A Birth, and a Rebirth

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Mental Health Check-In 🧠✔️

Mental Health Check-In

I can not do this anymore. Why do I feel so alone? I was doing great, what happened? Why am I like this? These are the thoughts that have been crowding my head lately. This is anxiety, this is depression, this is self-doubt and I have struggled with the ups and downs of being mentally great & mentally hurting. Since my diagnosis of Anxiety, PTSD, & Depression I have had good weeks, bad weeks, and even good & bad months. Certain circumstances can cause my mental health to decline… & this pregnancy has been challenging. Pregnancy is a blessing, and I am grateful for the opportunity to bring life into this world for the fourth time, but pregnancy is also mentally, physically, & emotionally draining. Since my last mental health breakdown, I have been proactive in my mental health treatment. Being proactive about my mental health is the most important thing in my life right now. I have attended therapy regularly & I have been transparent with those around me about how I am feeling.

What I am going through at this moment in my life is the reason why I advocate mental health awareness. I know that there are others whose struggles are like mines or maybe even worst and I want you to know that you are not alone in this fight. Being mentally stable can be a fight for some, and I can admit it has been one of my hardest battles in life. Compiling mental illness on top of being a full-time mother, wife, entrepreneur, sister, daughter, aunt, and much more can be overwhelming. On top of my mental struggles, I often feel like I have to save others around me who are struggling and that also interferes with me staying afloat. Right now I just need to stay afloat so that I can get through this pregnancy gracefully. Each day I wake up and take it one day at a time because I know that I have so many people depending on me. Worrying about those who are dependent on me is what makes me tell myself “Do not give up now, you have come too far from where you started from”. I often speak life into myself, because if I did not who would?

This too shall pass is my current mood, and until this storm pass I will just keep my umbrella up and my head high. I have decided to challenge myself to take the time to put myself first mentally, physically, & emotionally right now. I can not allow myself to experience a mental burnout like this again, because being this low is not healthy. The growth in it all is that I can now recognize when I am not okay, and I can accept that it is okay to not be okay! We are all human, and it is so important, to be honest with ourselves. If you are reading this right now I would like to encourage you to have a transparent moment with yourself and ask yourself “Am I okay?” & “How am I doing mentally, emotionally, & physically?”. These are important questions that need to be asked regularly. I am publishing this blog as a mental health check-in and a moment of transparency. I wanted to post this blog as I am going through it because I feel in my soul that there is someone that needed to read this.

July flew by! There are 4 more months left to make a change and do something to better yourself. Think of one mental health goal that you can work on during these last four months. I have some creative projects that I will be working on, I will also be bringing a new life into this world, & my life will be hectic. With all that I have planned before finishing up the year, my #1 priority for the next four months is to put myself first & then let everything else follow! If this blog resonates with you please like, share, or comment! Also, I would appreciate it if you would comment on your #1 mental health goal for the last 4 months of the year.

With love,

Toni

There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

The light at the end of the Tunnel…

Cambridge Dictionary defines the light at the end of the tunnel as “signs of improvement in a situation that has been bad for a long time, or signs that a long and difficult piece of work is almost finished”.

Recently I have discussed the trials that I personally have experienced during the pandemic as well as what I have experienced during the 1st trimester of my fourth pregnancy. I described in my last blog titled “This too Shall Pass” how depression had taken a course on me. Yes, the pandemic has been challenging and, starting around the beginning of November 2020 I began to feel isolated, as if I were sucked into a dark place and I could not escape. I am a mental health awareness advocate, because being a combat veteran, and a sexual abuse survivor I know that mental illness is real and challenging.

I have remained in therapy for over 6 years on & off, and while in trauma recovery therapy I have acquired ways to cope with my own mental illness. I was educated about the tools that I could use when I feel sucked in by darkness. I believed before November 2020, that I was mentally tough & able to conquer anything that comes my way with the tool bag that my therapist had equipped me with. It was not until January of this year that I realized I had been isolated and in darkness since November, and I felt cold, secluded, depressed, and that dark place had become my everyday life. I describe it as “the darkness” because when I start feeling this way, nothing or no one can make me happy. It literally feels like being locked in a dark room, and not being able to get out.

In society today there are rarely mentions of depression, or mental illness and I want anyone reading this who may also deal with “the darkness” that depression causes, to know you are not alone! Struggling with depression triggers you to second guess who you are, and your purpose in life. I had been depression since November until recently I was sitting on the bed in my bedroom, and even with blacked out curtains the sun had seeped through my windowsill and I could see the light from the sun peeping through. It was only a glimpse of light, but when I noticed it, I began to smile, and I realized that God was sending me a personal sign. My higher source was assuring me there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I got up that day and although I was not 100% okay, I had the strength to clean, cook, sing, dance, & smile. I felt like I had been revitalized or brought back from the dead.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. With so much transpiring in the world from politics, injustices, death, and the pandemic the effects of depression are happening to the happiest people. But I want to inform you that depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. Never feel ashamed because depression can literally happen to anyone. Do not allow the depression to win, allow some light into your life. A new you, a happier you, and a happier phase in your life is possible. If you are an someone who deal with depression know that your life has a purpose! You were placed here for a reason. Aligning with your Purpose is not always going to be an easy task, but if you just focus on the small amount of light in your life there is a chance to turn the sadness into happiness, darkness into light, and what feel like the end, into a new beginning. There is also assistance our there if you need it. I have listed resources below that may be helpful. I wish you joy and happiness during this time, and my prayer is that you or I never give up, because there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/education-awareness/shareable-resources-on-depression.shtml

https://youtu.be/lQhpetkwWnM

 

Still Life…..

The definition of a still life photo is : a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which are either natural (food,flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, shells, etc.) or man-made.
The interesting fact is that “Still-Life” is my favorite type of art, but it is not the way I want to live anymore. Like this sunflower I have been called bright, a loner, & I have even been told to “be still”!. Often it is said that we as humans need to “be still” and let the universe speak to us. My question is..at what point do you stop being still? I know that we are currently in a pandemic, but I am at a point in my life where I have exhausted being still and I am ready to act. I am ready to act on all the things I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to live life freely with no cares in the world, I have always wanted to just pick up and go when I wanted to find new adventures, I have always wanted to be in a field of sunflowers and just appreciate the gift of life, and I have always wanted to just wake up everyday and do at least one thing I love.
The last 11 years of my life I have been still, I have lived for others, and I have not been entirely happy. I know that I am blessed, but I could be happier. My goal this summer and the rest of my life is to stop being still, because like this sunflower I have imperfections, I have broken parts of me, I have ugly parts of me, but I am still LIVING, and as long as I am living I will enjoy all the arts of life.I plan to capture all the still moments this summer while I am living in the moment. My art has been and will forever be my healing place. Whether it is writing, poetry, or a still photo I am just going to enjoy it all. I will no longer place energy into things or people that do not serve the positive wave I am on internally. I may have to remove myself from some places and some people, but it will all be worth it in the end. I am encouraging you to stop holding back, stop being still, and open your eyes to all the possibilities.

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