It’s been ages since I wrote a blog, but I feel like it’s time. Not only am I feeling like my brain is my friend again, but I also have this huge event coming up and if you’ve been following along, you know that I don’t do huge events. Heck, I don’t even do small events, but this one is really important, this one signifies that everything I’ve done regarding mental health; including what I’ve done for myself is starting to pay off.
As some of you know I decided to write a book about what it was like to live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) about four years ago. I know, it’s taking me longer than I thought and I’m pretty sure the reason for that is because when I started, I had so much healing to do, but I’m getting close. When I started writing this book I didn’t know that I still had healing to do, because everything that I read about PTSD & C-PTSD told me that I would always feel hyper-vigilante, that I would always suffer from depression and other stress-related illnesses, and they were right.
Trouble was they forgot to mention that there were different levels of hypervigilance, depression, etc. Luckily, I found out over time, that if you do the “work,” you can get back to almost “normal.” It takes time and a lot of work; grueling work, but if you face your past, literally stare it in the face and scream back at all the nasty shit that happened, I honestly believe you will start to heal.
I balked at facing my past for a very long time because I never wanted to go through the things, I endured in the first place and facing my fears meant having to go through it all - again. This kept me deep inside my illness and my depression and I felt like I never knew what was really going on inside me, or who I was.
Instead, I did what a lot of people that have mental illness did and that was to spend decades trying to pretend that I was normal. As well as trying to convince myself that the thoughts that plagued my life were just lies and made up stories, as I’d been told by my parents.
Fortunately, so much has changed, especially in the last year and I feel like I have a new lease on life. Sure, I still have mental illness and I still get panic attacks and flashbacks, but I’m learning how to get out of, or past them faster and because of that I’m able to get on with living my life, instead of avoiding it.
Which brings me to the main reason for this week’s blog…
I have been invited to be a guest as a mental health advocate at this year’s annual Hat’s On For Awareness gala. “Hats On For Awareness is a local charity that raises funds to further the reach of mental health programs which enhance the lives of those living with and affected by mental illness and addictions.”
They believe “that mental health is a vital component to overall wellness, and we need to make it a priority in our personal, business and community lives. We need to raise awareness regarding these illnesses, consistently battle against the stigma they hold, and the stigma they hold, and fund the research and programs to truly achieve Mental Wellness For All.”
This is an incredible event and…
wait for it…
I said yes without thinking about it!
This is an amazing feat for me because if you’ve been following along, you know that prior to this event, I’ve always made excuses as to why I couldn’t go to something, but something in me has changed. I truly believe it’s because I haven’t had to defend myself to anyone in quite a long time. I’ve surrounded myself with people that love me for who I am and even though they don’t understand my mental illness, they try. Because of that, I have been able to go to therapy and work on getting over my past without any form of criticism and if you’re like me, you know that we get a lot of criticism We’re told to “get over it,” that “it” was in the past, and those statements make us try to “get over it,” instead of working on our traumas and getting on with our lives.
…whatever it is that’s changed, this past couple of months I’ve been out doing something at least four times a week, whether it’s going to the library, my DBT group, therapy, or to have coffee with friends. This is remarkable because a year ago, I was lucky if I felt well enough to get out of the house once a month.
Don’t get me wrong because I’m still having anxiety, especially about going to this incredible event, but it seems to be more controlled. Besides, the “Hatsquerade” is a gala to raise money for mental health, so if there’s anywhere I should feel safe, it will be at this event.
Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.