The stigma behind going to see someone for your mind is one that had grown continuously throughout the ages.
If you mention going to see a counselor the reaction is always a variation of ‘I’m sorry’ like it’s a bad thing to want to get help. I remember for a really long time not wanting to get help because I was so afraid of what it meant for my life and the way that people were going treat me after they found out.
Fast-forward about 3 years in the future and you see me now, regularly going to counseling to work through all the anxiety that I have been dealing with on my own for a while now. I remember the nights where I would lie in bed over thinking about all the possibilities that weren’t actually going to happen. I would make myself sick with all of the What-ifs. I could never get a full night’s sleep and for a long time I was afraid to, mostly because the dreams were worse than my reality and I didn’t want to face that.
If I’m being truly honest those types of nights have never gone away completely. They have just gotten to a point where they are few and far between, and that my friends, is what I call manageable.
I think that I have been in pain, mentally I mean, for a really long time and just never acknowledged it until the world forced me to. I have always been a worrier, I can remember being in fourth grade and worrying about an end of the year project that was just assigned, two weeks into the school year. It was the worrying that made me sick, that made me feel like I was going to hurl every few minutes.
I don’t get physically sick as much as I used to, but it still comes and goes every once in a while. I know how to handle most of the things that I deal with now, but I struggled for a really long time before I came even close to handling it the right way. Hell I’m still struggling for a way to survive half of the time, but it’s the people who care about me that keep me going. I watch them and I see how they struggle through their own battles and watching them persevere and keep going gives me the strength to keep going as well.
I never knew how important quotes could be, until it was those quotes — single strands of words — that have kept me going throughout the years.
You see there was a time in my life where I was really struggled with myself, my body image, and my mind. I’ve always known that I looked at the world in a weird way, and it wasn’t until I found my group of people, my humans that viewed the world the same way I did that I started to fully be okay.
Then one day those humans, those sweet souls took me with them to get tattoos, it is that trip that is responsible for the scrolling script across my back stating that — “Strength is what we gain, from the madness that we survive.”
Any time that I am down, upset, or worried I think back to the ink that is engraved in my skin and I remember that I will survive this madness and I will get stronger for it.
With each day comes a new challenge and with each challenge comes an even stronger me.
It is that sense of strength that allows me to help others dealing with the same things I am, it is what has pushed me to be in a field where I can help people get adjusted and become better versions of themselves. While I may never fully reach the point where I am completely okay, I have realized that I don’t have to be as long as I am continuing on a journey to a better place.
So, for those of you on that journey yourselves remember that each experience will make you stronger, each battle that you win brings you so much closer to winning the war. It’s a day-to-day task, fighting to be okay, but eventually it won’t be as big of a process anymore. One day you will wake up and just be.
It is that day that drives us all, one step at a time.
I am on this journey with you.