Today I’m doing something a little bit different. I want to talk a little bit about issues that I feel strongly about, and I’m going to start with a little mental health chat. For years, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. I know several people in my family that have similar struggles, but I have rarely opened up about mine. There are also certain individuals in my family that do not understand these struggles. If you show the slightest personality “flaw”, then you’re immediately crazy, or a drama queen, or even worse. So because of these individuals and others like them, I’ve been determined to keep my struggles private. But I want to learn how to let people in.
Anxiety is in fact a real thing. You cannot always see the air you breath, but it’s real. You may not be able to see anxiety in a sense, but it’s real. And it’s different for everyone. When you hear anxiety, you may think shortness of breath, sweaty palms, or even extreme nervousness. While this may be the case for some people, it’s not for me. I do get overwhelming nervous at times. But when this happens, you can usually find me hiding in the back of a room or sitting quietly by myself. Now you see my major symptom is extreme irritability and only those closest to me see this. In these moments, I can hear the neighbors kitchen faucet leaking and I slowly start turning into the Hulk. Liz Smash! Well not really smash, but I have been known to lash out. I swear there are times my words could cut like a razor. And it’s not because I’m a mean-spirited person. I have a huge heart and would go out of my way to help others. I don’t know why I tick the way that I do. I’ve seen countless doctors and have tried countless medicines. One day I’ll find out what works for me.
One of my favorite photographers, Loni Newby, was able to catch some of my flaws in a cute, quirky kind of way.
And to throw something a little different at you, here’s a little something I started working on years ago. In my passive aggressive years, I would write to help ease my thoughts. Writing was a way for me to open up about the feelings of depression and anxiety whirling around in my head. And it was a way for me to dream of how I truly wanted to be.
“One, two, three, four…..she counted slowly as she inhaled deeply through her nose merely to let it gradually escape from her lips. She blinked her hazel eyes open to look around her tiny apartment. The floor was cold beneath her feet while the breeze from the ceiling fan chilled her shoulders. The candles flickered their swift, majestic dance from atop the entertainment center illuminating the room. There was no other light to be seen, no sound to be heard, just deafening solitude.
Alexandria closed her eyes again and sunk further back into her overstuffed burgundy couch. The stench of her day was whirling through her mind, taunting her every breath. She had slowly become accustom to her life. It was her nightly ritual to come home to her empty apartment exhausted both mentally and physically from a life that brought her no joy and no sense of accomplishment. Each day proved to slice through yet another layer of her will to continue and to fight.
Her hands blindly reached out in front of her until they closed around the cold wet glass. The cool dark liquid raced across her tongue, alluring her senses. She could begin to feel her muscles relax and a soft mist starting to form. The mist would begin to cover the angst and the despair that she kept tucked away. However, through the mist she could always see someone different, someone who was worth seeing.
The woman standing in front of her was tall and beautiful. This woman was someone who was worthy of being loved and who could love in return. Someone who was strong and who could stand and fight against any dark and cruel adversary.
Alexandria desperately longed to meet this woman, to become her. Instead, she let out an arduous sigh and took another long sip of her drink to wash down the harsh pills. As the night continued to progress on, she contentedly surrendered herself to the mist and to the clutches of a desperate aspiration.”