I know everyone is saying this but it’s true: January has gone on for like three months. And I know this for a fact because when was the last time I ever made THREE posts in ONE month?
Anyways, January, though long hasn’t been that terrible. I finally got to go up to Bancroft to visit Helen with Amy for a weekend. It was a lot of fun, just hanging out inside, playing games, talking A LOT while Helen continuously fed us.
Sometimes I forget that I’ve known them for so long, that we were actually just kids when we met. It really doesn’t feel like that much time has passed and yet I’ve known them for … like 15/16 years now? That’s more than half my life. I still find that our friendship can reach new depths though. All of us were raised to be pretty emotionally closed off so while I feel that we could always tell each other anything we rarely do because it’s not really in us to do so. I’m not saying that I don’t feel comfortable opening up to them, because I do and we really just allow each other to open up on our own time. Which is sometimes enough, really lol.
So, I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile and I started this last night, but it feels like a good time to finish this post today because today is #BellLetsTalk. So since like 2010, Bell has set up a super easy initiative to a) end the stigma around mental health, b) foster conversations about mental health and c) raise money for mental health programs across Canada. It truly is the easiest thing to participate in and it generates so many good things for everyone. You can retweet, use the hashtag or view a literal 10 SECOND video and 5 cents is donated. It doesn’t seem like much but considering the amount of people that get involved it actually becomes quite a big deal.
Like many people, I’ve suffered from mental health issues. (Depression, anxiety and binge eating.) For a long time, I never talked about it unless I was joking and just endured in silence. Kudos to everyone who has done that, or is still going through this in silence because it is literally hell. It continues to be a huge achievement for us all when we make it through the day but it shouldn’t have to be this hard just to survive a day at a time.
I can’t even remember when my depression first started, it’s been a part of me for so long and it was really only the end of 2017 that I finally felt like, not really I “overcame” it but I could finally look at it and be like, there is something wrong and I don’t deserve to live like this and I need help. I’m still in the process of finding a therapist that I feel comfortable with but I am also more open about the fact that I have depression and anxiety and I am starting to get better at recognizing when I’m having an especially bad day and doing little things that make me feel better.
While absolutely terrifying, being open that I’m feeling a ways on some days is definitely (in my personal experience) a great step in making me feel better. I find that sometimes when I just keep all my thoughts inside, they manifest and change in a way that seems so all consuming. When I voice it out loud, to someone else or even just to myself it puts it into a more “realistic” perspective. Obviously, what works for me, won’t work for everyone. Lol I feel like I’m not explaining this properly so let me give you an example. (Also, feeling absolutely anxious about putting it out there on the net but let’s go.)
So, I used to think I was absolutely hideous and because I was hideous I didn’t deserve love or to be treated nicely. I was so grateful to my friends or anyone that was kind to me because my whole mentality was “Damn, they are SO great because I am the grossest person alive and they are still so kind.” Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely grateful for my friends but not for the reasons as I used to be. I was ready for them to stop being my friends for any arbitrary reason. Like if one of them was like, “I don’t want to be friends with you anymore because you’ve gotten too fat.” I would have been like, “Yup, I see your point. I agree. I deserve it.” When I say it out loud, I realise how stupid it sounds.
My friends are kind to me because they are kind people. They hang out with me because they enjoy my company. They love me because I have enriched their life in the same way they have enriched mine.
Sometimes when I would look in the mirror and even though I would think, “I look kind of cute today,” it felt like I was Cinderella for maybe two hours. Things seemed okay for that short moment in time but then when it was over I was back to being a fat, unlovable lump and I deserved it which would lead to an epic binge and than an epic purge and I was stuck in that cycle. It’s crazy how much your mental health fucks with everything in your life. Like I had all the evidence right there, looking at myself in the mirror with my own two eyes but my brain was like, “You’re OKAY…for now.”
What I found has really helped me, is voicing all of my, especially, negative thoughts out loud and then just reasoning with myself like I would if one of my friends said that to me. Like, all the times I’ve thought that I was stupid and would never amount to anything in life…why did I think that? What makes me think I’m stupid? Is it because I’ve never solved a brain teaser or a riddle immediately? Is it because math was always a struggle for me in school? Am I stupid because I don’t know who built the Louvre?
See how absolutely ridiculous it sounds? Myself and my friends all seem to have this terrible habit of thinking we’re dumb just because we don’t know something. You’re not dumb because you don’t know something… you just don’t know what it is. I’ve gotten into more trouble and caused myself more stress and anxiety because I pretended to know something instead of being honest and just asking, “What is that?”
I found that I was taking a lot of people’s own negative behaviour and making it okay for them to treat me like shit because I felt like I deserved it. If someone thinks you’re stupid or calls you stupid because you don’t know something, then that’s a THEM problem, not a YOU problem. Some jerk calls me a fat pig because I won’t blow him on the first date? That’s a him problem, not me. (lmao dating while fat is it’s own whole separate post, I promise you because it is a different type of cruelty all together.)
(Lol I will FOREVER be thankful for Angelina because she gave us that, and it is truly the gift that keeps on giving.)
Another thing that I realised that definitely lessened all of this pressure I was putting myself under and exasperating my depression/anxiety etc was: I have got to stop comparing myself to everyone.
This is the hardest thing to stop doing, and I still catch myself doing it on a daily basis. Growing up in an Asian household meant my parents and my whole family played the comparison game as a competitive sport. They still do. Also with social media you can play the comparison game by yourself. You don’t actually need your family members to tell you that you are not enough, you can “see” it for yourself.
Comparing yourself to others is the hardest habit to break and unlearn I am finding. It is so easy to do and again, there is no real basis in it. I mean, yeah I can look at all the great things everyone else is doing and feel like I’m shit compared to them because the things we seem to have the same are that we are relatively the same age, live in maybe the same vicinity and we seem to want the same things. But… the thing to remember is that you are not them. You’re who you are. The experiences and choices that you have made in your life have put you on a much different path than the person you are comparing yourself to. You are not the same as anyone at all. You might have similarities but that doesn’t mean you are a carbon copy so that’s why you do not have the same life that they are SHOWING you.
I have to constantly remind myself that it might take me a lot longer to establish a career or whatever compared to my peers but that doesn’t make me less of a person. It doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to be happy. I want to go through things at my own pace so I am comfortable with it, and when something big happens to me I want to be prepared and ready to receive it.
Preaching self love is so easy, but the practice of it is hard work. Made even harder when you are dealing with mental illness. It’s not always just a bath bomb and new lipstick. Sometimes it’s messy and traumatizing like cutting off toxic friendships or even letting go of friends that you’ve grown apart from. Sometimes it’s going to a therapist. Sometimes it’s finding the right medication that works for you. Sometimes it LOOKS like you’re being selfish but you’re not.
Being honest with yourself and learning how to love yourself is absolutely scary. I used to put it off for a later date. Like I honest to God thought that when I reached my goal weight THEN would be a good time, THEN I would be deserving of loving myself.
Lol…once again I feel like I’ve gone on a super rambling tangent and I’m sorry, I’m working on it. I am definitely not a professional blogger as those people plan their posts and I just hopped on here because I felt the ~urge~ to write this. Sorry. But what I’m trying to say is:
- You deserve to be happy.
- I’m here if you want to talk or vent.
Today's featured image is by Johanna Blinn.