Today Is Tough.

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” – Unknown

 

Today I just needed to cry. I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and separation. Being a 29 year old single woman who lives alone has been really hard in a time like this. Add to it that I’m a Registered Nurse, and the emotions and feelings of anxiety double, triple … hell they’re in a league all their own.

I’m usually a pretty grateful person. I do a gratitude journal every morning along with my Bible study and a few other things. I drink my coffee and thank God for the multitude of blessings He’s given me. I have so much to be thankful for and very little to complain about.

Yet, here I find myself in my living room floor crying because I’m so overwhelmed with life right now. It’s the most normal chaos I’ve ever experienced. Nothing outside is crazy, everything is actually quiet and still. There’s very few cars or people anywhere you look.

You’d think that this solitude would be a nice change from the normal hustle and bustle of living in a big city, a city that is usually full of life, but really all I feel when I look at my quiet, docile city is depression.

The world is a crazy place right now.

Never in my lifetime did I think I would see something as unprecedented as this Coronavirus Pandemic. I’m an Infectious Disease RN at a hospital so when this all started I couldn’t figure out why everyone was so hysterical. I thought, “man if only people could see the type of diseases I treat everyday, they wouldn’t be so scared of this COVID-19.”

But, not long after that I understood the chaos and panic.

Little by little I started seeing new statistics and information about what was happening in the rest of the world, and I quickly realized why they were so scared. To be completely honest, it’s not the virus that’s the monster in my mind, it’s the social isolation that has felt extremely crippling to my mental health.

Everyone who struggles with mental health has a certain way of coping with it because we know our disorder will never completely go away. So instead of living in fear of our anxiety and/or depression, we learn to adapt our lives to it.

For some of us, this means taking a lot of “me” time where we can stay away from crowds and chaos. For others, that means being around family and friends in social situations where we don’t have to listen to the constant chatter in our heads.

This is me, this is my strategy for dealing with my disorder.

Yet, when this new virus finally hit, the option to get out of the house and socialize was taken away from me. I fully understand the reasoning and purpose of the shelter in place order, and I’ve abided by it. Having said that, one of the biggest triggers for my anxiety is having my options taken away.

When I feel like my freedom has been compromised in any way, I lose my shit. As Americans we’re given so many luxuries like planning our days and (most of the time) doing what our hearts desire. We can eat where we want, go to the gym, get our hair done, hang out with friends, go to sporting events … anything and everything is at our fingertips.

When those choices are taken away, I feel helpless and stuck.

I never truly realized how privileged I was until everything was shut down and taken away. I’ve been taking advantage of the wonderful country I call home, and now I honestly realize how blessed I am to live in America. I now genuinely understand why so many people want to be here, it’s the land of freedom and opportunity.

Recently I’ve seen friends losing their jobs, people struggling severely with their mental health, businesses hanging on by a thread and the world trying its best to adapt to this temporary new way of life. There’s no way we will ever be the same after this.

So, life has been a constant inner battle for me.

The Nurse in me says, “You have to be strong. You have to be an example to all of those you care about, those with less medical knowledge, because they’re scared. You can’t show weakness or others may start to panic.”

The anxious human in me says, “is this ever going to end? I’m so tired of being locked up. I’m starting to feel claustrophobic. I can’t make it one more day in this house. Why do they keep extending the date? If I don’t get out of here I’m going to lose it. I can’t do this much longer” … and on and on and on.

Every day that I wake up, I thank God for another opportunity to live this beautiful life, a privilege not all are given (there goes the Nurse in me again.) I also prepare for a mental battle, the realist vs the anxious. I prepare myself for the never ending chatter that will undoubtedly fill my mind most of the day.

I have no doubt that things will get better. We are a strong and united nation. Our country was built on resilience and has overcome every obstacle thrown its way thus far. The real question is, “How long will this quarantine last? When will life go back to normal?”

The realistic answer is, I don’t think it will go back to how it was. I believe we will come out of this situation with a new normal, and maybe that’s not a bad thing. I imagine a lot of people will have a sense of gratitude that they never had before (including me). I think that businesses will thrive, and we will be a little more inclined to help our neighbors.

I truly believe so much good will come out of this. Once the storm passes, we will see our lives in a whole new light. We’ll be thankful that we have a job to go to, that we can hug our family and friends, that we can once again plan our days as we wish.

I trust that those of us struggling with our mental health will once again restore the balance in our minds, and I pray that all of these positive predictions will come true …

But for now, today is tough.

