When Life Throws You Lemons (and expects lemonade)

This is my first official blog post, but I hope it’s one of many as I begin on this online journey. Here’s to hoping there is an audience out there who feels my words are a worthwhile read.

These are my experiences with Mental Health as I self identify with Anxiety and Depression.

“Bring the laptop outside, sit on the deck and enjoy the sun. Let the feeling of being outside inspire you to write your first post”.

This is what I told myself to finally get my butt in gear in an effort ‘to get this blog off the ground. So, here I sit, outside in the sun, waiting to feel motivated and inspired…truth is, I’m struggling. This afternoon, my state of mind took a turn and I went from feeling ‘ok’ this morning, to tired, unmotivated and sad this afternoon… I hate when this happens. I know that writing this blog is something that I truly want, so why am I struggling so much to start it? Too often I find that when I try and act on my passion for things, my head starts spinning, my thoughts become cloudy, and I feel the anxiety setting in. Maybe if I just stare at the laptop, the words will write themselves? Maybe I need to take a step back…

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(1 hour later)

Alright, so I decided to be mindful of my emotions from the last hour, I let them play their course, and now I am giving this another go! Here is my attempt for the day at positivity!

It’s been on my mind to start blogging for a little while now, I’ve just been trying to find the courage to work up to it. A few months ago, I started journaling as part of my own recovery. I have found it to be a great way to unclutter my head. My anxiety causes my head to spin with a thousand thoughts at a time, some of which aren’t event real. By writing some of the words that I am thinking on to paper, it has in a way created space and clarity in my head while also giving my anxiety a voice. I have found that by giving it a voice, it’s allowed me to work on managing it’s hold over me.

Just last week, I took a big first step (for me) in vocalizing my battle with mental illness. I posted a heartfelt message to my Facebook wall which described what has been the last year of my life and how drastically it has changed everything that I once knew to be ‘normal’. The feedback from people in my life astounded me. I didn’t expect much to come of the post, it just felt like something I needed to do for me. When I saw how many people it reached, it brought me to tears. From current friends, to past relationships to people I haven’t spoken to in years, the reach was much greater then I ever expected. From the public comments, to the supportive words, to the private messages where individuals disclosed their own personal struggles to me, it inspired me to keep talking about mental illness in some form or another…and that’s where this page was born.

I hope to use this page not only as part of my own recovery but also as a space where others who find themselves struggling or battling their own mental health can come and relate and feel a sense of security knowing that they are not alone. We all have our inner demons, they come in all shapes and sizes and challenge us in ways we would never expect. Those demons, as I have found, can make life really unbearable at times. For so long, I tried to suppress and fight my darker emotions and try and cover them up with fake positivity and happiness. The harder I tried to ignore my feelings, the stronger their hold on me became. What I have learned over the past year that I plan to share on this page is that it’s ok to feel sad, it’s ok to feel angry, it’s ok to feel like everything is impossible (it’s also ok to feel completely at peace). The key for me is when the unpleasant feelings rear their ugly heads, I acknowledge them (sometimes even out loud…”yeah, depression, I see you lingering there”), let them run their course and remind myself that they will pass. I know I am allowed to feel them but I also know, that they do not define me.

So when life throws me lemons, sometimes the last thing I want to do is make some fucking lemonade. Sometimes, I’d rather take those lemons, whip them back in life’s daunting face and scream I CAN’T HANDLE ALL THESE FUCKING LEMONS RIGHT NOW, I CAN’T HANDLE MAKING LEMONADE RIGHT NOW, I DON’T WANT TO MAKE ANYTHING WITH THESE! Maybe the way I make lemonade requires a different approach or more time in comparison to the way everyone expects me to make the damn lemonade. Maybe trying to make lemonade is out of reach for me in this moment!

…And that’s ok because maybe not this time, maybe not even a month from now, but eventually, when those lemons return, my feelings will change and and I will be able to make what I think is the best damn lemonade EVER!

– Stay mindful –