What would make you happy?

I sit here with this question ringing in my head since a friend so bluntly asked me this on Friday.

“I don’t know.”

I sat there struggling to find words because I realized I have no idea.  I continued to tell him that I don’t know if I will ever feel happy again. I explained that I may appear happy, angry or even sad but I don’t feel it. I don’t feel it inside. I feel nothing. I feel like an empty vessel. I think if you shook me I would sound hollow and the echoes would carry on forever.

I began to sob and without thinking he pulled me towards him wrapping his arms around me. We sat there for what felt like a lifetime in silence while I sobbed on his shoulder aching to feel something. Anything.

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How did we get here

Silence is our biggest enemy. We fear it more than anything because that’s when we fall into the oblivion of our mind.

Maybe that’s why we were so good with each other. Maybe we just made it work to ease our minds for awhile. Maybe we were just there as a voice to drown out the suffocating thoughts. Maybe we treated each other as a means to a personal end. Maybe we didn’t care for each other at all. Maybe we just didn’t want to be alone with the thoughts inside our own head. Maybe we were true friends who were just too broken. Maybe we cared about each other too much.

 Or maybe, just maybe, I loved you and all of your broken pieces and you just didn’t love me and all of mine. 

Look who’s crazy now

They say that if you want to achieve something you have to make a plan but until you have an actual map outlining how to reach your goals, they are merely your dreams and aspirations.

Today I’m going to outline how to achieve my one year goals. The first step is to make them realistic. They need to be attainable. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin because that will inevitably lead to me throwing in the towel before I break ground. This I know.
The hardest thing?

Starting.

Just fucking start.

I put so much pressure on the end result of… well, everything. My friends think I am absolutely ridiculous because I’m always planning things down to the smallest detail, lengths in advance. I can’t help it. It’s an anxiety thing. I think I need to have everything figured out at that very moment. I need to think of every possible scenario on how it may play out. I need to worry about what x, y and z will do/say, and all the ways I can fail. This is me. This is unavoidable. So I’m just going to start. This is me starting. This is huge. I’ve been so down. SO down. I haven’t felt this inspired in awhile and I’m not really sure what it is but I’m going to run with it as long as I can. All of this is incredibly new for me. I realize that I will learn along the way and my ideas will shift, grow, improve, crash and everything in between. This is important to know. When you anticipate obstacles and even failure you’ll be able to keep on keeping on. Failure, although it sucks, is what makes the victory so sweet.

Tip: Instead of saying “I don’t have enough time” try saying “it’s not a priority”. I guarantee it’ll help

I have a bad habit of starting something and not finishing it. Seriously, you should see how many posts I have sitting in drafts right now. I battle with anxiety and depression and it often make tasks incredibly overwhelming. While my intentions at this moment in time may be amazing, I have days where I am incredibly low. I mean the days where I can’t get out of bed and end up binge watching Netflix, or 1000’s of calories while completely letting my hygiene go by the way side. It’s bad. It’s really bad. I’m aware of it. I know it’s happening. I just can’t get out of it. I wish I could explain it, I really do. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is my attempt at pulling myself out of it. By putting it out there, and holding myself accountable, I mean really accountable, I can find a purpose and move forward. I need a purpose. I need to work towards my goals and aspirations. I need to show people that I can move forward despite my setbacks and that I can come back stronger and smarter than before.

I am not my illness; I am not depression, I am not anxiety, and I am anything but weak. My illness does not define me. I will not go down without a fight.

I will continue to build my blog and tirelessly pursue this life, a life where I help others. I want to live a life of happiness, a life of adventure. I want to show you that you can be yourself wholeheartedly and that the best version of you is YOU. Don’t conform, don’t fold your hand and don’t listen to all the shit talk. Do you and don’t let anyone stop you. Unless of course you’re planning on killing someone or robbing a bank. Don’t do that. Definitely don’t do that. Look what I’m trying to say here is, if you want something, I mean, really want something, you must work for it. Don’t wait. Work towards it every day. Success isn’t owned, its borrowed. Its borrowed and those who have it work for it every day of their lives.

I have been struggling for the past two years with my career path. I’ve spent more time unemployed, depressed and anxiety ridden than I have employed, happy and pursuing my dreams. I spent a lot of time getting knocked the fuck down being told I wasn’t good enough and you know what? Over time, I believed them. I started thinking that I wasn’t good enough. I figured, they’re right. After all, they would know. How ridiculous is that? Who am I to let someone else make me feel as if I’m not good enough.

If you’ve ever made anyone feel as if they’re not good enough I have a few words for you: You’re a piece of shit. Okay I realize we’ve all done it and it comes off sounding terribly harsh but I’m at a place in my life where I see how damaging and awful that is. I’ve seen how it can hold someone back. Shit, I’ve dealt with it first hand. Now I know. I know how important it is to let someone dream. To encourage people and build them up rather than knock them down.