 

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell 💋

 

Today Is Hard.

“It is the hard days, the days that challenge you to your very core that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”  – Sheryl Sandberg

 

Today is hard. I’ve yet again had another door slammed in my face, another rejection that’s left me lost and confused.

I keep trying and holding my head up high, but the weight of disappointment is quickly dragging me down. I feel stuck in a pit of sinking sand that I can’t seem to escape.

I haven’t quite figured out the magic formula that will lift me out of these hardships, probably because in the back of my mind I know it doesn’t exist.

There is no magic cure for Mental Health Disorders, and honestly that pisses me off.

It doesn’t matter how many books I read, how many times I meditate or how many journal entries I write, my anxiety is always there. It’s always just waiting for the smallest of openings to creep back in.

Today is hard. I found myself struggling to merely get out of bed, and unfortunately this happens more that I’d like to admit. I have so many amazing things and people to live for and so much to do in this life.

Why does every morning have to be a struggle?

I numb my mind, my anxious thoughts, with TV or unimportant tasks just trying to not think about the judgements lingering in my head. I let my passions suffer because I’m too damn tired to fight the monsters in my mind.

The worst part of dealing with a Mental Health Disorder is that even when you have weeks or even months of good, you always know that the bad times are just up ahead.

You never know when they’ll strike, but trust me they’re there.

Today is hard. I feel like screaming and shouting at the top of my lungs merely to find relief from these feelings I’m holding inside, but I know that I have to keep it together. I don’t want to worry the ones I love and frankly I don’t want to let my anxiety win.

So instead of screaming and having a complete meltdown, I write this blog entry. I let my words speak for themselves so I can clear at least a fraction of my mind, so that I can maybe find some sanity.

It feels good to release all of these lingering doubts, fears and negative emotions, even if only for a while. It won’t be long until my mind is once again filled to the brim with worry, but for now I’ll cherish the peace and quiet.

Today was supposed to be a new start, a fresh beginning. I was hoping for positive news and an end to the mental suffering I’d been experiencing. Yet before I could even get out of bed, I received the complete opposite news.

It sucks, it really sucks to have such a hopeful, positive outlook. It sucks to think, this is the day when it all changes, when I break the chains that have been recently holding me down only to find out that my hope was naive.

Negative self talk immediately creeps in and again I find myself in a hole that I’d just escaped.

Each time I’m knocked down it makes me lose hope that things will ever change. It takes away the excitement of new opportunities because, what I’ve seen from the past few years is that excitement only leads to disappointment.

And once again I’m lost, looking for the next opportunity but not even sure of what I’m hoping to find.

All these doubts start to creep in and cloud my judgement. They make me take ten steps back in my progression towards mastering my anxiety, and suddenly I’m left to pick up all the pieces by myself yet again.

Today is hard. It’s hard because I constantly battle with the angel and devil on my shoulders. I know I shouldn’t let these refusals get to me. I know what I have to offer to the world, and it’s damn good.

I know I should push forward and take some of my own advice that I so freely give to others. However, I’ve experienced more rejection in the last 6 months than I have in the last 6 years, and I’m finding it really hard to deal.

I always say when the time is right, things will work out the way they’re meant to, and I truly believe that. The angel on my shoulder reminds me that I live a wonderfully blessed life, and I have so much to be thankful for.

However, the angel is meek, quiet and subtle. The devil on my other shoulder screams lies and insecurities to me, reminding me of my doubts and failures. He’s like a loud yet invisible sound that I find hard to ignore.

Eventually his words creep in my head and I’m left to deal with anxiety on top of anxiety. I wish he would just SHUT UP.

Today is hard. I’ve got self love and self hate, strength and weakness, doubts and reassurances all going through my head at the same time.

Welcome to life with anxiety.

Although this post seems like a negative narrative, it’s really not. By putting these words on paper I’m able to sort through these clashing thoughts. I’m able to think through the truths and the lies one by one.

Ultimately, my goal of each post is to show the true battle of Mental Health Disorders, to give you an real view of what happens inside an anxious mind.

We all have a devil and an angel. We all experience hard and good days, and in the end we’ve survived 100% of the bad ones. So never let that devil win, never let him take away that beautiful person that you are.

Listen for the quiet reassurances of the angel, and know that even though today is hard it’s not impossible. We will survive together.

 

XOXO,

Myka Shantell💋