Today is October 10, 2020. It is World Mental Health Day. This is a day to spread and raise awareness on mental health issues as well as mobilizing support. For me, it’s a very important day to take a moment to consider. I gathered some of my *things* and organized them for a picture above. What’s funny about it is when I noticed all of the other things that are just as important for maintaining my mental health that I couldn’t capture right here and now. Which are:
- Hearing my daughter laugh
- Spending quality time with my husband in any way
- Enjoy nature and going for a walk
- Visiting parks and adventuring to new places
- Saving money
- Having a plan with goals
- Having a good laugh myself
- Making cakes and breads
- Cooking new recipes
- Taking a bath using Hemp products and CBD oils
- Wearing makeup
- Running an online business
- Learning new things
- Reading personal development books
- Meditation and Yoga
- Practicing handwriting and calligraphy
Listed above is just to name some things off the top of my head.
However, in this photo, you get a glimpse of:
- Easel and watercolor paints
- Affirmation cards
- My faith projects
- My Younique makeup box
- My health and fitness
- CBD oil gummies
- Loads of vitamins
- My prescription for an antidepressant and antianxiety medication
If you actually read this, then you would have realized that it takes A LOT to keep my mental health in check. I have suffered from tremendous amounts of trauma, abuse of all forms, loss and neglect in my life. Like Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy once said, “I go a little dark and twisty, but then I come back.” Or her other quote, “Not everybody has to be happy all the time. That’s not mental health. That’s crap.” And she’s right. I grew up in a dark place and it got darker once I was a teenager. I left my mom and home at the age of 14 and high tailed it to Georgia. Maybe I ran away. I’m not sure. It was the only way I could think to escape, yet life had OTHER plans. I didn’t know that Georgia only anticipated more trauma, more abuse, more loss and more neglect. My previous situation wasn’t livable either and I had to make a choice. Looking back on my life experience, I have no regrets on my decisions because I did the very best that a 14-year-old could. I had my own place before my senior year of high school when I was just 17 years old. Eventually, when I was 19, I finally hit a wall in my mental health from all that I’ve been through and decided to learn how to try to work on it; as my mind was evermore deteriorating.
Just like with any journey, it wasn’t easy to start. Nonetheless, it is one that I am beyond thankful for doing. At the time, all I knew was that I NEEDED to feel better before I became suicidal… again. I joined Pinterest to read positive quotes and spark some inspiration. That lead to reading blogs which lead to realizing that I wasn’t alone in this war. Others were doing it too… other people actually could, for the most part, explain exactly my feelings of despair and honestly, self-hatred felt and how it was affecting my day-to-day life. And they had hope. So, it gave me hope. I began waking up at 4:30am to get a workout in and watch the sun rise. Then I added journaling in those hours while watching the sun. I started rearranging my thoughts to make room for better ones. I talked to myself in the mirror and I’ll never forget the first time I looked myself in the eyes and said, “I do love you Crystal.” I immediately rolled my eyes and nearly gagged. That was definitely a problem… but expected. I had to do research on my own past and make peace. I had to go back and give that child self what she never got… love and support. I did my best to revisit what hurt me most first and then work from there. It had the most positive trickle-down effect I never could have imagined. I did start to feel better. There’s so much more to it than that… it’s learning the art of forgiving people and yourself, letting go and learning what self love really means.
I knew I was depressed by the time I was 10 years old. But my anxiety issues started way before that. I had my first panic attack – about death – when I was 7 years old. No one ever got me help for it. As an adult I had to do it myself. It’s been 7 years since I started my mental health journey. And I’m still learning new things about it all even today. I’ve actually recently made the discovery that I am going to be unpacking my pain for the rest of my life. This fact shocked me and it took me a couple of months to find acceptance with it. And it is days like today, bringing awarness to the still taboo subject, that make that “unpacking fact” settle a little bit easier for me.
To anyone who is struggling, you can talk to me. And if not me, please talk to someone and figure out the things that make your soul content as well as make life -yours! Remember baby steps and take it day by day. If no one hasn’t told you this, or hasn’t said it lately, I need you to know that: You are worthy. You are loved. You are needed and you deserve the BEST out of this life. Go on and use your experience to create the BEST version of you!
(A survivor who fights every day to own the day!)