Inspiring people will take them a lot further than criticizing ever will. That’s a fact and you can take it straight to the bank. Build someone up instead of knocking them down and my god, you’ll be amazed at what they can accomplish.

They say if you want to achieve something you need to make a plan. I always wondered who “they” really were. Now I know. They’re the ones that don’t give up. The ones that don’t care what they’re told. The ones that bust their ass every single day until they get what they want. They’re the underdogs. The ones that have been told they’re not good enough. They are the strongest people in the world because they aren’t afraid of failure and struggle. They’ve been there and done that and it inspires them, in fact, they thrive off it! They know that shit’s going to go wrong, its inevitable but its all about working through it, in spite of it. They know that in order to get to where they’re meant to be they need to go through the highs but, more importantly, the lows and that everything that’s happening in their life is pushing them to where they’re meant to be. You will receive skepticism. You will receive an ignorant tirade of advice on how you should be realistic. You’ll be told to stop dreaming. Don’t. Don’t ever stop dreaming. Pursue every idea you have no matter how ridiculous people may think you are.

Don’t listen to the opinions of others. Trust yourself. Be a misfit. Be different. Refuse to give up. Refuse to conform. Refuse to settle. Be fucking amazing!

And never, ever, stop pursuing your dreams. A man once thought we should sell bottled water and everyone thought he was crazy… look who’s crazy now.

Take into consideration

Suffering from mental health makes it hard to open up to people. Like anything, we fear what we don’t understand. And if there’s anything we underestimate and oversimplify it’s mental health. But if we want people to understand we have to keep talking about it. Not matter how hard the discussion may be.

Take into consideration that just because you cannot always see how debilitating depression and anxiety is, doesn’t meant it’s not there.

I have different ways of communicating that I’m struggling with anxiety because it effects me in more ways than one. Some days I’m silent and look irritable, it’s me overthinking. Some days I look sad, but my heart is just pounding out of my chest. Some days I have verbal diarrhea, because of the discomfort found in silence, just to name a few.

So my ask here is simple: Please don’t jump to conclusions when someone is at work one day, quite seemingly happy and healthy yet calls in the following day. I say this because the judgment you carry for that person will never amount to the judgment they feel for themselves. That it takes everything in them to make that phone call saying they won’t be in. The fear of what may come from it, the concern for a lack of understanding, the overthinking surrounding what others will think. This is merely a fraction of the thoughts going through my head when I make the call or send that email.

Know that for every mental health day is the stress and concern of the day that follows you at work. It’s exhausting. So often saying you’re anxiety ridden or struggling with depression is not an excuse for a personal day. Push through it, people think. You’re weak. You’re lazy. You’re making excuses. But you’re not. You’re actually 100 times stronger than your counter part because you have to be. Always. A mental health day is anything but relaxing. If anything it’s more exhausting than being at work because you’re in a constant state of fear of what’s to come.

I hope you walk away from this knowing that I love work. I love going in every day. I don’t wake up thinking I don’t want to work. I wake up feeling as if I’m drowning. Gasping for air. Craving happiness but circling the drain. I wake up feeling like I have chains weighing 1000lbs on my chest preventing me to get up.

My colleagues are not just my colleagues, they’re my friends. They make me happy. They get me out of my head. I’d rather spend my time surrounded by people than lost in my own thoughts.

Now that we’ve discussed that, I want to share with you the different ways in which I communicate I’m struggling with my anxiety or depression.

With every “sorry I’m late” there was three hours of effort put forth just to get myself out of bed let alone my door.

When with every “my stomach hurts” there are thoughts travelling through my head at rapid speed.

With every “I have a headache” there’s exhaustion and stress you don’t see.

With every “I don’t feel well” there’s fear of vomiting and even more fear of judgment.

With every “sick day” there’s fear of ignorance towards mental health

With every “I don’t feel like going out” there’s enough guilt harbored to last a life time.

With every “sorry I must have missed your text” there’s hours of guilt and frustration

With every “I’m going to have to cancel” there’s a pit of emptiness inside I’m unable to shake to get myself out the door.

With every “I’m tired” there’s hours of effort put forth just to get myself out of bed.

With every bit of laughter, there’s an emptiness inside I cannot shake.

With every helping hand is hope that nobody feels the way I do.

With every intimate conversation is the obsession to help.

With ignored message is an exhaustion I cannot push through.

With every “I’m not hungry” is nauseousness caused by overthinking.

So no, I’m not a complainer. I’m not a hypochondriac. I’m a human being that suffers from anxiety and severe depression. A warrior. A person that keeps fighting.

I will fight everyday for happiness. To rid the feeling of an empty vessel and so should you. We won’t always win, that’s okay. I just want you to remember, we’re here for a reason. You’ve been through what you thought to be the worst days of your life and look at you, you’re still here.