I Never Leave Home Without My Mask, Metaphorically Speaking

I’m feeling beyond overwhelmed today when I probably should be feeling excitement and joy knowing that in just a few short hours I will have the honour of witnessing my eldest nephew (who was the ring bearer at my wedding 26 years ago) marry his beautiful Bride-To-Be.  

As you all know by now the past ten (plus) days have been some of the most trying and challenging days of my journey and my self-worth has sunk to an all time low. 

I have next to zero self-compassion left in me and I have no clue whatsoever how to be kind to myself.

But I have learned the art of how to fake it til I make it in social settings. 

I have learned the art of smiling through my depression and anxiety in social settings. 

And I’m pretty good at engaging in some great conversation too.

Somewhere along my journey I have mastered these skills and learned how to present myself as “normal” in social settings, but I also know by now how much confusion this often presents for others. 

In fact, if I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me how great I seemed while in a social setting I’d be a very rich lady by now, but for now I just have to take it as an opportunity to open up important conversations (let’s never forget the many faces of Depression that Robin Williams and so many other famous people wore).

The truth is I may present myself in many social settings that way because I never leave home without my mask on, metaphorically speaking; and trust me when I tell you there have been plenty of bathroom stalls I’ve had to hide in while in the midst of a panic attack or worse, been in a fit of hysteria amongst a crowded room.

This is what scares me most about how I am feeling right now. I’ve been so vulnerable lately that even the most joyful moments will have me running to the nearest bathroom stall or worse.

Anyone living with a Social Anxiety Disorder knows how I am feeling today even though everyone experiences it in different ways, but no matter if you feel awkward engaging in conversations, entering a crowded room, making eye contact with strangers, going to a party or giving a speech in public most individuals with a social anxiety disorder have an overwhelming fear of being judged, embarrassed or becoming the center of attention; and many more, like myself will then spend days or even weeks afterwards depleting even more of their mental energy with negative thoughts, ruminating about how we presented ourselves in thus situation. 

For now though I am just trying to focus on the moment, take as many deep breaths as needed and practice my grounding exercises (oh and have my CBD oil on hand at all times too). My mask, metaphorically speaking will be ready for whatever social distancing I may need tonight. And I know that no matter what, my family will be by my side just in case I need an extra layer of protection. 

#thisisthefaceofdepression #depressionhasmanyfaces #anxietyhasmanyfaces #puttingonmymask #depression #anxiety #smilingdepression  #socialanxietydisorder #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #inthemoment #startaconversation #weddingbells #ringbearer #happilyeverafter

Unbreakable Bonds

Throughout my illness I have been so incredibly blessed to have such an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family and acquaintances alike. When we go through difficult times in our life,  having a strong network of supportive people to rely on is so important to our wellbeing. And no matter what the role is that someone plays in that network of support is just as vital as the next one and should be cherished just the same. 

Two such ladies in my network of support inspired me to write this blog because I don’t know what I would do without either of them in my life. They are both close to ten years younger than me and live thousands of miles away, one being in Western Canada and the other in the Southern United States. And even though we may have grown up in completely different worlds and gone through completely different (and at times) difficult journeys ourselves we have so much in common and share a bond that is unbreakable. 

We have an “exclusive” and private chat group that probably has hundreds and hundreds of hours of conversations on it by now. We check in with each other many times a week (and sometimes a day) where we share the most intimate details of our lives including our secrets, our heartache and certainly lots of laughter.

It is so comforting to know that they are always just a quick text away and that I can tell them anything without ever feeling like a burden to them.  

We cheer each other on and we cheer each other up, we listen with our heart and we listen without judgment because that’s what a strong network of support is meant to do. 

They may have been my cousins first but overtime they have truly become the sisters I never had. 😘🤗 

#cousinsforever #sisterbond #youareenough #family #familymatters #networkofsupport #ilovemybrothertoo #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #togetherapart #youarenotalone