no matter how hard it is, because I can promise you that reaching The Other Side is worth it!

Commitment Issues

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Something just happened that really stopped me in my tracks and put everything into perspective and I wanted to share my freshly realized victory with all of you!

I have been apart of the National English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, since I started at Slippery Rock University and it is the one club that really stuck with me. I have been to every meeting, been an active part in planning events and activities, and have even submitted and accepted to speak at the International Sigma Tau Delta Conference at the end of March of this year. I have to say, the whole thing has been quite a commitment.hdr_std

However, it wasn’t until I received an email last night that made me realize just how much of a big deal my commitment to this awesome club actually is for me along my journey towards recovery.

I don’t know who else here has commitment issues when it comes to social activities, but I am well aware that I lack in the area of dedicating my time to something that isn’t necessarily required and that involves dealing with other people. And then I joined Sigma Tau Delta and I committed a reasonable amount of my time and energy into it last semester and was definitely ready to hit the ground running coming back for this semester. In a meeting yesterday, I was even considering running for an office for the Fall.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email last night addressed to me and one other girl from the club asking us if we would be willing to step up and accept positions in office as Treasurer and PR Representative. Apparently, there is so much going on this semester with the organization that 3 of the current officers were promoted to share duties with higher officers and left 2 spots open in need of filling for the remainder of the semester. My mouth dropped when I read the entire thing and realized, after a moment of reflection, what this really meant to me.

I had not only committed myself to something beyond my “have-to’s,” but I had been involved to the point that my superiors thought of me to ask to help on a higher level with the planning of events for this year. I was honored, but I was also very proud of myself. This is a huge testament as to my progress.

I doubt that the adviser who emailed me even realizes what it has meant to me to be asked but I will certainly show my gratitude and enthusiasm while holding the office, even if only temporarily. These are the little victories that we need to recognize and pat ourselves on the back for. So what if it may seem silly to someone else, because they don’t know where we have been and all that we have achieved since. You deserve to smile and feel proud for every hurdle jumped, knocked aside, or plowed through and never let anyone, especially that little inner voice of your own, tell you otherwise.

I Celebrate You!

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hands-making-a-heart-in-the-sunset-hd-wallpapers-1I feel as if I am doing the whole college thing – the good, the bad, and the ugly – from start A to Z except I am 6 years late. But am I late? Who is it that made up these rules about when we had to accomplish things, at what age all the milestones should be at? I am finally living in my own apartment, a junior in college, going to bars, meeting new people, new guys, cramming for tests, fighting a hangover in a morning class or two…and I am 24-years-old. Who cares?

I am “late” in receiving my B.S. because of my rocky start at Georgian Court University and then after that, waging a war against myself while trying to cope with my Bipolar Disorder (which hadn’t even been diagnosed at that point in time). I held numerous jobs, many of which ended in disaster as I had another meltdown that constantly put me back at square one. This was the cycle for the following 4 years or so of my life after dropping out of college after 2 semesters (only 12 credits actually completed) – feel good, get a job, work said job, start to crash, meltdown, leave job, suffer for weeks in my pit of despair and self-loathing.

I suppose you could say it was at least a decent reason for being “late.”

After I had been diagnosed and spent several months not working but trying desperately to regulate my moods and get back on my feet, both figuratively and literally (I had worn a dent in the couch and could tell you the outcome of almost every Dr. Phil out at the time), I began to think about my future. This time, though, I had a clear mind and I had begun to find myself. I realized at this point that I hadn’t ever been me. I had been this shell of a girl walking around, doing the motions of life, but not actually living (pardon the cliché but it’s true).

Things were coming into focus now and the first thing I realized is that I didn’t want to be a social worker or a clinical therapist as I had gone into GCU prepared to do. It takes a special kind of person to wear that hat and I knew I didn’t have it. I found my passion for writing again and I suddenly had more than just a passion to learn, I had developed a need for it, for new information from any discipline. And somewhere along the line, I found what I was meant to do, and now, here I am, living in my little apartment 6.5 hours away from everything and everyone that I have ever known , completing my B.S. in Technical Writing. I will be 25, almost 26 when I finally graduate. And that is OKAY!

We all have different paths to take, choices to make, and mistakes to be made. Don’t let your parents, your teachers, or society dictate which way you choose. Life is harder for different people at different times for different reasons and having a mood disorder or mental illness can definitely complicate things. Take your triumphs and never forget them. Accept your mistakes and move on. Be proud of the person that you are because chances are, you didn’t get to this point by waving a magic wand and making everything flowers and rainbows along your way and therefore, reaching this point is a success worth celebrating.

So, take a moment and pat yourself on the back because today, I CELEBRATE YOU and your wins and losses because you had to go through them all to get here and to be the person that you are and THAT is an accomplishment!

Changing the Tape

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While writing my last post I mentioned the use of a tool that I learned through my years of therapy that I realized I had never actually talked about on here. It is what I have come to call, changing the tape.happy-tape

This is a tool that I fought against using for years. I swore it wasn’t going to work, it was a silly concept and something that I was positive I couldn’t do anyway. The idea is simple but the mastering of it takes time, patience, and lots and lots of practice. You are supposed to catch yourself when you are thinking negatively and not only stop the thought, but turn it into something positive or at the very least, neutral. In doing this, you begin to gain confidence in yourself and you will find your mood slowly start lifting from that dreary place of depression to a brighter disposition. Sounds like a no brainer, right?

