The Dark Side; They don’t have cookies!

So this is what this blog is really about. If I only posted about the good days, or about the things that work for me, and never showed you what actually happens for me, then what good would this blog do?  I want you to know that even though it looks like it, I don’t have it all together, and I do have weaknesses, major ones.

Yesterday and today have been what I just loosely term as “Rough Days.” I’m under a ton of stress lately, with moving, my dance company’s tour, planning bridal showers, bachelorette parties, Spring Recital for Dance, and making sure I get to see everyone I want to see before I move, and I have a hard time admitting that all of that would be difficult for someone without anxiety. I spend a lot of time telling people “I can do everything a ‘Normal’ person can, I just have to do it in a different way,” but I often forget that sometimes a different way means a more difficult way too.

So what does it mean when  say “Rough Days?” For most people, a rough day means that they had something happen that upset them, or that was difficult, and so it was a harder day than a normal day, when things go pretty much the way they want them to. For me, that is a definition of a good day. Many people forget that for me, and for many people like me, anxiety doesn’t just happen on “Rough Days.” Anxiety is a battle I fight every single day, from the moment I wake up until I (hopefully) fall asleep. My “Rough Days” are the day when anxiety wins. They are the days when I lose control of my emotions, and when I lose control of myself. Everyday is exhausting, but “Rough Days” are even more so, because even when my anxiety wins, the battle isn’t over.

When I admit to myself that anxiety has won that day, a whole new struggle begins. The voice in my head that says that I’m not good enough, that I’ve failed, and that I am not worth the effort. It’s the voice that says I’m a bad wife, a bad daughter, and that I don’t deserve to be happy, all because anxiety won today. It’s when I feel hopeless, and when it hits me hard that this is forever. I will fight this battle every day, for the rest of my life, and sometimes I will lose. Sometimes it will be more than I can bear, and it won’t matter what techniques I try, it will win.

Yesterday, I had to say goodbye-for-now to a very close friend, who’s like my brother. And I know that since I am moving to Tennessee, and he is stationed in San Francisco, that we won’t see each other for a pretty long time. After hugging him goodbye, and watching him drive away, I was suddenly hit with immense anxiety, anger, and sadness. With anxiety, big emotions often become even bigger. My anger at having to move far away was escalated, and my sadness about leaving such wonderful friends and family here in Oregon was overwhelming. The tears began, and with them came shaking, ragged breathing, dizziness and all my other usual symptoms. My normal coping mechanisms were powerless against this new wave of anxiety, and it took me for quite the ride. Drew was luckily there to be a presence in the room, but rarely is anyone able to help much when I am this deep in the dark. I cried for what seemed like hours, alternating between curling up on the bed and trying to go through my nightly routine. Finally I was able to calm myself enough to call my mom, who was able to talk me the rest of the way down. (Bless her heart, she’s a genius, and I don’t know how she does it.) This morning, the anxiety is still elevated. I can feel it just behind my ribcage, waiting for me to have a weak moment so it can squeeze it’s way back in. Luckily Zipper, (my emotional support dog) is here, and is keeping very close tabs on me. Today will be hard, but it will get better as it goes, and as I recover from last night.

I’m not here to tell people that it’s all sunshine and rainbows with anxiety, because it’s not. Sometimes it really sucks. Sometimes you think that it’s not worth it. But this is the just the Dark Side of anxiety, and while it is sometimes hard to see the good in it, I will survive, and I will keep fighting. You, readers, are a big part of why I will keep on fighting. I want you to know that I’m a real human, and that this is something you CAN live with. All mental illness is a little bit different, but keep fighting, because life is worth living. This morning God gave me a ray of sunshine through my window to wake up to, and I had a little chocolate with breakfast. Today will be about self care and success, and I will keep going. Thank you for going on this journey with me, I appreciate it more than you know.

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Zipper crawls in my lap as a distraction

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Another way he helps is by asking to be walked or to play

 

All My Life

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! If you don’t already know me, my name is Kyra, and I’ll explain the blog in a moment, but first, a little about me! I’m 24, and have been married to the love of my life, Drew, for almost 2 years. I’m a pet mom to my cute Cocker Spaniel, Zipper, our 2 kitties, Felix and Binx, and my Paint Horse, Sully. I have an English Degree from Oregon State University, I’m a member of the Oregon State University Ballroom Dance Company, and I lead a local dog 4-H group. I also nanny part time, and substitute teach at a local childcare center. For fun, I write, read lots of historical fiction and classic books, and bake. Yes, I know, a pretty full schedule. People tell me all the time that they can’t believe how busy I am, but I wasn’t always able to do everything I do. There was a time, not very long ago at all, that I couldn’t even stay the night away from my parent’s home. The thought of going on a day trip with friends made my stomach hurt, and leaving my house took a pep talk and medication. Why? Because I am living with High-Functioning General Anxiety, and Depression.

For years, I have been gathering information about Anxiety and mental health as a whole. I have been blessed with anxiety since I was 6 years old, but we didn’t get an actual diagnosis until I was 15. After that, I began my search for a “Cure.” ( which I will explain in just a bit.) When I turned 18, it was time to leave for college, and that is when my focus changed from finding a “cure,” to just finding ways to survive. Looking for coping mechanisms was much more successful than looking for cures, by the way, and as I started to see a change, I began to dream of someday feeling brave enough to write this blog.

One of the main purposes of this blog is to share experiences with anxiety, (both my own, and those of others,) with the world, so that other people might be helped. I am Christian, and I believe that God gave me this disorder so that I can help others to live fuller, more meaningful lives. (This is also why I usually replace the words “Suffer from Anxiety” with “Blessed with Anxiety.”) I hope this blog becomes just one of many tools that I can use to help people living with mental illness.

In this blog, you won’t find a “cure” for anxiety or depression, and you won’t find much complaining or “woe is me” talk. I don’t believe that my anxiety can be cured, I think it is something I will always deal with, and that’s okay with me. The good news is, there are millions of coping mechanisms and practical solutions out there, as well as many people going through the same things, and that is exactly what I plan to share here. Not all of these solutions will work for me, or for you, and that is perfectly fine. One thing I have learned so far about mental illness is that each person is so unique, meaning the things that help them are unique too! I hope that some of my suggestions are helpful, even if not all of them work.

But this blog isn’t just for those who have mental illnesses, it’s also for everyone else! I will be including material that resonates with me about what I want people around me to understand, as well as hints and tips about how you may be able to help someone with a mental illness. I may even include a few suggestions from my trusty husband, who puts up with so much and who loves me no matter what irrational fear I have that day.

My final hope for this blog is that it becomes a conversation that will help take down the stigma surrounding mental illness, so that people who need help might be more comfortable asking for it. Feel free to use the hashtags that I use, in your social media activity: #losethestigma #youarenotalone #letstalkaboutmentalhealth

I hope you find this blog uplifting, funny, loving, and above all, a place to feel safe and welcomed, no matter what you’ve been blessed with. I love people, I’m (according to my husband) brutally honest, and I want to be here for you, wherever you are in this crazy life. I believe in a world where mental illness is just another disease that we all work together to combat and defeat.

Please like, share and comment away, so that your friends and family might be able to ind some helpful solutions as well.

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