Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself where I am today. Going from energetic, happy, bubbly, always ready for a new adventure to the complete opposite has thrown me through a loop.
I struggle most days with just getting out of bed. Getting a normal nights sleep is almost unheard of, if I can even get to sleep in the first place. My mind is always going and my anxiety is at a height that its never been.
I had no idea how to handle this. Feelings like these were totally foreign to me. Why was I feeling like this?
It all started to get bad in the summer time. I had finally got the position at work that I had been fighting and pushing for, and life was overall going so great.
That changed in a hurry. Barely 3 weeks after my promotion (the end of June), my boyfriend and I lost a very close friend unexpectedly (post surgery complications). When I heard the news I was crushed but I couldn’t imagine how my boyfriend was feeling.
Though I lost my father almost 3 years prior to this, I couldn’t imagine losing my best friend. Its a different kind of grieving.
I never totally got over losing my dad and never thought much about death until we lost our friend. It hit home in a way nothing else I’ve ever experienced had (mostly because of our closeness in age).
Slowly over the weeks I was finding it harder to focus, losing interest in things that I normally loved doing. Then it started affecting my job. I was able to snap out of it for a couple months and in that time things started going well again.
I was back to being focused at work, getting back into my art and makeup and taking an interest in things again.
Fast forward to the beginning of September. I decided I wanted to change my unhealthy lifestyle and start leading a more healthy one. I smoked for 10 years at that point and always struggled with quitting. For some reason this time seemed right and I put my pack down.
Nothing can prepare you for how awful you feel when you quit smoking. Unbeknownst to me, going through a period of anxiety and depression mixed with “foggy brain” is normal. Now I was at a point where I couldn’t handle anything.
My anxiety was through the roof (we’re mixing the anxiety I had before and adding the “no smoking” anxiety to it), anything and everything that once brought me joy was gone, and I was so spaced out I felt like I had smoked a bunch of joints at once.
This is when what and how I was feeling really affected my job and day to day life. I decided to take some time off work. I made an appointment with my family doctor, used up all my vacation and sick time from work and went on a leave to sort my head out.
Side note: if you know someone is struggling with their mental health, reach out to them. Don’t make them feel bad for the way they’re feeling and don’t talk bad about or make fun of them behind their back. They already have enough going on in their head, they don’t need that unnecessary added stress to deal with. I reached out for help in my last week before my leave and was made to feel bad and basically left to fend for myself at work when I could barely function. Don’t make people feel like this if you know they are struggling! It’s truly the worst feeling.
During my time off, I made sure I was properly fuelling my body and keeping active as best as I could. If I was having a really bad day and could barely make it out of bed, I would at least do some stretches or yoga. If I was having a good day I would try to get an at home workout in.
I was thankful for every good day I had, no matter how far and few they were. But I was still terrified and anxious every time I had to leave the house. This was my biggest struggle (and I’m still working on this).
My biggest worry was when my boyfriend told me that my sister and bother in law, him and I were going to an amusement park near the end of October. I wrote a blog post about that day if you’d like to read that HERE.
After that day I finally felt myself starting to get back to some sort of normal and had hope I’d get back to myself again.
I’m still struggling some days (and its the middle of December now), but I’m making progress and that’s my biggest accomplishment so far. I am also still smoke free! So I do have some wins to celebrate.
All in all, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Your mental health and overall health should always be your first priority. This doesn’t mean just doing a face mask or getting your nails done.
Mental healing takes time, and always be sure to appreciate the good days. Even if they don’t happen as often as you want. Some good days are better than no good days.
Do you struggle with anxiety? What methods do you use to cope with it?
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Title photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/