But as we learn through life, things are rarely that simple, and this is no different. I have been told to use this technique for as long as I have been taught the whole, “Take a deep breath and count to 10,” classic that every doc insists upon. But I never grasped it until I actually dedicated myself to learning it and honestly wanting it to work. That part is key. If you are in a dark place and have no desire or motivation to want to feel better, then no technique that any doctor or anyone else suggests will work. You have to want it and be willing to work for it.

I can make you a promise, though, that once it officially clicks, you will be doing it without consciously thinking and you will begin to feel better. It’s all worth it. Now, I even find myself doing this to my friends and family when they begin to have a problem or are distraught about something. Sometimes my encouragement is met with a sneer and a comment or two about being “Positive Patty”, but I don’t let that stop me!

Let me share an example with you:

I had headed back home to New Jersey for a weekend at the beginning of last semester. Along the way, my car began to act funny. I was able to make the whole 6.5 hour drive home and found out the next day that my transmission was shot. It was going to be a $3,000 repair and I wouldn’t have my car for at least a week. You can imagine the profanity going through my mind at this point, worrying about how I was going to make it back for the 3rd week of classes at my new school and where this chunk of change was going to come from.

At first, as I am sure many of you would have thought, I couldn’t believe this was happening. Why me? Why now?

But then, while talking with my dad about the whole ordeal, I realized that it was a good thing this happened how and when it did. I was home, with my parents support in trying to get it fixed and I was able to use my family mechanic whom I trust and know will take care of me and my car. My car hit 100k miles and something was bound to happen and if the transmission had gone while I was 6.5 hours away in a place where I really didn’t know anyone yet, let alone a decent mechanic, what would I have done? And god forbid it crapped out a couple months later when it is winter out here in snowy, mountainous western PA while I was driving it. All of these things were definitely worse.

As it turned out, my parents and I worked it out and I brought my dads car back to PA and 2 weeks later I met my parents halfway to get my fixed car. Because we all stayed calm and didn’t spend our time cursing at the powers that be and asking why this had to happen and to me, we were able to come up with the best plan possible and it’s all a distant memory now.

Even though “changing the tape” was but a brief part of this story, it was still the most important because it’s how I emotionally survived the whole ordeal. If I had not gotten myself calm by changing my thinking, I could have fallen into a depression and not wanted to even try and find a way back to school, just said screw it, I’ll miss my classes and that’ll be it. All of my success could have meant nothing because I could have right then and there lost my marbles and given up. But I didn’t. I took out my tool and I changed my thinking and I got through it. I even helped my parents get through it a little easier by sharing my thoughts.

So, you’ve got nothing to lose! Start trying to “change the tape” and pulling yourself out of a space of negativity and darkness and into a world of possibilities!

 

Let’s All Make a Pact

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This week saw for me the start of my second semester at Slippery Rock University leaving me with only 2 more semesters before I will FINALLY have completed my bachelor’s degree. It is an indescribable feeling to see the end of the tunnel so close and to find myself steadily charging towards it. It is so hard to even think about the person I was just 4 years ago compared to the strong woman I am today, finally actually living my life.

However, even with all of these positives things happening and although I am feeling great both physically and emotionally, it has still only been 4 years and in the grand scheme of things, that’s not all that long. I need to remind myself that it is still a work in progress and it is OK to not always feel 100% and to still hold some of those memories of my darker times, even if it is just on a subconscious level.

Two weeks leading up to my first day of classes I began to have dreams that seemingly were recreating my past failures. I would find myself going to my new classes unprepared or without assignments that were due. Even more than that, and the dream that would hit home the most, was when I wouldn’t go to class at all and instead be sleeping in a dark dorm room.

Now, to many of you, these may sound like silly dreams and no big deal. What’s so upsetting about missing a class in your dreams? But for me, this was one of my worst nightmares.

When I attended Georgian Court University right out of high school, my days consisted of hiding away and sleeping in my dorm room. I would set alarms for classes, but would rarely find the energy or willpower to get up and make my way to the sessions. This went on for much of the fall semester until it finally all came to a head and I found myself in the mental health services office on campus talking to a woman who’s extreme youth and lost look as far as what to do to help me made me even more anxious. When she uncomfortably announced that the police were outside the door of her office to take me to the hospital and that I shouldn’t make a scene, I found myself at one of my lowest and scariest moment within my struggle with my mood disorder.

My dreams every night were reenacting the starting points that lead me to this exact moment. 

With this context given, it is more than understandable that I am a bit shaken when I wake up in the morning. Ending up back in that place is my biggest fear.

Once I really thought about why I was having these dreams and so often, I realized that my biggest fear wasn’t just being back in that situation at school or back in a police car headed for a stint in a mental health facility. I am afraid that I have made so many powerful and consistent strides forward that I am due for a slip up. I can’t possibly keep going in this positive direction. Every time I have in the past, it has come to a screeching halt as I fall apart and lose my marbles once again.

And this fear has to stop.

Everyone who has personally struggled with something, whether it be a mood disorder, an addiction, a physical illness, or something else entirely, has felt like this at some point at least once, but usually many times, during recovery and sometimes throughout their entire lives. We have to give ourselves more credit than that! We deserve better.

This falls under the category of changing the tape in our heads, taking a negative thought and turning it positive or at the very least, neutralizing it. It’s not easy but it’s a skill and it can be learned with practice. I realized that these dreams are not going to stop until I start to consciously let go of the past. I need to start trusting myself and my progress and not fearing that in the next step or the one after that, it could all fall apart.

So let’s all make a pact, right here, right now – no more living in the past. No more stepping cautiously because we don’t trust ourselves to walk with confidence. No more not trusting ourselves and our progress. No more not living our lives to the absolute fullest.